confessions of a future author

Alright, it’s time for me to come clean.  I’ve got some things to confess:

  • I bite my fingernails — but not when I’m nervous or bored… just when they get too long.
  • I wore Original Jams for at least two full years longer than anyone else I know.  I found out a few years later that everyone in 6th grade made fun of me behind my back.  But that’s alright; I’m my own man.  And I’d wear them still today if I had a pair that fit.
  • My first kiss was a girl named Dixie, and I’m from south Alabama.  [I had to say “a girl named” or you would have thought Dixie was my pet — I don’t roll like that.]  And yes, she did kiss me despite the fact that I only stopped wearing Jams the year before.
  • I used to hate Philemon in the New Testament, because I learned in a song that he bruised James.  Which is my first name.  Which brings us to…
  • I can barely sign my name in cursive, and that’s the extent of my cursive abilities.  My name is Brett Harrison on my checking account, because I can’t do the cursive ‘J’ in James.  It’s pretty much the same as a lower case ‘f,’ and I get confused.
  • My first cassette tape ever was Janet Jackson’s Control.  “What kind of parents let their 9-year old son have a tape from which the biggest single was titled ‘Nasty?'” you ask.  “My kind” is the answer to that question.
  • My second tape was Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man.  Maybe a bewildered parent’s attempt to make up for wrongs done…?
  • As soon as I finish this blog post I’m driving straight to Wal-Mart to buy my 6-month old daughter a T.I. album.
  • In sixth grade I knew for sure the coolest clothes a guy could ever sport were grey sweat pants and Eastlands, complete with the Eastland Knot.  No socks.
  • I desperately wanted to be named Tanner when I was a kid.  My reasoning: Brett was not an adult name.
  • I will eat almost anything before I’ll let a baked potato touch these lips.
  • I sometimes check behind the shower curtain when I’m at home alone.  That or I just hold it until Christie gets back (not the shower curtain).
  • I once lit a neighbor’s yard on fire, so I could report it and become a hero.  When my mom came out to see the huge fire, there wasn’t one.  There was, however, a 2-foot square of charred grass… and in its very center rested a book of matches from my dad’s company.  I didn’t get a medal OR my name in the paper.
  • I secretly want to become a professional writer, and so, am subscribed to the blog of one Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent.

Rachelle writes some good stuff.  And right now on her blog you can enter a contest to win prizes.  I’m not sure what the prizes are because I’m not that interested in them.  [I know they have something to do with stuff that helps writers be gooder.]  But what I am interested in is the contest itself.  All you have to do is enter a one-sentence book summary — I suppose it can be real or imaginary.  Mine… imaginary.

Rachelle even explains how to write a one-sentence summary, though most of that part seems pretty common sense to me.  I mean if you’ve written a book and are trying to push it on agents and publishers, shouldn’t the one-sentence summary bit come naturally?  I figure Rachelle could save herself a lot of time by not teaching these aspiring young authors the secret formula of a one-sentence synopsis.  That way she could automatically throw out any author whose summary consists of randomly strung together words and punctuation not remotely resembling the abbreviated version of a story.  But, hey, she’s the literary agent.

My submission follows.  And I’m thinking about actually writing the book:

Colonel Bradford’s Crush by James Brett

A decorated World War II veteran falls madly in love with Cheetos
— I mean madly in love.

The contest deadline is this Saturday, June 5th, 11:59pm ET.  Make sure you get your entry in.

And if you don’t mind, leave an extra copy of your entry in my comments section.  I’m not giving away anything to help you make it as a professional writer (except practice), but it’ll be fun to see what everybody comes up with.  And maybe someone will see your awesome one-sentence summary and offer you a huge book contract.  Or I guess, more likely, they might see your summary and click the link to visit your blog.  Hey, a prize is a prize.  Beggars can’t be choosers.

Or if you’d rather not post a one-sentence summary, you can confess to something in the comments section.  Though I hesitate to make that invitation.  And mom, don’t worry.  I don’t have the Janet Jackson tape anymore.  I already gave it to Baylor.



Filed under slightly humorous or amusing?, writing

24 responses to “confessions of a future author

  1. Ted

    Submission: A frisky polecat must travel across the country to return his adopted rat brother’s illegitimate son, or else face kidnapping charges. You can guess the title.

    Confession 1: I didn’t really submit that.

    Confession 2: I’ve been secretly in love with you since you wore that dress for your birthday in Jing Zhou.

    • i’m not sure i’ve got the title exactly right, but i’m close. i’m fumbling over a good synonym for kidnapping (charges). i like something about hostage situations better than abductions, but i’m not sure it’s either…

      oh, and i’m uncomfortable now.

  2. Some interesting confessions. Thanks for the link. Will have to check it out.

  3. Daniel

    you can’t go to Wal-Mart.

  4. Gilbert Kerrigan

    Wow! Dixie! I about fell out of my chair laughing as a picture of you and Dixie ran across my mind. Good times at Camp Wiregrass.

    And I remember my first cassettes. My grandfather gave me $25 for Christmas and let me loose in WalMart. I bought three cassettes: Beastie Boys, Cinderella, and DJ Jazzy Jef and the Fresh Prince.

  5. Michael and Valerie Stephens

    I really thought you were joking until I saw your entry on the contest site.

  6. My confession should be that I read blogs at work during meetings and when they make me want to grin or laugh (giving away the fact that I am not diligently working on something important), I put my fingers over my mouth to look deep in concentration. Not that anyone is looking…but just in case.

    • yes, i am so happy to have accomplished this.

      [i’m assuming you were laughing at my blog post. how embarrassing it would be if you were commenting on my blog about another blog that made you laugh. that would be a really funny blog if your snickering lasted all the way through reading my blog post and into my comments section… can you give me the link to it?]

      jane, you’re a good writer. did you enter the contest at the blog of rachelle gardner, literary agent extraordinaire?

      • Ha, yes it was YOUR blog and the comments to your blog as well.

        I think I am discovering that I am not a very good make-believe writer (making stuff up), but more of a story teller (telling stuff that happened). I really like making stuff up AND telling stuff that happened, though, so I don’t know. But I did not enter the contest (although I did think about one-sentence summaries in the shower last night).

  7. Matthew Burgess

    I don’t recall a Camp Wiregrass romance between you and Dixie….was this before, after or whilst I was having a Camp Wiregrass romance with Dixie? Were those my Jams you were wearing?

    • it was after. but maybe right after.

      and the jams? dude, i didn’t borrow EVERYTHING from you… just her.

      good to hear from you, mr. burgess. how’s b’ham?

  8. man, you are funny. I don’t know you from a bar of soap, but I might just subscribe to your blog ‘cos you guys seem like a lot of fun.

    • elzabe (i don’t know how to make that mark over the ‘e’ — i hope you’re not offended),

      you are more than welcome to subscribe. my friends are very funny, though inconsistent with their comments. or at times greedy with them.

      but if you’re going to read regularly, you should know that “matthew burgess” is a pathological liar — that’s not even his real name. but we humor him; please join with us in that.

  9. Great post James…or Brett…or Harrison….I’m so confused now!

    You should make a “Random Facts” page for your blog and expand on this a bit. I’m sure it would be hilarious.

    Anyway, here’s my entry:

    “When a briefcase of top secret documents is taken, Chris and Carmen find themselves in the most unlikely of partnerships, following a desperate plan to save their own lives and those of 100 people they have never met.”

    This is a novel that I actually started writing as a joke for one of my co-workers about 7 years ago. I wrote a prologue for a story about a super spy that was meant to be mysterious, funny and over-the-top hard-boiled (like Mickey Spillane’s writings). It got passed around the office a bit and everybody laughed at it. Over the following months, I actually wrote a few chapters as kind of a serial for before I gave it up.

    Now I’m thinking about actually trying to write it.

    • james brett harrison is my full name. i generally go by brett — except for here in tanzania, there are several people who choose to call me james brett. when i’m an old man, i think i want to be referred to as j.b. that or “uncle bert, the amazing monkey grandpa.”

      your write-up sounds interesting. you should write the book. the only problem is i don’t know if chris and carmen are both men or what…

  10. I have a cousin named Tanner (it’s his middle name but that is what everyone has called him since he was born).

    • a few years ago, i would have been very jealous. of your cousin tanner, not of you. i mean alysa’s a good name and all — but i’m a guy. i also go by my middle name, brett. though my blog apparently is confusing to many because of that.

      • I like the name Alysa but I also like my nickname Aly. Most people call me Aly because it is easier to pronounce. You probably can imagine how many mispronunciations (and misspellings) I get on a regular basis. At least you don’t have that problem (I assume). 🙂

  11. Pingback: the skill of writing « aliens and strangers

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