Monday, January 04, 2010

word hooligans

I looked at those daunting stats for 2009 and realized I read a LOT of mss, maybe too many. Then I see Jennifer Jackson's (a fiercely talented agent and one of the Maass-keteers) blog post about her 2009 stats.

She read a LOT fewer than I did, and signed MORE clients. Harrumph!

Ok, I'm resolved: I'm holding firm; I'm toeing the line; I'm resolute. By GODIVA I will request LESS!

I brace myself at the e-query mailbox. I drape myself in righteousness. I hum a martial tune. I gird my - whatever you gird these days - for battle. I am READY.

I read a query. I read another. I say no with diligence. I march on, certain of my resolution, noble in my intent.

And then, from the tall grass, you pounce. You POUNCE! On ME!

Whatever girding there was falls to the wayside.

The martial tune breaks off.

My resolve isn't so much resolved as dissolved.

How am I supposed to resist good pages?? I ask you, how am I to fend off your siren song of prose.

I drape myself across the keyboard and feebly tap out: SEND FULL.

You pouncing prosers are word hooligans of the worst sort. You lie in wait for us unsuspecting readers. You disarm us with your stories, arrest us with your similes, defeat us with your diction.

You take no prisoners, you vanquish us with your verbiage.

I surrender.

It was a good resolution while it lasted-- about as long as it took to read this blog post.
I slink off to read.

You can buy the octopus I shamelessly stole.


Heidi Willis said...

This has to be one of my favorite blog posts of the new year. Fantastic!

Josin L. McQuein said...

Your problem is letting the octopus read the pages. They are notoriously soft and squishly; their backbone is almost non-existent. (Most would say they're spineless, but I don't want to anger the tenacled ones.)

To read less, you must put the shark in charge of all pages. Therefore, you're only responsible for the ones not mangled in his chompers.

Sharks - no arms.
Octopii/podes/poi - 8 arms.

8 arms will invariably hold onto more pages than no arms, so they will always put more pages on your desk.

Maryann Miller said...

How delightful. I can't wait until maybe you are writing this about my book.

Lucy said...

To quote a bagpipe-playing friend of mine:


Yes, friends do let friends play the bagpipes.

sherry stanfa-stanley said...

Resolutions are only for those who must acknowledge weaknesses. Open-mindedness and optimism? Those are strengths. Keep reading...

Steena Holmes said...

I knew you were lost the moment you said no ;)

Solvang Sherrie said...

What a lucky hooligan :)

That artwork is great! Now if only I had as many eyes to match the arms -- and maybe an extra brain to process it all!

thepopeofbeers said...


Also, that octopus is adorable.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Good writing, like chocolate, is hard to forswear. And I've only known one person to really, truly forswear chocolate (and that was because she liked it so much it was unhealthy).

I think you're supposed to gird your loins. I mean, more than usual. Or just gird any old-fashioned term for a body part.

Rachel said...


you HUM that martial tune, girl.

KatieDahl said...

I think part of the problem is that your readers learn all too well how to write good queries from a certain shark.

I think another part of the problem is that you can't bare the thought of not reading such-and-such a book. What if it happens to be awesome? You love your job, and I think that is great.

Simon C. Larter said...

I could be wrong, but I don't think the ACLU has taken any action against people who gird their loins, so I'm assuming you can still do that. Does that help, good lady?

Sarah Allen said...

Best of luck! Feel the shark! Be the shark! You are the shark!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Yamile said...

*shaking finger at you* you're not as fierce as you like to pretend...

lexcade said...

you are hilarious. i love your blog.

and i cannot imagine having to sit and sift through query after query the way you do. you, ms. reid, are a champion.

Erin Cabatingan said...

Excellent! I love your blogs, and this is just a fun post. Plus, it makes me feel better as a writer. Thanks for the laugh!

therese said...

LOL! I love you! You're a sucker for the potential of a good story!

I got a taste of this feeling yesterday. Recently, I sent an open invite to a writers group to feel free to run their query by me for my insights. Only one took the plunge and she has returned for more of my comments. In the first two rounds I trashed her title, lack of story, lack of details and more.

But with her last rework of her potential query, I blubbered with potential story points and at the end made comment that I'd probably want to read her completed inspirational memoir (not my thing!) in order to be able to help her more effectively.

I may kick myself - but I'm finally intrigued enough in her story I want to read it.

Thanks for admitting that - when something clicks - you just have to take the plunge. You read with hope that the author will deliver. I hope you get your wish.

Lydia Sharp said...

Best term ever: the Maass-keteers.
And your love of sea-dwelling critters just makes you all the more delightful, my dear.

Shelby said...

I want to read what you're reading.

Anonymous said...

Oh good - now I know who to query first. :)

You made me smile this morning - great start to the day.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Could it be that your often mentioned "slithery" parter in crime might smell the chum in the waters?

"While dolphins and sharks have been known to coexist peacefully, a dolphin can efficiently dispose of a shark" ;)

Laurel said...

Reid 'till you're cross-eyed ;)

Katt said...

ha ha, back attcha! I too had resolved. I would glance quickly through the blogs, spend less time there, more time writing... and then you wrote this, gave me a damned good laugh and here I am, writing a comment on a blog instead of a paragragh, in a chapter, in a book! Thanks, I love laughing.

Rebecca Knight said...

"You're a sucker for the potential of a good story!"

Commenters, it's too early in the morning for Octopus puns ;).

But seriously, that was delightful. May you be cursed (blessed?) with more wonderful pages this year than you know what to do with!

Kristi said...

Loved this today! Thanks for the post!

Darn myself for not having any finished product to send you quickly! **curses**

Happy reading!

Steve Stubbs said...

Gee I wish I could have been there when that girding fell by the wayside.

I always find out about these things when it is too late.