An Unattractive Offer


First, let me say WOW. We LOVED your samples! You’re an incredible writer.

We have had problems in the past with writers who can’t work to a deadline and still meet our standards, so before we get started, I’ve attached a short outline. I’ll need you to write the first 6,000 words (2 chapters) within 3 days to the best of your ability, and we’ll go from there.

Looking forward to working with you,

—Presumptuous Ferretface


Dear Mr. Ferretface,

First, let me thank you for the vote of confidence. You’re a wonderful interviewer.

Like you, I’ve had my share of problems. This morning, my shoelace broke, and my kettle wouldn’t boil. My sweater unravelled in the dryer, and it wound itself round everything. I feel your frustration. I do.

That said, six thousand words, that’s a few. I haven’t time for all that, so I’ve taken the liberty of skimming your oeuvre , and here’s how I’d do your next masterpiece:

[Hot/Sinful/Knocked up by the] + [Brain Surgeon/Neighbour/Mall Santa]

(Go on. Mix and match. I can wait.)

Chapter One: Man with a Manly Name

(I like Redd, but there’s Jetson, there’s Carson, all those surname-sounding ones. How’s about Vance? I’ve never done a Vance.)

First sentence, kinda passive. Describes an office, maybe a boardroom. We could beef that up some. This is Vance talking, Mr. Testosterone. Vance, man, he gets to the point. How ’bout we introduce at least one character, a hint of a conflict, and we’ll wrap that up in one breath?

With me so far?

First paragraph. Vance is bored. Vance is lonely. Vance…is putting me to sleep. He can stay in his office, but let’s give him some work to do. Give him a client. Give him a crap client, working his last nerve. Vance shows him who’s boss. Yeah, Vance. You’re the man.

First page, Jesus H. Why’s he still in his office? Why isn’t he moving? Isn’t he some CEO?

Dude, he’s daydreaming about his ex. It’s making him angry. (Aw, c’mon. Don’t do that. Don’t flop it all out like that, fish guts on the table. Wait till later, till it’s relevant. Till you can give it some ouch. Let that rage boil up and scald someone, and his belly roils with acid, ’cause, fuck. Why’d he go and do that?)

Page two. “Interruption!”

This is his ex. Maybe his secretary. She witters on. He dismisses her. She is the standard by which the heroine will be measured. She’s “all those other girls.”

(She’s dogged out. Give her a rest.)

She leaves.

Vance is alone again. He checks out his Tinder. Considers getting back in the game. Decides against it. Strange way to end a chapter, but okay. Me, I might stick a hook in there, something to suggest a world beyond his office, but hey. That’s just me.

Chapter Two: Shy Heroine

Her name’s something offbeat, but not too wild. One of this year’s top baby names. Isla, let’s call her. It’s her first day of work, ’cause of course it is. She’s sent to the CEO’s office, because, yeah. That sounds about right. An intern on her first day, roaming the corridors of power. Happens all the time.

Vance isn’t in. Isla’s overwhelmed by his manly decor. It’s all just so…granite-y, larger than life. Furniture for ogres. She creeps up on his desk and leafs through his magazines. Gets intimidated by a photo of a svelte blonde, tucked between Forbes and GQ. (That’s where I keep souvenirs of my exes.)

But, what’s this? Vance just nipped out for a shit! (Excuse me. For a board meeting.) He’s back, and he’s pissed, and he shoos her out of his office—or he starts to, but Isla has a sweet tush.

Vance stops her.

She waits.

He stares like a creeper, and she can’t help but notice his [intense eyes/chiselled jaw/rippling biceps]. She wonders how it’d feel to [kiss his lips/bite his pecs/get paddled over his desk].

Vance sneers.

Isla flees.

She meets her best friend for coffee. They fail the Bechdel test. I mean, it’s romance. That’s okay. But they fail it so hard. They talk about ALL the guys, this guy, her ex, some beach bod they spied on the train.

Isla’s like Vance, broken-hearted. She heaves a sigh, eats a muffin. There’s a joke about muffin-eating. It’s not funny.

Isla gets a text from the office. No, not from the office. From Vance.

He’s asking for her.


End chapter two.

Anyhow, Mr. Ferretface, I believe that lines up with your usual fare, and I guarantee clean copy. So, I’ve got the job, right?

Mr. Ferretface?


I didn’t say any of that.

I didn’t come close.

I don’t think I’ll answer at all.

(Six thousand words on spec! Eat my entire arse. Or pay for my effort and I’ll spare you the bother. I’ll write six thousand words of you slurping my crack. I mean, I won’t. That’d be crass. But, come on. You didn’t really expect…aw, sod off.)

PS – I quite enjoy writing romance. Really, I do. Only, just ’cause it’s destined for the Albertson’s checkout rack doesn’t mean it must be terrible. C’mon! Put some shine on it! You know you want to.

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