Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Greenwich Mean Time minus HOW many?

Did I sabotage myself?

These past few months, I've been querying my MS with a modicum of success. Out of the 50 or so queries I sent out, I've received 15 full requests, and all but three (still pending) came back with the same rejection--"Love the voice, but didn't fall in love with the novel." I haven't really thought about a detail I mention in my query until I read your blog post on lackluster sales, in which you also talk about hands-on bookselling and touring. I'm not from the US. Never even visited. I live in a small European country and mentioned this in my query's bio section.

I know my writing's probably lacking since all these requests turned into rejections. But I'm wondering if one of the agents was on the fence about offering rep, saw that I'm not from the States, and that info tilted the decision into the dreaded rejection realm. I'm asking because my next MS is almost done (get published or die trying) and I want to know whether I should keep my whereabouts to myself for the next batch of queries. Do agents take that into account when making a decision?

No.
I don't care if you live on Mars.
(but, if you do, query me NOW.)
If I see an address that is non-US the only thing I care about is if I can pay you, and making sure you understand we bill you for postage if we have to ship stuff to you.

However, you're anxious about this and no amount of "don't worry" from me will really assuage that.

On the next round of queries leave out your country of residence.
(Your email should also be a straight gmail address, not Name@Domain.ca(nada) or @Domain.au(stralia) or whatever your suffix is. FelixButtonweezer@Kale.Ka(rkoon)

You know what the real problem is though. You told me: I know my writing's probably lacking since all these requests turned into rejections.

Something about your novel isn't working. It might be the writing, but it may the lack of plot, or tension or pacing or character development. The plot might be,  at best,  a rehash of any Starsky and Hutch, or Dark Shadows episode, or worse 7 Magnificent Gladiators (which is possibly the worst movie ever made, but at midnight on Saturday is a howlfest of fun.)

Before you query, you might want to find a prickly-pear beta reader. Someone to tell you what's not working, and won't pull any punches. Not the easiest thing to see (and I'm the absolute worst at getting critiqued, let me tell ya) but if something is not working, better to find out now, before you query.

And I really hope you live in Andorra.
I've always wanted to go there.



75 comments:

Timothy Lowe said...

cue barrage of Martian authors querying Janet...

15 fulls out of 50? It sure as hell ain't the query that's not working!

Best of luck, OP.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

15 out of 50 is amazing. OP, you got query down. Look at the manuscript. Step up the tension - it is tough to keep the attention of people who must sift through so many manuscripts every day, but it's worth reworking with that kind of response. Or simply make sure the new book goes through a Gauntlet of beta readers who have no qualms dealing out criticism.

In the meanwhile, I am packing my things and moving to Mars to begin my next round of queries.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Mars California, Pennsylvania and Texas have hit the jackpot today. Query the Queen and you're moved up the ranks on her queries TBR list.
Or maybe I'm reading this wrong:)
You have aced you query now all you have to do is write a killer of a book. Easy-peezy.

DLM said...

Timothy and Elise, that's what I was thinking!

Andorra: VISIGOTH country! This is me, nerd-touristing in my mind.

Amy Johnson said...

Wow, OP! Fifteen out of fifty. Congrats!

My personal takeaway: Being a robot didn't work. Being a Martian might. Wait, Elise, I'm going with you.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Opie: what exciting times for you. Congrats on the 15 requests out of 50. And most especially, congrats on completing a 2nd manuscript!

E.M.: I'm with you. Packing my bags. Except I think I'll move a wee bit closer. Andorra. Or what about the Camino de Santiago (de Compostela) or any part of Galicia. Or maybe somewhere in Brittany. Or the Isle of Harris. Or...or...

Theresa said...

Beta, beta, beta! OP, you're so close (well, maybe not to the U.S.) that you've got to get some feedback on the whole manuscript. Good luck.

And, oooh, Andorra--I hope Janet gets to go to there.

Colin Smith said...

"15 out of 50 ain't bad" almost begs for a Meat Loaf parody... but it doesn't fit the meter of the original. Sorry! Still an excellent statistic--well done, Opie! :)

I'm sorry, call me old and jaded, but "Query me now!" from an agent doesn't get me excited. If I tweeted any number of agents and asked "Do you want me to query you?" I'm sure most, if not all, would say "Sure!" Not because of who I am, or where I live, but because that's how they get clients. Writers query, and agents either ask for more or... don't. This is why the only advantage I see to getting query requests from agents at a conference is they are more likely to request if you mention that you met them at the conference in your query. Otherwise, do we really need an agent to invite us to query? Aren't we going to anyway?

Now, if Janet had said, "Skip the query, send me your manuscript!" I might be packing for Mars. :)

If someone would like to disabuse me of my crusty jadedness, please feel free! As long as it doesn't involve power tools... :D

E.M. Goldsmith said...

For those like me considering relocating to Mars, it's damn hard to find a place to live there and google Maps is useless in giving directions. And there are rumors that Mars is now cultivating kale. After my time on Carkoon, I am not sure my stomach or palette will accept such conditions.

So Andorra maybe? Is Scotland close to Mars? I like Scotland. The Edinburgh Film festival is a delight. And I hear there's both sheep and whisky. Both can help with querying or so Felix Buttonweezer once claimed.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

I want to go to Andorra, Andorra, Andorra,
I want to go to Andorra, it's a place I adore,
They spent four dollars and ninety cents
On armaments and their defense,
Did you ever hear of such confidence?
Andorra, hip hurrah

I lived in Ireland for a while and it was terrible and wonderful at the same time.

Mark Thurber said...

Actually the current draft of my manuscript does include kale from Carkoon, on Mars (seriously), though this detail may or may not survive the revision in progress.

kathy joyce said...

I'm curious if Americans query in other countries at the same rate others do here. Anyone know?

Craig F said...

I would be happy with a fifteen of fifty rate. I think here, though, that it shows how much Agents want something with a different perspective.

Could part of that rate be because of the foreign address? It still has to be a killer query, but there could be more. I would read a coming of age story from a war-torn place or several other exotic locations.

O.P.: Read some books on ramping up your writing, revise and get a beta reader or six to read it. Whatever recipe you have must be close to being palatable already.

Julie Weathers said...

op

15 out of 50 requests are pretty good odds.

"You know what the real problem is though. You told me: I know my writing's probably lacking since all these requests turned into rejections"

(Also, I love the word "Assuage".)

Therein lies the problem. The agents said they loved the voice, but didn't fall in love with the novel. It's time to find some really tough beta, but right, readers. They have to be beta readers who get your story and your voice.

When I write: "Baron had settled into war easily. It was as if something he had waited for all his life had finally arrived, wide-eyed and faunching at the bit to be off on the grand adventure." they must trust me when I say the first definition in the dictionary isn't always the only definition.

I've slipped into an impression of the language and the dialogue of the 1860's from reading so many diaries and letters. So, in my case my beta readers have to understand the dialogue might not always be what they are used to or correct.

Or, sometimes, as like someone mentioned with Donna, when you develop a tic like "AJ and me", it's a style.

It's such a fine line to find those beta readers who will really tell you what's wrong with the story without stripping the magic. It takes Goldilocks sleeping in a lot of beds to find the right ones and I think you need more than one.

None of this probably makes any sense. I am working on very little sleep.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

*scans Julie's comment for words that might be turned to torture us in contest 100.*

*Grimaces and stalks off*

RosannaM said...

"Loved the voice-didn't love the novel"--and therein lies the problem. Until you get a fresh set of critical eyes upon it, you won't have any clue where to start. Is it tension, is it pacing, is it plot not working, is it subject matter? Is it GRAMMAR? (Heaven knows, we are now oh-so-wary about not dropping an anvil on our foot here.) Whatever it is, you need a few readers to clarify things.

Best of luck, OP.


Oh, and did I hear you guys are setting up a group tour to Andorra? Mars is a little out of my budget but, Andorra....

DLM said...

Elise, "assuage" hit me as one option. It IS a wonderful one. But if she's feeling cruel, I'm going to guess Janet would go for "faunching" ...

Colin Smith said...

My goodness, Diane! Do you want Julie to be the only one to be able to come up with a cogent story?! :)

Stephen G Parks said...

OP - As everyone is saying, a 30% full request on a query is amazing. Congrats!

One thought though: If you are sending queries with the first chapter or first five pages attached, and getting so many requests for full but then rejected, is it possible that you've spent so much time polishing the beginning of the story that the remainder feels flat in comparison?

--

Janet - You should go to Andorra. It is everything you imagine, especially in winter. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend there while studying in Barcelona. It was stunning.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Diane No doubt the shark, yearning so for writer blood, would choose the later. Oh help.

DLM said...

Hey, I am NOT suggesting; merely speculating, Colin! :) I'd fear a pack of scapegraces champing at the bit would get a little monotonous, even with flash pieces ...

BJ Muntain said...

OP: Keep writing. You'll only improve if you keep on keeping on. You can obviously write a good query. Now use that skill in your novel.

Regarding time zones: I live in GMT -600. I think OP would either be in GMT or GMT +XXX.

Lisa: Which Galicia? I want to go to the Galicia which straddles Poland and Ukraine. Some of my ancestors came from that area.

Colin: Actually, when you pitch an agent at a conference and send them what they tell you to, you are no longer querying them. Your pitch was your query. At this point, you are sending them requested material, which gets moved out of the query pile and into the requested material slush.

I pitched an editor at a local conference (not Surrey). This small publisher only has a small annual window for submissions. He said to send him a submission during the next submission window (6 months from then). Umm, no. That's not why I pitched you, to just send to you the same way anyone else could. I later heard that he's awful to work with. I stand by my decision not to submit to him.

I pitched an editor from a major science fiction/fantasy publisher at Surrey one year. She said to send her 50 pages. She tells that to everyone who pitches her at conferences because she figures anyone who pays that kind of money to learn more is serious about their craft. Yes, you can submit to this publisher without an agent anyway, but that slush process can take 2 years. I got my response from her in a few months.

Looking back on all my pitches, I honestly can't remember any agent asking me to 'query' them. Partials, yes. Queries, no. I usually send my query in my cover letter, anyway, just so they can see it and maybe remember what I was pitching them.

EM: I'm guessing 'faunching' or 'faunch' will wind up in our words now...

Julie Weathers said...

I think, y'all are safe. I doubt the sharque would use two of my words and I certainly am not word dropping. I'm just thinking of some incidents where beta readers and I clashed over word use. There were others, like aubergine. The beta reader was correct, aubergine probably would not have been used in 1860. That's where outstanding beta readers come in handy.

Colin Smith said...

BJ: I was specifically talking about querying--yes, pitching to an agent at a conference would result in a request for pages (or not). My point is that I don't understand the excitement over an agent saying "Query me!" whether at a conference, or on Twitter, or wherever, unless, for example, the agent promised a personalized response (see the Chum Bucket), or the agent promised to respond within a few days if you mention the conference. Otherwise, it's querying as usual.

Which makes me wonder at the value of Twitter pitch sessions. At least the ones I've seen usually result in a request to query, not necessarily a request for pages. Am I wrong?

Wow, I am the crusty cynic today!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Janet: I live West of Mars. Still want me? *grin*

Colin Smith said...

Savvy readers might have noticed Janet used the following example:

FelixButtonweezer@Kale.Ka(rkoon)

Obviously, Janet knows how to spell Carkoon. However, the Canadian government was quite upset when the PTC (the People's Tyranny of Carkoon) applied to have the .ca domain suffix. In a quite uncharacteristic move, the Canadians dug their heels in and said they didn't want email intended for them to be going to, and I quote, "the stinking cesspool that is the olfactorily-offensive armpit of the universe known as Carkoon." The PTC was so overwhelmed by the compliment, they let Canada have its way, and adopted ".ka" as their domain suffix. This is why the universe has such regard for Canadian diplomacy. ;)

Claire Bobrow said...

I've nothing material to add to the comments other than my congrats to OP. With some savvy beta reading, it sounds like you're on your way!

DLM: Visigoths always make me think of A Room With A View. Here is a quote from the movie, with apologies for liberties taken:

"A shark, transfigured by Spain! And why shouldn't she be transfigured? It happened to the Goths!"

Claire Bobrow said...

Unless of course Andorra is not considered part of Spain, which perhaps it is not? Geography gods - assistance, please!

Colin Smith said...

The Visigoths get a bad rap as a bunch of marauding barbarians, but what few people know is that there was a sect of the Visigoths that were, to use modern-day parlance, a bit nerdy. It seems they eschewed the blood lust of battle for the rational world of science, particularly physics. Disdained by their fellows, these nerdy Visigoths were banished to Carkoon, where their scientific experiments became a matter of survival. To protect themselves from the savage population of medieval Carkoon (which wasn't a whole lot different from modern Carkoon), they developed a technique of bending light such that they could not be seen.

And from thenceforth, they were known as the Invisigoths. :)

Sorry, it's either this or song parodies... ;)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin Oh my, invisigoths- so funny and so silly. But that is Carkoon.

I think I scared some of my co-workers I laughed so hard and they're already afraid of me. Invisogoths! Geez.

Julie Weathers said...

Colin,

The difference is at a conference some agents will actually request more pages or even request when they are normally closed to queries otherwise. Plus, you might be able to remind them, "this is the story about the Civil War lady spy that you said you'd love to see more of when you were at Surrey."

It doesn't get a yes, but it gets your foot in the door that might have otherwise been closed. Your writing still has to sell the story. There's no shortcut to great storytelling.

DLM said...

Colin, sing it! You know I don't even accept the existence of "barbarians" -and, indeed, Alaric II was famed more for being a lawgiver and the guy who wussed to Clovis than any famous battle. Vouille' didn't really go his way ... Now, I won't get started on the term "medieval"!

Claire, Andorra is a nation in its own right, but the land it occupies was indeed part of the Visigothic kingdom in its day. "Andorra" didn't exist as such more than about a thousand years ago. So I'm being what you might call presumptuous, hollering Visigoth about the place.

The problem with "is this a part of that" in European history is the modern conception of nationhood, which did not apply in the ways we think of or define it today until VERY recently indeed. Talking about "France" circa 1500 years ago is like talking about iPhones in that period; it didn't exist, not the way we think of now. Even calling the people Franks is tricky, because it's not like they thought of themselves by name or called themselves such. And there were other terms, too - Sicambrian was what Bishop Remegius called them, and even that meant something less like "American" than "you pagan from such-and-such region."

So don't worry about it! :)

My apologies to all on the history diversion. Trying to winkle out definitions of almost any terms we understand today in this period is like trying to teach kittens to eat apples.

The Sleepy One said...

Colin, a friend of mine is an editor and she ends up telling everyone at pitch sessions to submit to her. Hearing a two-minute pitch doesn't really tell her if the person can write. Her house always accepts unagented submissions but being able to list the conference/requests gets the sender bumped into a different slush pile that is read slightly faster. I assume the same thing is true of Twitter pitch events.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: *whew* I was ready for you to punch me, or slam the door on your way out with that one! ;)

And thank y'all for your thoughts on "Query Me!" requests. :)

DLM said...

Baaahaahaha! No, dear. Anyway, the Visigoths were one of my guys' enemies in AX (though not so in the WIP, where they still figure *not* prominently). Honestly, for me the word takes me more to Arthur Dent throwing a fit early in Hitchhiker's than to my own research. And I'd not punch you in any case. You seem a loyal type around here, and I need you to buy my novels someday ...

Amy Johnson said...

Invisigoths! Good one, Colin!

I'm with Julie on the importance of finding the right beta readers. With my first novel, I think I probably made a mistake taking advice from a couple of well-meaning beta readers. I've since learned that being receptive to critiques just means graciously and gratefully considering them--and then it's up to the writer to take them or leave them.

Janet Reid said...

oohhhh!
Visigoths!
Aubergine!

*cackling madly*

Colin Smith said...

Janet: Can we negotiate? How about Goth and Eggplant? :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

No! Visogoth? Aubergine? Is there such thing as a scapegrace aubergine Visogoth gazing at the sunset?

Your Majesty, I am suitably tortured. Well-played. Visogoth? What in the world can you do with a Visogoth in 100 words or less?

*cues Colin*

BJ Muntain said...

Colin: Twitter pitch sessions might get responses from agents you might not have thought of. Also, there are often small publishers involved. (Note: Always check all agents and publishers who want a submission from you.) Often, if an agent 'likes' your Twitter pitch and you mention that in your subject line, you'll get moved to the front of the query pile. But I don't participate anymore. They seem to be the same agents and publishers all the time. And if you're jaded and crusty, what am I?

And yes, Canadians are awesome. And humble.

Diane: And then you get Germany, which didn't exist as a country until the late 1800s.

Lennon Faris said...

Congrats, OP! You've successfully conquered the big intangible that eludes so many writers, the Voice. Now on to the stuff that other people can help you fix!

I thought for sure 'howlfest' was going to be our next word.

*scrams*

Colin Smith said...

Elise: Chop 15 words from my 12:15pm comment, and there you have it! :) Sorry, I'm not going to attempt another Visigoth story, now that it might be one of the words for the 100th. I don't want to use up all my ideas before the event... although I fear I may have already! :\

Lisa Bodenheim said...

BJ: I'd forgotten there were 2 Galicias. My preference is Spain's-its dramatic landscape Bay, the beginning/ending of the Camino pilgrimage, and its Celtic history which connects it to Brittany in France, and to Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, and the Isles of Scotland in the U.K.

Julie: Aubergine as in eggplants? In the Hebridean Isles, they still refer to eggplants as aubergine.

Claire: Andorra is a nation. Just as Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Lesotho are also. But Diane has the right of it. Shifting boundaries power status, feudal societies, and definition of nations have not been constant through the centuries.

Diane: love the history diversion...

Colin Smith said...

Lisa: They're still aubergines in the UK, as far as I know. They were when I was there. :)

Julie Weathers said...

Lisa,

I referred to a dress a woman was wearing as aubergine as in the color. As they were always referred to as egplants here regardless of color, the beta reader pointed out that in 1860 in America, she probably would not have thought of it as aubergine.

It's a minor, but probably valid point.

Julie

Julie Weathers said...

Lisa and Colin,

Per Mary Randolph's 1824 cookbook about cooking eggplants, anyway. Eggplants are simply eggplants, even the aubergine or purple ones.

Julie

Julie Weathers said...

oohhhh!
Visigoths!
Aubergine!

*cackling madly*

---Oh dear

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thanks awfully, Julie. You are a brilliant writer, but you have overly encouraged our Queen into the most unseemly torments of us little bottom feeder, not quite brilliant writers.

Scapegrace? Why not pick something like pusillanimous and be done with it? That would finish me off.

*mutters off trying to think of words that end in "viso". *

Colin Smith said...

*Glares at Elise and her pusillanimous* >:\

Do you really want me to have to write about Mr. Aubergine Scapegrace and pus? REALLY?

;)

DLM said...

Elise, it's worse than you think - Visigoths just has the one O in it. SIGH!

(Janet, I apologize for spell-czeching anyone other than yourself, but I would not like to see EMG disqualified from the contest! Nobody wants to miss out on any of the contributions, which are sure to be a captivating collection, right?)

As cruel as Janet may be, it is Colin making me think twice about twisting my creativity around ANY of these words. Ya-oiks. Pus. Ew.

Okay, and I have WAY outstripped the three comment limit today. I apologize again.

DLM said...

But could we use singular - Visigoth, instead of Visigoths?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Well, crap. Can we substitute an o for that I? Diane? I am resigned to writing about Visogoths but Visigoths? I can't.

It's possible I have lost my mind and spell Czech keeps allowing that extra o for Visogoth. It screeches at me when I try Visigoth. How can I win a battle like this when even the spell Czech gods conspire against me?

And Colin, yes, yes I do want you to write about Aubergine Scapegrace and Pus as only you could.

Colin Smith said...

Elise: It may interest you to know that Visogoth (pronounced vize-o-goat) is a sort-of Carkoonian ruminant produced by cross-breeding wooly mammoths and saber-toothed sheep. As only Carkoonians could. Not recommended as pets. ;)

kathy joyce said...

Our Janet got a nice shout-out on twitter today from agent Brooks Sherman: "Best free resource/workshop on query-writing out there, in my opinion!"

*Looking for an obscure word for well-deserved, but they all relate to punishment.*

Well-deserved praise!

OP, congrats on the good work! (HINT: Don't say where you really live. Half the little scapegraces on this list will goth-up their faces, don black capes with aubergine lining, and flee Carkoon, pretending to visot you while stealing the pussytoes from your porch!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin Is that what those things are? Whew! I thought I was hallucinating when I saw a sheep devour two wolves and a pickle. You know you just can't be sure on Carkoon. Some of their mushrooms produce rather alarming side effects- new arms growing out of your side and rabid sheep you are meant to count as you trickle off into madness. Who knew the Visogoths were actual things?

Colin Smith said...

Which reminds me... Donna: Don't leave peanuts outside your Carkoonian domicile at night. Just... don't. :)

Steve Stubbs said...

Ms. Reid is right. If OP is getting full requests, the query works. It is the MS that is letting him/her down.

As for rehashing, her point is well taken, but rehashing is not necessarily a bad thing. Modern love stories originated, I believe, in France in the twelfth century with the troubadors (this is from memory, so I may be mistaken.) By the sixteenth century the genre had been beaten all to pieces by bad writers. So writers of new love stories had a problem.

One writer solved the problem by going way over the top with the romantic element. Romeo and Juliet is not romantic. It is WILDLY romantic. It is also still relevant after 400+ years.

All the stories have already been told for thousands of years. If it is true that there are only 36 dramatic plot situations, the creative challenge is not to invent plot situation #37. The challenge is to find something completely new to do with #1 through #36.

That said, can anyone tell me how to find beta readers. Also how to keep your intellectual property from being ripped off by some surly knave. Stephenie Meyer, the author with the most consistently misspelled name in publishing, had one of her novels published on line by a beta reader a few years ago, and in her case one MS was worth maybe $4,000,000, so this was not a minor loss. She tagged each copy by changing a word or a comma or something somewhere in the MS, so she knew whodunit.

I am probably the most critical critic I could find. Every time I look at my stuff I find something to improve. I have made minor revisions to my query letter at least 100 times. It probably glows in the dark by now, but I still find ways to improve it. Write your query first and you have a year or more to improve a single page before sending it to a cold and unsupportive world.

Beth said...

I used to regularly pass the turn-off to Earth, Texas, but I never took it. I've also never been to Mars, much less queried from there.

OP, sounds like you're getting close. Best of luck.

I agree about carefully choosing beta readers. I recently read a book with lovely descriptive writing, which I usually enjoy, but I kept wondering if it was ever going to pick up and tell me the story. Judging by the reviews, it's quite well-liked, so my suggestion to cut about a fourth of the words and pick up the pacing would have been poor advice.

RosannaM said...

Okay, which one of you guys do we blame for making Janet cackle?

My hair is coming out in clumps! And blood vessels are bursting in my eyes.

Yes, it is my hand making that happen. And the fork. In my hand.

Craig F said...

Mayhap I should have sent a query in the queen's direction.

The book that is the break between regular thrillers and speculative is set west of Geneva. Most of it occurs in the Jura Mountains, home of the Helveti Goths. It also has brief forays into the Provence area and up into Switzerland during the chase OF RESCUING FROST.

Janet Reid said...

oooh!!1
SCRAM!
I love the word scram.

Visigoth has such a singular meaning it's not a good choice for a contest although I'm sure you'd all divide it up into Veni Vedi Vis I goth or somthing.

And aubergine, the same.

But scram! Now that is a fine word!

The third word in Contest #100 is scram.

RosannaM said...

Pheww!

Julie Weathers said...

Steve

What are you looking for?

Miss Janet, stop torturing people. Yes, scram is a very nice word.



E.M. Goldsmith said...

Scram is less painful than Visigoth. Now about scapegrace...

Fine. Fine. Back to my lovely WIP.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I have nothing to add to this confabulation... Other than to say that I love the word scram. Way to go, Lennon!

Also, this one word at a time is so intriguing. YAY Janet

And! Am I the only person on the planet, either Earth or Mars, who can't stop pronouncing Greenwich as "Green Witch" in my head.

kdjames.com said...

Congrats on that request rate, OP! And on the compliments about voice. Luckily for you, story is easy to fix. Really. Piece of ca-- oh, who am I kidding. It's not easy, but it is at least possible, so get to work. Best of luck with it.

I remember watching Dark Shadows! I also remember my Bossy Older Sister putting approximately 50 curlers in my hair in an attempt to make me look like . . . Angelique? Was that her name? It wasn't one of her best ideas.

Y'know, speaking of ideas, I've been thinking. In honour of the 100th contest, maybe Janet should just go ahead and pick ALL 100 WORDS for us. "All" we'd have to do is put them in the right order. I mean, seeing as how she's so intent on torturing us mercilessly this time.

Is this a reaction to someone over at WD recently calling her nice or something similarly insulting? Do we need to have a word with them?

Lennon Faris said...

I figured no one would hear my comment from over here in Carkoon.

Melanie - thanks to your comment, I just learned how to pronounce something today.

DLM said...

Janet, SCRAM is definitely a good one. And thank you.

I actually did have a little fun trying anyway ...

Mavis, I go there.

"We're meeting at Trevi?" "si" "Got here just now"

The accident crushed my pelvis. I got HSN-addicted when I was on short-term disability; one too many nights up late and sleep deprived. I may or may not have been drunk.

Megan V said...

OT:

I hope that any Reiders in London (or Reider's loved ones) are safe and well. Thoughts are with those affected by the attack.

Beth said...

Melanie. You are not the only one.

Dena Pawling said...


Am I the only one who (1) is afraid to post a comment here without scrutinizing each word I type? and (2) not sure I'll enter the 100th contest, because I'm already too intimidated?

Just for fun, I looked up domain suffix .ka and found this article:

http://wiki.opengeofiction.net/wiki/index.php/List_of_country_code_top_level_domains

I echo that I hope our e-friends and loved ones, in London and everywhere, are safe.

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

Opie, fret now that your first book isn't absolutely and totally perfect. This is perfectly normal. I echo the value of beta readers to help you tighten its pores and pull up its socks.

Meanwhile, do not let the disappointment of this first book detain you from pitching the second. The flaws of the first book need not necessarily be echoed in the second, especially if those flaws are plot. The fact you have a beautiful voice will serve you well.

The first few books I wrote may never see daylight again, never mind an editor's desk. Sometimes writing a great novel takes some practice.

Put forth your second-born and see what happens. Meanwhile, work on your third.

Writing the next book truly is the only way we improve as novelists. As far as I can tell, you're on the right track. Don't get too hung up on the first. Your request rate is stunning IMO.

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

*blink*

I just realised, barring any lurking Planetary Scientists, I'm probably the foremost expert on Mars here on the blog. Also, I live GMT +0800, which is about as far away as you can get from NYC without leaving the planet.

Does this qualify me?

I've written lots (non-fic) about Mars, am currently writing about water on Mars, so here comes an open "Query me now, Martian!", and I don't have a ms ready. Thou art cruel, my queen. I might go curl up in a corner and cry into my oxidized regolith.

If liquid water exists on Mars, it most likely will be quite saline and underground--very much like the bitter tears of disappointed authors.

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

So I'm ticking the Captcha to post my previous post. It made me realise no currently known Martians will ever comment on this blog. Why?

You can only comment on this blog if you are not a robot.

Mars is currently the only known planet inhabited solely by robots.

(Opportunity's dreams of publication have been crushed already.)

AJ Blythe said...

Oh, dear. I fear Janet is having far too much fun freaking us out with the FF#100 words.

I've sadly had to skim the comments as it is late into the night, but I did find SCRAM. And the correct extension for Carkoon (.ka). Having learnt all I need I will sleep easy tonight.

See you all tomorrow for another day of torment.