Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Chicken Theory

I had a writing professor in college who told us a story about his own college writing days and how he and his friends came up with a theory. A theory that holds true, but one you really have to pay attention closely to make note of. It is this:

Every successful piece of writing (novel, memoir, short story, film, television show, play, etc.) somewhere, at some point, always has a chicken or a chicken reference in it.

Seriously, think about it. How often do you see a chicken in a movie or TV show, whether live or in the background as a set decoration? How often do characters eat eggs? How often is the word 'chicken' or 'egg' referred to in poetry, or novels, or any other pieces of writing? Chances are, at least once.

Ever since this idea was introduced to me, I've always kept an eye out for the Chicken Theory to hold true. As a quiet nod to my professor, I made sure to include a mention of eggs in my novel. If I ever manage to get it published, keep an eye out for it.

Speaking of eggs and getting published...

A couple of weeks ago, an agent held a contest of sorts to try and gain some new clients. The idea was that for one hour only, she would accept any and all queries, and reply to them all with her honest opinion. I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity for getting some feedback on my query letter, so that it would be the best it could be.

So, on Tuesday, November 1, I sent my first ever (and only) query.

That Friday, I was making breakfast with the eggs I get from my local farmer's co-op, that come from free range, organic, happy hens. All of these eggs come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, which is one of the things I enjoy about them. Nature makes things different, and I don't think eggs should all be stark white and exactly the same size. It's weird. It's unnatural.

Anyway. One of my eggs was a little more oblong than the others, so I chose that one because it was so unique. I cracked it in the pan and TWO yolks came out! I've never in my life cracked open an egg with two yolks inside. At first, I was a little terrified, and then I was really excited. I didn't think much of it, other than it was so unique and special, until I told my friend later. She said it was a sign of good luck. According to the Encyclopedia of Superstitions, she was right. I thought it was neat. We can all use a little good luck in life, right?

On Saturday morning, I woke up and checked my e-mail right away on my phone (something I'd done every day that week, anxiously awaiting my query reply). The reply was there...

...and the agent requested my FULL MANUSCRIPT!!!

I was so excited I started jumping up and down on the bed, much to the chagrin of my sleeping Hubby. Then I remembered the double yolked egg.

I definitely don't believe that a double yolked egg made the agent want to read my book. Nothing but the three years of sitting my butt down in a chair and typing 63,000 words (more like 120,000+ if you count my scrap file), agonizing over the tough decisions my characters had to face, and then researching how to write a query, what makes a query successful, and writing no fewer than six drafts of my own query before I got it just right could have made that agent want to say, "It sounds awesome. I'm interested."

But I most certainly believe that cracking open that egg and seeing those two, beautiful, perfect golden yolks was a sign that good things are about to happen in my life.


Holley said...

yay for good omens and requests for full manuscripts! I'm excited for you :)

Sarah L. Blair said...

Thanks! One step closer...

Meg said...

Oh my gosh! This story is amazing! (And I know it's months old I said in my last comment, blog stalking...) but CONGRATS!!