All I can think about today is the VW commercial where the little boy in the Darth Vader outfit runs around trying to manipulate things with his awesome power. I found many of the Superbowl commercials to be so-so. The VW one, though, is getting universal accolades. (It’s my personal favorite.)
There are those stand-out ads that we will always remember (E*TRADE baby, the Budweiser streaking goat). It’s hard to quantify what makes these work and others not so much. Yet, we instinctively “know it when we see it.”
I think this must be what literary agents are up against: they must wade through the so-so slush until that brilliant piece leaps out. I’m guessing some manuscripts try too hard and just come across as icky: like the Doritos commercial where the guy licks the orange, Dorito dust off a co-worker’s fingers.
Writers (published and unpublished) often want agents to quantity the unquantifiable. They want a secret formula that will make their stories stand out. The problem is that there is no secret formula.
Dear fellow writers…if we’re honest with ourselves, we know when we hit that sweet spot and we know when we’re just trying to be clever. To finally get that agent’s attention, our writing must be creative, stand out above the slush, and be able to evoke a response in our readers.
May the force be with us.