My name is Christopher Light, and I’m in charge of acquisitions here at Thinklings Books. Unlike the Bosses, my background isn’t in fiction writing or in editing, but in literary criticism—you know, the field in which clever nastiness is lauded for its hilarity.
And there is something to that; don’t get me wrong. I know, because I wrote that way for a long time. I prided myself on my ability to tear apart any story in any way I could. How marvelous I thought myself for the way I ridiculed other people’s hard work for not matching up to my impossible standards. And how doing so indulged my (and my followers’) cruelest instincts!
What a great guy, huh?
Then one day, I realized something: I no longer enjoyed reading. Even during the best stories, the ones I’d once loved, I found myself thinking snide comments on frankly insignificant details. Or, to put it another way: I had trained myself to dislike stories.
I was horrified, but I’m pleased to say that I never blamed anyone except the person whose fault it was, and I took a good long look at myself.
I had once loved stories. I wanted to love stories again. And that meant I had to treat them as something to be loved. So I decided that, instead of hunting for bad things in stories, I’d hunt for the good ones. I didn’t expect to find much.
What I found is that not only is there good in every story, but there’s also a lot more good than bad.
(Could the same be said of me?)
The lesson of this story is that how we talk and write about things matters. Our word choice affects our perception. You can, as I once did, always think, “Ugh, that blasted trash is full again, and I can’t avoid taking it down any longer. Guess I’d better get it over with.” Or you can think, “Hurrah, I get to take the trash out and get some fresh air!” It’s up to you whether you perceive chores as onerous or agreeable.
Which brings me back to Thinklings acquisitions. In the literary world, the common term for the collection of submissions yet to be read is the “slush pile.” That’s right: the product of years of hard work, heart, and dreams of each hopeful author is reduced to that filthy mush you avoid on the street.
Absolutely not. Your submission is not slush, and it's not in a slush pile. It is a piece of treasure in a dragon’s hoard.
That makes me the lucky soul who gets to venture into the dragon’s hoard and pick up and turn over every piece of treasure . . . and decide on a few to bring home.
I cannot take every book, but I am grateful for the opportunity to choose. I am grateful that you have submitted to Thinklings Books, and I see good in your writing.
Unless you don’t follow our guidelines. Because that’s just the worst.
Acquisitions Officer &
Dragon Hoard Treasure Hunter