WORDYSOD : Michael Lawrence                                    www.wordysod.com

A Writer's Website                                                                                                

In 2010, having produced a dozen or more Jiggy McCue books since the first came out in 1999, I was very much in need of a change of character, setting and type of humour, and sent out several new ideas to agents and publishers. Getting no positive response to any of these I was left with just one concept that I hadn't offered to anyone, an idea I had about a year earlier but had set aside because its main character was a boy with two friends telling the reader about his life and experiences, which made it too much like the kind of thing I was keen to break away from. However, needing to get something under contract, I had lunch with an agent keen to see what I had to offer, and told her about the idea's main character: 13 year old Orson Quirk who finds, to his horror, that he suddenly has every super power ever dreamed up by comicbook creators and no idea how to use them. While amused by this, the agent wondered if it might appeal more to a certain other agency, one of London's most prominent and successful firms. Taking a look at that agency's website I saw that they only looked at correspondence and submissions that came by post, but worked out how their email addresses might work and emailed the appropriate agent to ask if she would care to take a look at the Orson concept, describing it in just a few lines. To my surprise she emailed back within the hour saying that she loved the sound of Orson, so I sent her the outline and the only four chapters I'd written so far. She read the material overnight, got back to me in what sounded like a state of high excitement, and in subsequent weeks flurries of exhilarating emails flew back and forth between us. Starting with the first after she read the Orson material, I have put the essence of her emails in 'Unwanted!', as follows.

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'What a fantastic creation! With endless possibilities! You have created a bestselling character and I see this working on so many levels. The whole superpower thing is every child's dream and what a way of making your character have all-in-one! A sort of Toy Story with super heroes. You have set my imagination off!'

'I am so excited I have barely been able to sleep. I would love to represent you and take this to auction in the UK, US and all round the world. You can make a huge amount more by selling the individual rights and I believe you absolutely need to as I want to take you to a new level of success. We need a long-term international vision and my job as an agent is to push push push your publishers into doing everything they can for your new books.'

'My colleagues LOVE Orson! I printed them each out a copy so that it was waiting on their desks this morning. The feedback is wonderful. I think the next five years are going to be huge for Orson and he is going to become a major international series character. Nothing is going to stand in the way of my efforts. I believe in this book, and you as a writer, so much that I see it almost as a life calling! You are a truly fantastic writer Michael and you know what to do far better than any of us.'

She reported that the head of the agency read some of my extracts to her over the phone and said: 'Wow! He has the wit, he has the short sentences, the dialogue, the ideas, the short chapters...he's my kind of author!'

'I cannot believe you haven't had such enthusiasm before!!! We are definitely going to change that. I really like how you are such a perfectionist! You have such an incredible voice – it is so unique and utterly addictive to read (just finished my first Jiggy McCue!) and it is Orson that is going to make your career. Orson has ENORMOUS potential and we are going to make it stand out from the crowd – you have created such a strong character.'

And after signing a contract to have the agency represent me: 'We are all so excited about having you. I absolutely love the way you think and am absolutely thrilled that you are part of the Agency and I can't wait to start doing business. There are endless possibility for merchandising in Orson. Our film agent is great – he has fantastic contacts with all the major film companies. Film companies are going to have a field day – this is such an incredible concept. And I think the whole of the London publishing world would want to make a bid.'

Cheering and promising as all this was, she took the concept and chapters to the Frankfurt Book Fair and sent it to more than twenty editors, every one of whom turned it down, a couple of them on the grounds that it wasn't as funny as the Jiggy books (it was intended to be a different kind of humour), after which her positivity dwindled and, in no time at all, her formerly enthusiastic boss told her that she was spending too much time on me without making any money out of me and that I should be dropped as a client. And that was the end of Orson Quirk and all that he might have done and delivered.

The Cloak     

Ebenezer's Ghosts     

Goliath & Tangerine     


Tyburn Darkhammer's Nasty Shorts     

Is There Life in Other Heads?     

The Lacklustre Spot     

Demelza Drake    


Orson Quirk

Homely Tales of Fear and Dread

Swoozie McCue

Adventures of Snott     

Delius Gripe      

Danny Visitor, Ghostmaster

Danni Visitor, Warrior Queen


A 355-page paperback containing extracts from children's book concepts that didn't make it out of the house or garden.

These are the titles represented in 'Unwanted!', along with responses to them by agents and editors.

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