I've read a lot of blog and twitter posts lately in which literary agents explain that sometimes they reject a project simply because it's not right for them. When I read these, I think -- well duh. Of course. Why else would you reject it? But I get the feeling these explanations are being done in self-defense, as if the aspiring writers they're telling this to don't believe the agent's sincerity. Poor agents -- seriously -- I can't imagine how crappy it must feel to get nasty emails on a regular basis from total strangers. I mean, don't you think they feel bad enough just from having to say no all the time? They are people after all. And from what I gather, pretty normal and nice people, too.
I'm certain the problem here is that writers (and most creative types in general) are a bit crazy. It's sort of a prerequisite. Like Uncle Stevie writes in Bag of Bones, a writer is someone who's taught his [or her] mind to misbehave. If that ain't the definition of crazy, I don't know what is.
However, writers have got to be the right kind of crazy. We should be insane creatively, not socially. I think the most telling clue I've read to this is in a recent blog post at Miss Snark's First Victim: http://bit.ly/eNE8b4. Agent Kate Mckean writes about how she wanted to represent this book by a new author, but she had a big question that needed answering first -- "was the author sane?" She goes on to say that sometimes writer's aren't. In other words, I think there are moments when the agent is really saying, "It's not the work, it's you.
Don't be this. Don't be the wrong kind of crazy. Don't stalk people online or send them nasty emails or pictures of your kid's kindergarten graduation. Save the crazy for the story. Let your crazy be cute and fun and charming. Like cats. Cats are definitely a bit insane, but 99% of the time, it's the right kind of crazy.