Thursday, December 15, 2005

An Agent's View: Brownies, Santa & Plotting

Agent Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency talks about Brownies, Santa & Plotting

Brownies, Santa and Plotting

When I was a little girl, I swore I was going to be a teacher. The dream lasted through my second year of college when I discovered business. The rest, they say, is history.

Now, I'm living the best of both worlds. I'm raising two fantastic kids and helping them learn new things every day. Plus, I'm getting to run my own agency where I'm surrounded by smart, successful writers.

Late this afternoon, I ran my daughter's Brownie troop meeting. Today, they earned the "Let's Pretend" badge. The girls learned tools to help them perform in front of a crowd. After a rowdy game of charades and some breathing exercises to help them project (ummm, not a smart plan since 6/7 year olds are pretty good at doing that naturally), we broke into three groups where each group was given the task of writing and performing a Christmas play in front of their peers. I gave each group about 15 minutes to come up with an idea, to select roles and to make props.

My other two co-leaders and I didn't know what to expect. Could first graders pull something like this off? Boy, were we pleasantly surprised! The girls not only pulled it off, they excelled! Each group came up with fun, unique stories and plots. They learned to work together as a team to achieve one common goal.

They also learned to brainstorm, and to throw ideas around until they found the right ones. And, when it was time to get up in front of the group to perform, there was no fear. No nervousness. No apprehension. Rather, there was just joy and fun! At the end of the meeting they girls came up and asked me if they could write another play!

So, what did I learn this afternoon watching these amazing girls?

1) No idea is a bad idea. When you are plotting your fiction, let it all out. Don't be afraid to let your mind go. Write down all your thoughts and review them. New ideas might spur from your old ones.

2) Trust your friends. They are there to support you and to help you succeed. Listen to their thoughts, but never settle for anything less than your convictions.

3) Act silly! Life is meant to be enjoyed. Laughter really is the best medicine.

4) Perform like there is no one in the audience. If you quiz adults on their biggest fears, one that always appears toward the top of the list is public speaking. But, my girls today got in front of their peers and their families with no reservations. With no fears. With only excitement and yearning to tell their story.

5) Pay attention to your surroundings. The girls gave their undivided attention each other and sought out details in their environments and utilized them into their skits.

Most of all, they gave each other a warm, loving place to showcase their creativity. I am so proud of these girls. In the short hour that we were together, they showed me the real meaning of friendship and the joy of the season.

Wishing you many wonderful memories this holiday season!


At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Wendy Warren said...

Another great post from you, Michelle! Thank you! I love the humanity and heart you bring to business.

There's always a great affirmation to cull from your posts.

(Though I was hoping that "Brownies" meant you were going to make an unimpeachable connection between the chocoalte kind and reaching the NYT list...but, hey, that's my issue. :-D)


At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhm, I meant "chocolate."

I should probably have a bottom line about being able to spell anything I'm going to eat....

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

What a cute story, Michelle. I bet they were darlings. Hey, maybe I'll put my own Brownie picture (from 3rd grade) on my blog. :) Must get it from Mom tomorrow.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Michelle Grajkowski said...

You guys are so sweet! Thanks for the kind words! And, thanks for letting me drone on about my baby - who just turned SEVEN yesterday! It really freaks me out!! Hey, maybe that will be my inspiration for my next post...

And, Wendy, you just put my two favorite things together in the same thought - brownies and the NYT.

Happy Holidays!!!


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