Saturday, May 01, 2010

Louis Auchincloss liked Getting It

Back in 2000, when I had just finished Getting It, in a version that was not quite yet final but I believe not far off, I sent it to Louis Auchincloss. I didn't know him personally or have any connections other than our both being in the legal world, but I found his mailing address on the Internet.

A couple of weeks later I got a letter back from Auchincloss, which I treated as private during his lifetime but see no harm to excerpting now. I gather from his reply that I had pitched my cover letter in terms of feedback and advice rather than seeking a blurb, so he offered various suggestions for revision, most of which I decided not to make although I generally could see his point.

Anyway, skipping the inside baseball suggestions for what he thought I might consider changing, it went like this:

"Dear Mr. Shaviro,

"I don't usually read what you call 'unsolicited manuscripts,' but yours came at a very good time, and I read it right away. I think your idea of a cad-hero in the rat race for partnership in a firm of cut-throats was a good one, and I enjoyed following the unscrupulous Doberman through all his wiles to [text containing spoilers about the ending deleted]

.... [Followed by his suggestions for what he'd do differently]

"I have enjoyed, however, your bleak picture of a scene I know too well. There are those who might think you go too far in showing Crossley as actually enjoying telling a clerk that he won't make partner, but I knew well a case on Wall Street precisely in point!

"Sincerely - Louis Auchincloss"

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