Sunday, March 06, 2016

Week in Review March 6, 2016

Welcome to the week that was.

In last week's review, Steve Stubbs took his life in his hands with this (particularly the last two lines!)
A comment on your statement that you reject fabulous manuscripts every day: I wonder if your kindheartedness is showing here, I read somewhere a comment by a former editor from Simon and Schuster.
When they were using in-house first readers to sort through the slush pile, he said they would typically find one publishable manuscript in every 5,000 unsolicited MS that came in over the transom. First readers were used mostly to sort out letters that contained threats and throw the rest of them away. The letters that contained threats were turned over to the police.
If you want to become a bestselling author, just send a threat letter to Simon and Schuster is what I always say. Works every time. A threat will make up for bad writing any day.
If you get 54 queries per week and there are 52 weeks in a year, according to my abstruse mathematical calculations, that comes to a mere 2,808 queries a year. At the end of a year you would still have 2,192 queries to go to find one salable MS. If you are rejecting masterpieces every day, you are on to something. I think I know what it is. You’re a kind person. Not a shark at all.

Here's where your logic trips you up:  Simon and Schuster gets not only MORE queries than I do, they get the ones from people who don't know that S&S doesn't take on unagented material. And my guess is that this comment is an editor recalling something from 20 years ago.  As far as I know, slush is simply discarded at all the major houses now.

That means I'm getting better slush than S&S is.

For every 5000 queries, they may only find one, whereas last year with 2192 queries, I took on two, and there were several I passed on that other agents took. And this doesn't count the mss that get placed elsewhere that I don't know about.

So while it may be hyperbole to say every day of the year, it's certainly NOT hyperbole that I pass on things that get published and win awards.  I'm not giving you the list but I've got one. Oh yes indeed I do.

And we don't call the police for threats either. I'm surprised S&S ever did. Unhappy writers threatening to dangle your modifier out the window are hazards of the trade.

As for this kind person thing, here, let me dust your rose-colored spectacles my friend.

Timothy Lowe said:
Love the Dirk Diggler shot. Although I still can't quite wrap my head around how I prevent people from getting a bunch of porn stars when they google my name. Very disturbing. Does this mean I change my name when it's time to publish?

Oh, I suppose I should mention too that I'm not a porn star.

Interestingly one of my clients had this problem. She told me that when she googled her name, up came a porn star. Since she's a very respectable Texas lady this was a problem. She began using her middle name, becoming Stephanie Jaye Evans, to solve the problem.

Cause really, when your main character is a Church of Christ minister, the author can't be a porn star.

 And Craig is probably going straight to Hell for this one:
The treasure cave needs more than one idea. So, Colin, when you are bored, or one your tech savvy kids is bored, do a spread sheet of sub headers by Reiders.
The sub-headers don't last. There's no way to go back and find the subheader for three months ago. Once they're changed, the old one is gone. This would be setting Colin to chasing his tail.
Oh wait….Hey Colin??

luciakaku disagreed with my assessment of why her story wasn't a story:
Ma'am, I respectfully disagree about your reasoning why my story wasn't a story. Your example strongly suggested that a story has to have a happy or uplifting ending to be a story. Her "growth" went backwards. She went from having faith in herself to having none. A valid character arc is often going from having no faith in yourself to having some, so I don't see why the reverse is not a story. It's a flash tragedy.

Here's what I'd said:
But it's not a story because it's a series of events. To be a story, it needs some sort of what I call a twist: something unexpected that sheds new light or interpretation on what we've read. "my boss hands me a tray" and says "get to work princess" and I discover I'm strong enough (bringing in the last line) to wrap my tank top around his neck and rein him in. (which is godawful writing, sorry, but you see the point I'm making.)

A story does not have to have a happy or uplifting ending at all. (We've seen some flash fiction winners that substantiate that) And I did understand what you call "backward growth" and I would call "slide to despair".

What's missing here is the something that takes this from just a list of things that happened, to a story about how she changed the trajectory of events.  In other words, a twist of some sort. It's that twist that is the crucial element to making something a story. Life is a series of events. The unexpected is what makes life a good story.

And I do like your phrase "flash tragedy" a LOT.

Lennon Farris did see a twist in the story:
Not to quibble with any said teeth, but... when I read luciakaku's entry, in my negligible experience, I would have said it had a twist because the word 'princess' was used at the beginning to convey a world of possibilities and support. And then at the end, it's used as a derogatory, sexist term. It's like even after all those other derogatory things happened to the m.c., she still held onto her hope. Then when her boss used that same word, it's like she had a paradigm shift about what she thought her parents had given her, and what her own potential was. That was my own take on it!

Which just goes to prove that this is a subjective endeavor and (banging the drum yet again) why you query widely! What doesn't twist to me, can be someone else's idea of a perfect twirl!

I loved Laura Mary's cat whisperer comment and when she asked
Is this the universe telling me I am destined to be a crazy cat lady?
I can only say: there are many many worse things to be.

On Monday, the first post was to let everyone know I hadn't finished reading the contest entries, so Gossamer would be standing in for me for the morning shift.
(I adore Goss!)

You all had some great cat stories to while away the hours until the results got posted.

Dena Pawling demonstrated she is a TRUE writer cause she put the worst possible spin on what was intended as an accolade:
I got a "special recognition for extraordinary exploration of form and style" which my writer brain translates as a euphemism for "WTF was that????!" But it was fun to write.
Special recognition for exploration of form and style means I think you did something really interesting and I LIKED IT.  Sheesh. Youse guyz!

On Tuesday we talked about essay collections, memoir, and why they are sometimes (often) not taken on for trade publication

I mentioned I'd shopped two terrific memoirs last year without any nibbles.
Lisa Bodenheim asked
Janet, are you able to share, in vague-protect-privacy language, what it was about the memoirs that you thought had real potential but received no nibbles?
Frankly, I'm convinced the editors took leave of their senses. Nothing else really explains it. Those memoirs were GREAT.

DLM made a very good point:
I feel awful for "saying this out loud" so to speak, but when I hear about a series of unrelated personal essays, I think that's a blog.

There is SO much of this sort of thing out on the internet for free, there has to be a seriously compelling reason to invest in the cost to produce it on paper (and/or e-book form), and for anyone to spend money on it.
Yes! The amount of work available for free now just boggles the mind, particularly essays/blog posts on people's lives. I'm trying to think of ANY blogs like that I read regularly (I can't.)  I remember reading personal essay columns in the newspaper (before the internet) but those are now mostly gone (unless you count the op-ed page of the NYT which I don't.)

On Wednesday the topic was writing conferences

Colin mentioned Bouchercon, which is not a writing conference, but a fan convention but still has a lot of value for writerly types. He referenced this story about me,
Heck, anyone who can walk into a restaurant and promote one of the table bussers to being her waitress for the night has a certain amount of chutzpah. And Janet has chutzpah in spades (if you hadn't cottoned on to that already). :) So, trust me--you'll know her when you see her. :)

I'd forgotten all about this till Colin mentioned it again. We (and I mean there were four or five of us I think) had a terrific young lady bring us drinks and food one night and when we returned the next day (or later that same day, I'm not sure) we asked for her again, only to be told she was a busser, not a server. Well! I liked that girl, she was TERRIFIC. So I kind of made a point in what we here in New York might call an everyday playful tone. Which I think in North Carolina they call Pushy Yankee Harlot voice. Anyway, we got her, at least for a while. Turns out they do need the bussers to buss, so when things got busy we had to have a "real" server. The manager of the restaurant actually came over to explain why. (I was mortified to my shoes that I'd inconvenienced the restaurant staffing plans quite unknowingly)

Brian Schwarz mentioned BEA, also not a writing conference
I went to BEA one year and basically floundered around like a shark out of water for 6 hours. Lesson learned? BEA is not a writing conference. BEA is not for writers at all. Everyone is busy at BEA and asking anyone anything is sort of like trying to buy a BMW from a barista at Starbucks.

Granted, I was invited to BEA and I didn't spend any money, so basically I just blew a weekend of my time. But to say I was ill equipped is the understatement of the year.

BEA is morphing into more of a book festival reader event than it used to be. The number of publishers willing to cough up big money to exhibit at a trade show is decreasing, so Reed Exhibitions is looking for ways to fill the coffers. They can read tea leaves like everyone else so they're reaching out to readers and self-published authors.  

That of course makes BEA less valuable to someone like me, and I've got an eye out for what the attendance will be like this year. BEA is in Chicago; we're not going. BEA is exactly valuable enough to pay for a three day pass, but NOT valuable enough to buy airfare and three days lodging. This is the first BEA I've missed in decades. It feels VERY weird.

Timothy Lowe got my hopes up with this:
I hear they're developing a new technology: a shot of bourbon you can send through e-mail. I wonder how that will impact the querying process?
 I don't know but I hope they need beta testers.

On Thursday we talked about the first 3-5 pages included with the query, and the problem with main characters appearing later, and footnoting anything in a query.

Lisa Bodenheim said
She didn't have footnotes and I don't know French (sorry, this Midwesterner learned Spanish and a bit of German and Amslan) but I was able to intuit.
 I had no idea what Amslan was (is it spoken in Andorra? Andalusia? American Slang?) Turns out it's American Sign Language!

2Ns brought up prologues (well, someone had to)
Prologue is such a dirty word to some agents. I am wondering if I should simply send the first five pages of chapter one, and if do, do I mention there’s a prologue, or at the risk of alienating a potential agent who abhors prologues, do I send the prologue and mention it’s a prologue or not mention that the book actually has one at all?
The reason I hate prologues is so very VERY often they aren't really relevant to the story. I can think of exceptions of course: the first chapter of Indigo Slam by Robert Crais is a prologue. In Sunset Express (also Robert Crais) the prologue is called just that. With those examples however, it's very clear that they ARE relevant to the story; you just don't know how yet. And Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (quick, do you know what episode of The Wire had a cameo with Dennis Lehane?) is a sterling example of "the story before the story" that is compelling in its own right as well as necessary to understand the rest of the novel.

The prologues I hate are the ones set in Peru in 1600 when the novel is about a contemporary archaeologist; or London in 200 when the novel is about a detective in Scotland. 

Or WORSE when the prologue is full of action, and then chapter one is "six months ago" and the main character is sleeping in the rain, dreaming about driving home and getting a phone call from his irate boss.


Prologues are all too often a crutch for what simply needs to be taken out and revised.

Prologues that function as backstory are often better excised, and backstory woven into the narrative as the main character learns it. 

On Friday we had another writing contest, this time inspired by Dena Pawling's DLM's purloined shark tooth story. (sorry Dena and DLM. Clearly I need to verify my sources rather than try to remember---argh)

For those of you who suggested phrases, the prompts can only be single words.

For those of you who suggested words, the best prompt words are short and have more than one definition. Thus you did NOT see "purloin" as one of the prompts, although I did think about it. Frankly, I was a bit afraid of what y'all would do with that. "I spur loins" was just too likely a phrase.

I hope to have results up on Monday. We'll see how it goes.

Subheader noms:
Everyone dies some day. I'd prefer to do so with a cat on my face. --Brian Schwarz

I need to have WORDS with my muse.--Celia Reaves

"My pet Shih Tzu was a stunt double for Donald Trump's hair."--Colin Smith

"Please try to keep your demons on a leash, but under no circumstances should you ever tame them. Tamed demons simply do not sell." E.M. Goldsmith

"Oh, that [sentence] just dances on your tongue like a swizzle stick." John Frain

"thank you for this community. Today is a day I am so grateful I had you guys to turn to." --CarolynnWith2Ns.

It’s so cool that everyone here seems like they’re friends.--Brian Biggs

"Firefly season 2- ah, don't tease me. It's cruel. Nathan Fillion must come over and comfort me."--E.M. Goldsmith


Donnaeve said...

Surprise! Nobody expected the WIR early it seems. Here I am, the heathen of Sunday morning, obviously not attending church.

Great WIR! **tiny error in your first sentence, QOTKU.** ..."took in his life in his hands..." There's an extra "in."

I'm so glad to see Colin's subheader up there! That comment made me laugh so hard, and lately, we all need a good laugh, don't we?

I also noticed a bunch of new folks in FF. I wish there was a way to know just how many folks read this blog we don't know about??? It's got to be in the zillions. :)

Have a wonderful Sunday all!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

At this point, I confess, I no longer yearn for Firefly season 2. It wouldn't be the same. Don't get me wrong, I think it could be an amazing story, X years later, the crew (our friends). But unless something like Netflix picked it up, I'm not sure the studio would leave it alone enough so that it's right. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not right about everything, even though it's a Donohue family trait to charge bullheadedly forward, "what do I need to know about that anyway?"

The subheaders are all grand. Maybe we don't talk enough about swizzle sticks? (oh, and typing that reminded me of something I wanted to add to a story)

Except I don't think a certain Shih Tzu impersonator needs more headspace than he deserves. And that's all I'll say about that poor dog. For shame, Colin ;p

Kae Bell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CynthiaMc said...

So grateful for the WIR as I just had time to play catch up between Mass and the show.

Final performance of Steel Magnolias today. Bittersweet. Great cast, great show. Glad to get my life back, hate to see it end. Ouiser was a stretch for me, but she has been great fun.Turns out I actually do have a snippy side. Next up: back to my sweet, sexy self (Monette in Always a Bridesmaid) - but not until June as the theatre is being rehabbed - which means - writing season!!!!

Missed you all!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I love Colin's sub-header except now every time I spy Trump on television(which is way too much) instead of having to squelch the impulse to throw the set out the window, I half expect Donald's hair to run off chasing a squirrel or loaner cat.

Great WIR. The weeks are going past way too fast. Off to battle my inner demons.

MB Owen said...

I vote Brian Schwarz for President: "Everyone dies some day. I'd prefer to do so with a cat on my face."

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I was on a work trip most of the week (12+ hour days, yikes!) and had to miss the comments on most of the blog posts, and boy did I miss you all! :) It's such a great gift to have a group of people who have a passion in common, that's why I love book clubs and church so much.

I'm with Jennifer on the Firefly thing. I love the show with the burning fiery passion of a thousand red-hot suns, but it's been over a decade. I would love a new series in the same universe with a new crew and tone (a la Star Trek) or even a series of movies (a la... Star Trek). But bringing the old cast back together would be difficult. Though Nathan Fillion seems up for it!

Side note: My cat wanted to add a comment for you, but it was distracting, so here's his contribution at the end... (a la St222222z Trek)

Lance said...

Ms. Janet, this is a great WiR. Thank you spending the time to do these. If writers had to accumulate continuing education points, the Reiders would have enough to buy a Buick. I agree with Jennifer R. Donahue: using a live dog as a stunt double for what is obviously some alien life form would be counter to wishes of the humane society. Excuse the previous backward reference to green stamps.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Oh, I forgot! I vote for Brian S. or E.M's demon leash for subheader.

DLM said...

Janet, the shark tooth story was Dena's, not mine. :)

Donna, I didn't go to church either. BUT this week's FF contest is the first time I've ever entered the scrum ...

Donnaeve said...

Diane, I know! I think I might have...*gasped!*

S.D.King said...

Brian Biggs: we seem like friends because we are friends. Of course we could all be in an elevator together and not know it unless someone passed a note and we recognized their writing style. One of us could die and we would just assume writers block. And I know that members of this group are far more attractive than those people I hang out with in person. We also read more of each others work than anyone else- heck even my husband has never read anything I have written and this group reads it all the time.

Sheri said...

God I miss The Wire. Dennis Lehane was in Middle Ground in the the third season, an episode written by the equally brilliant George Pelicanos.

allierat said...

FF is my way of whispering into the void. I’m not brave enough to scream. So when the void talks back, I pinch myself. Did this really catch someone’s attention? I figure any mention of a FF by Her Sharkliness entry is a positive thing.

Lennon Faris said...

It is funny to think of all the faces on the 'other ends' of our digital names. When I first started reading this blog, my pre-conceived ideas and associations led me to believe that some Reiders were male or female, young or old, etc. and then I'd see a comment that would shatter my image of that individual. In fact, my own images were so stubborn that a few comments just threw me off and confused me at first, until I realized what an idiot I was being. The real people are better, though :)

Thanks for the WIR, Janet!

Brian M. Biggs said...

S.D. King, Glad to hear you all really are friends. Anonymity, aside it is neat to have a group of writer friends who enjoy reading the work of others as much as doing their own writing. And I have to say the SHARK provides a safe haven where even the JETS could co-mingle.

Theresa said...

Sunday lunch goes so well with the WIR!

I'm all for EM's demons subheader.

DLM said...

Lennon, I have done that too! A lot of folks' profiles/blogs etc. have led to photos of them that seem to align pretty well to what I'd expect. No idea what people think "DLM" might look like - I wonder sometimes whether people think it's a male ID. But I'm easy to find.

Donna, I hope it was a good *gasp* ...

Colin Smith said...

Awww... I guess I'll be persona non grata at Trump's casinos and resorts now... Wait--they closed? Oh. Not that I was planning to go anyway. Not a gambler. :) Thanks for the sub-head nod, Janet. I'm glad it brought a smile. Keep thinking Shih Tzu, folks, and we might just make it past November... ;)

BTW, since this is week two of the out-of-context sub-header, I was talking about making one's memoir relevant by relating it to something current. We don't normally advocate cruelty to animals. Sorry if people misconstrued.

2,192 queries last year? Wow--I probably get that much spam mail. I might become an agent just to get real email! ;)

I didn't tell the whole Bouchercon story--the bit about you being mortified and apologetic for taking young Grace away from her bussing job--as I thought it might undermine your reputation a little. If anyone wants to read the full story, search my blog for "Bouchercon Day 2."

Great WiR again, Janet. Thanks!! :D

Brigid said...

It's been a pretty bad week. I haven't talked about it here, but coming here makes it a little better. I check in every day, and no matter what the outside world holds (grief, hardship, Donald Trump's hair), this is still a little pocket of clever, compassionate folks who are Up To Something worthwhile. It helps.

Colin Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Oh, and to Craig's point: Actually, if one felt industrious, one could compile a list of all the sub-head contenders, since Janet posts those on the WiR. But you'd only have them since Janet started the WiR, which was, I think the beginning of last year..?

It certainly would be a nice gem for the Treasure Chest, if anyone wants to take that on. Not You Janet! *whew* I just heard the opening rumbles of the Jaws theme...

Dena Pawling said...

Yay!! I'm a TRUE writer, with a capital TRUE!! “I think you did something really interesting and I LIKED IT.”

I don't care what anyone thinks. I'm using that as a writing credit =)

I'm also glad to see so many new folks trying out the writing contests. If you take my story last week as an example, you can do some pretty wild and crazy things, and sometimes you even get a mention!

Go for it. It's fun.

Does anyone else feel sorry for Colin's Shih Tzu? Being insulted like that in public? And then the insult displayed at the top of a blog for a week? Poor puppy.

It's raining here this weekend. Have a great week everyone.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

On the subject of prologues, I have occasionally seen them used to great effect. I think in one of Guy Gavriel Kay's novels, you see a beautifully tragic prologue that sets the tone and background for the story in a few short pages. Later you find out that one of the main characters in the novel is a survivor from that prologue. It's a huge emotional wallop right toward the end of the book. (This a book my mother read, not me, so I don't know which one.)

I think the biggest risk - like Janet said - is when prologues mess up the pacing or tone of the story.

I should also note that I write fantasy, where prologues are pretty commonplace and usually prevent a lot of unnecessary exposition later in the story.

Celia Reaves said...

Thanks again, Janet, for taking the time to compile the Week In Review. I think I've figured it out -- you have a magic machine that gives you an extra 10 hours in every day. Otherwise, how could you do everything we see here on the blog AND be an awesome agent AND have any kind of a life with friends and family?

Any of the great lines nominated this week could get my vote for subhead. I see that Colin's dog hair remark is up there, and I think that'a great choice. I'm tickled pink that I got listed there among the options! Carolynn's comment about being grateful to have this place to turn to each day had special resonance with me as well.

Yes, there's a real sense of family and friendship here. S.D. King is right that we might not recognize each other in person if we're not wearing name tags, unless someone makes an objectionable remark and we hear a soft voice murmur, "Off to Carkoon with that one!" I propose we get shark-tooth lapel pins we can wear at all times, so we will know each other by sight.

Colin Smith said...

I think we'll have to start a list. How to find Janet Reid at a conference:

1) Ask for the person in charge.
2) Look for the trail of blood.

Feel free to add... ;)

Theresa said...

Oops, I see Colin already has the subheader spot of honor. I will never look at a photo of Trump in the same way.

How to find Janet Reid at a conference? I always figured I'd look for the person who most resembles Allison Janney. Might have to do with how I equate a shark with a jackal.

And if I'm not already headed to Carkoon, this may seal my fate. I watched a few episodes of Firefly a few years ago but never got around to finishing out the season.

Julie Weathers said...

Brigid, I'm sorry you're having a tough week. Hopefully things line out for you soon.

I declined the death match that has become Flash Fiction Friday. Sometimes it's good to be the water boy. I love cheering everyone else on, though.

Great week in review.

Bethany, I write fantasy and historical. I thought I had to have a prologue with my last fantasy until Barbara Rogan, in a class, convinced me to get rid of it. I found I could weave all the stuff I thought was indispensable in the prologue into the story in small bits.

Some prologues are wonderful, but many, perhaps most, are not.

Cynthia congratulations on Steel Magnolias. What a plum part. Ouiser has to be the best character in the story.

Cat lovers are everywhere. Oddly enough, cats abound through my war research. Robert E. Lee carried a cat and a hen with him when he was chasing Indians all over hell's half acre in Texas. He regretfully had to write his daughters and inform them the cat had died. Apparently it was huge and he suspected the cat might have died of obesity.

Great WIR as always. Y'all are the best way to start out the week.

Joseph Snoe said...

I spent two or three weeks drafting and honing a fantastic prologue. It's now on the cutting room floor. I did sneak one element from it into a paragraph in Chapter 4.

And it still entertains me as I lay awake at night.

Donnaeve said...

Hee! Diane, the gasp was more of a "Yay! She's trying it out!"

I just wanted ya'll to know I've been to Hell and back. I walked. I even had a picture made with the Devil, although I have no idea where it is.,_Grand_Cayman

Craig said...

Thank you for the WIR.I appreciate it.

Today is the end of several TV eras.

For the Literary Types: Downton Abbey will be over after tonight's episode.

For people like me ( who like to see shit get blown up) Mythbusters is also over. Unlike Firefly (except for Serenity) you will probably never be able to get away from syndicated reruns of them.

In other news:

Miss Donna, I noticed that you no longer wish to read our comments to you. We will continue love you and read you book while you deal with this uppity phase.

Panda in Chief said...

I adore Colin's subheader, although I also loved Brian's about the cat. Because, you know, cats. (And this is probably how I'll be found)
Thanks for this week's WIR. I 've been crazy busy working on my graphic novel, which has progressed to the point of more developed pencil drawings, then reconciling the script with the drawings. Sheesh. What a process. It left me time to only read the posts, but not the comments here. :-(((((

And as to imagining what everyone looks like, I assume you all are youngish and very attractive. I may or may not actually be a panda.

Donnaeve said...

Uh oh. What comment? Did I miss one directed at moi??? Apparently so, cause ya'll know by now I can't keep my mouth shut.

Where was it?

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

*blink* Where did the weekend go?

Botheration! I missed out on entering the short story contest. Had even written down the words and started brainstorming and everything! Whatever I did this weekend that made it pass so fast had better have produced some useful result.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

How do you find Janet at a convention: Who's Slithery Barbara Poelle's drinking companion?

Colin's subheader nom reminds me of a joke I once heard:

My neighbour thought he'd open a zoo in his back yard. Got permits and everything. However, when it came time for the grand opening, turns out he only had one animal on display--a dog. It was a Shih Tzu.

Celia Reaves said...

Heidi, Your Grace, it sounds like you had a really great weekend. Or maybe a really awful one, but I'm rooting for the really great one!

Craig said...

Miss Donna, I have enjoyed following your blog and your success has been heartening for a great many of us. Your new set up looks good and you asked the opinion of those following you about it. The problem is that there is no place to comment.

I realize that it is your blog and you can do what you want. I am considering Jigsaw puzzle Fridays for example. I am not, however, going to chase all over social media to comment. I was at a perfectly serviceable blog and would have commented but could not.

Perhaps, probably, my etiquette in such things is sadly lacking. I think a blog should have a comment space. Websites do not need one in my opinion.

Maybe someone could straighten me out if I am as wrong as usual.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

In response to Craig, I think there's usually a very good reason for authors to disallow comments on their blog. Maybe it's a time commitment thing - many bloggers feel obligated to respond to every comment or leave a comment on the commenter's blog. That can be a huge time commitment. It can also be a way to keep things positive, because (though its hard to believe with such a great community here) commenters can be mean.

Although you CAN comment on Donna's blog. You just have to open the posts individually. Lots of authors have it set up that way.

On that note - Donna, you have a beautiful blog! :)

Julie Weathers said...

I don't know what y'all are talking about with Donna. At the top under the title of the blog post title is "comments". Click that and comment in the little box just like you always do.

It's just at the top instead of the bottom as some are.

Donnaeve said...

Why thank you, Bethany Elizabeth for that nice compliment! You are right...folks can still comment on the actual Blog page. So, Craig's mention of not being able to do this definitely had me puzzled. Matter of fact, there are several comments there, and yep, true to form I do feel like I should respond to each and every one. That's how it goes for now...but what you said is also very true...eventually I can see a huge chunk of time going pfffft! and so...I don't even want to go there yet.

Probably what happened to you, Craig is...when you go to, it opens to my static page which has The Book, and no, there is no comment box there, or on About, Events & News..etc. Only on the Blog tab. :)

Donnaeve said...

Yep, you got it Julie! :)

Sorry for the diversion, QOTKU...

Back to the regularly scheduled WIR!

Anonymous said...

"the best prompt words are short and have more than one definition."

*snort* Yep, they sure do. And that's one reason I didn't enter this week. My brain went straight to the gutter and there was no retrieving it. Actually, the real reason is that I've been busy writing fiction of the non-flash variety and the story is maybe starting to come together (I might be scarce around here, in terms of comments, in the next little while as a result).

Another great WIR, Janet. Thanks for all you do over here to educate us.

Lennon Faris said...

DLM - you'd make the better detective! My guesses are so off.

Panda in Chief - I really do see you as a panda bear paw-typing at a computer. From all your comments, that image hasn't changed, so I'm *pretty sure* I got this one right.

Brigid - hope the coming week is better for you. I agree, this blog is definitely something to look forward to!

Anonymous said...

Gah, been a super hectic week, just been skimming over the blog posts and unable to read comments at all, let alone participate in this week's contest. I do so enjoy this. I've discovered lately that storytelling is, ironically, my biggest weakness in writing stories, and these flash contests are really helping me figure out what my longer stories are missing.

Particularly because Her Majesty graced me with another explanation! *prostrates self* Honestly, I wasn't expecting that, and I really appreciate the further clarification. I'd been worrying if I sounded whiny or argumentative. >.<

Just hopping on real quick to say thanks for that, ma'am, and I hope to get some extra time to more thoroughly read and comment again soon.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I'm not immediately averse to prologues. I've seen them used well, I've seen them used poorly, and try to take each at its individual value. I've even written one which, I hope, does its job. But that novel is faaaar from finished anyway (my Untitled Fantasy Novel from CampNaNoWriMo of...geeze, was that 2014? could that be? Holy smokes, yes it was....)

It is kind of fun to think of everybody's "real" identities. As a longtime citizen of the Internet, it's been a game I've played across platforms, trying to envision my message board friends, Twitter buddies, blog buddies. None of the pictures on my blog are me, though my Twitter picture is, albeit run through a fun "blueprint" filter thingie on Photobucket. Eventually I'm going to need an author photo (perhaps sooner, if it's one of the things I end up doing in conjunction with the anthology), so you guys will get to see me, and not just my lovely Elka ^^

Colin Smith said...

If anyone cares, there's a picture of my on my blog. However, I'm told it doesn't do me justice. :) I'll admit, it's a few years old now, and my hair is a little grayer... but hopefully it's a fair enough representation that if any of you should run into me, you'll recognize me. Or avoid me. Whichever. :)

Colin Smith said...

(Oh, it's actually the same picture as on my Blogger profile, so you don't even have to go all the way over to my blog to find it!)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Glad to see the new subheader is Colin's Shih Tzu. bless you. Humor much appreciated.

Thank you for summarizing and doing the WiR.

And....I was going to say something more but my brain turns to mush at night.

Brian M. Biggs said...

Colin: I checked out your blog. It is great. Love the music section and "Golden Brown" by the Stranglers. You probably know that KD James lives in NC. I lived there for awhile at Camp Lejeune. Nice photo of you, I'm picturing the hair more gray. I have no hair. Thanks for all the info. I still can't figure out the map but I live in Oregon City, Oregon on five acres. My wife has three horses and I have a huge garden. The asparagus is about to come up if anyone is in the area.

Janet Reid said...

Hey Brian,
Is the Canby ferry still running?
I loved that thing.

Brian M. Biggs said...

Hi Janet, The Canby Ferry is still running. I've never been on it. I'll have to try it sometime. I'm actually going to Canby this Thursday to see "Annie Get Your Gun." A former student of mine is directing the show at Canby High.

John Frain said...

I wanna be Dennis Lehane!

'Nuff said.

John Frain said...


I'm not gonna ask if your refrigerator is running, but you should know how very tempted I was. Good thing for you I can't click your name and get your phone number. Sometimes it's good not to be too reachable.

How to Spot Janet Reid at a conference (what number are we on?)
4. Look for an abandoned surfboard with a big bite mark.
5. Randomly exclaim that someone should make an anthology of flash fiction winners ... and then duck from wayward fins.

AJ Blythe said...

Love the WiR as always. Thank you, O'mighty Shark.

CynthiaMc said...

Thank you. This director was having some fun. He cast us all against type which was terrifying and pushed us all. Could have been disastrous but turned out great and made us all better actors. Inside joke - my nemesis from a former show was my victim (Annelle) in this one. We call it Theatre Karma.

Brian Schwarz said...

Haha! Aww thanks Margo! :)

nightsmusic said...

Thanks so much for the WIR! We're done stoning the top of the fireplace (finally!) and it came out better than I expected. Of course, our marriage is bruised because, never do a DIY with your spouse, but they'll fade to nothing in another day or two. So it was wonderful to catch up this morning :)

On a side note, why are the blogs I visit primarily populated with liberal types when I am not so much? *sigh*