Sunday, February 28, 2016

WIR 2/28/16

Welcome to the week that was!

In last week's roundup, E.M. Goldsmith said
On the sub-header, funny story. I went to the Atlanta Writing Workshop yesterday where I met Penny Moore for 2nd time(she works at Fine Print with Janet). I happened to have drawn up business cards for the Slush Pile Cafe.

Well, if there's only one good reason for the week in review it's this: by the time Penny got back to the office on Thursday I'd forgotten to ask her about these cards! Writing the WIR prompted a quick email and I'll have them on Monday! Can't wait to see them, and of course, I'll post (probably on Facebook)

Lynn Rodz returned to the topic of exclusives here:
I'm at the airport so this will be short and sweet. Janet, you say exclusives are a no-no, but I would be afraid to say no to an agent who is interested in my work, more so if no other nibbles have come in. I would find it easier to say, "No, I'm sorry, on Janet Reid's blog she advices against it." Would that be wrong to say?
Well, yes. You really want to say "I'm not able to offer an exclusive but I'm glad to send this to you."  And even if someone else isn't looking at the ms, you're still not able to offer an exclusive because someone else could ask to see it tomorrow, and you don't want to have to say no.

On Monday we had two versions of the results post (prelim and final) because I was having a hard time picking the winner.

Amanda Capper rebelled:
Oh you don't. No shoving it off on us. These 100 words killers are your idea, you pick.

Lochlan Sudarsharn noticed:
I didn't realize until now that you'd snuck one by me with the prompt words. Tray sure. Treasure. You got me
Ha! I love it when I sneak one by you guyz! Picking good prompt words is more of an art than I realized when we first started. Having failed you utterly with "diddy" I am now determined to have words that are fun, but also flexible. Thus: treasure with but one really useful meaning is not as attractive as "tray" and "sure" which can be used in multiple ways.

Laura Mary wondered why luciakaku's entry wasn't a story.
Here's the entry:
When I was five, my parents called me “princess,” and I thought I could be anything.

When I was ten, I stole my mother’s makeup because I wanted to be pretty, too.

When I was fifteen, I wore tank tops to school and got detention because my chest was “distracting.”

When I was twenty, I was pressured out of shop class because I wasn’t strong enough to be a smith.

Now I’m twenty-five, my boss hands me a tray--“Get to work, princess.”--and I know I’m nothing.

Of course this is good writing so I looked at it very carefully. I like the rhythm of it. I like the progression. I love the open and close "princess" lines.  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.)

The entries that are "not quite a story" are usually very very good writing and it just kills me to see that lack of twist. This one is a perfect example of that.

Sara Halle was finally selected from among the nine finalists. She earned a copy of Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye.

And after a quick comment exchange between me and  Colin Smith  (cor blimey mate!) when Colin suggested some sort of something (AGAIN!) that called up eviction to Carkoon,  John Frain said of my comment:
Not only is that a classic sendoff to Carkoon ... it's also 98 words!
Janet Reid, send me your address and what you like to read and I'll send you my manuscript. I mean, a book.
Which just cracked me up completely.

And I liked how kdjames listed her progression in these contests for Jason (who was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the array of talent)
Jason, I'll echo what others have said. When I first worked up the nerve to enter these contests, I was lucky if I could write a SCENE in 100 words. If I was really lucky, it was a scene that made sense. I got all sorts of "not a story" comments. Or sometimes a "nice line" comment. But I kept reading and paying attention to comments and, here's the key: I kept trying. Sometimes now I end up on a list as a finalist and it's a great feeling. But the big payoff for me is to see how I've improved, both my ability to tell a complete story (not quite, this week) and the art of being more concise (not quite, this comment). Keep trying, you'll improve too.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said:
Much what makes these stories work is what the reader brings to the tale. If I wasn't familiar with the myth of a werewolf, I would not have gotten the significance of the phases of the Moon, just as I didn't get the connection of the Mayor's tab until someone enlightened me with the smoking laws of New York City.

It's not that the info is missing from the story; the clues are there, if the reader knows how to interpret them. That is the difference between missing info and subtle info, and a mark of the mastery of the craft.

"what the reader brings to the tale" varies with the reader of course, which is why there are knock down drag out fights these days about what should be included in The Canon (ie the books everyone should read to be considered educated.)  I always think of those books as the ones you have to read to get the jokes.
So yes, I had to look up Benelli (sorry Craig!) but I wouldn't have to look up St. Mary Meade, or google "coffee swilling drifter" to understand the references being made.

On Tuesday I was perturbed by a querier who told me she thought the query process was backwards, and wrote a post about why she was not only incorrect, but unlikely to accomplish her goals by saying so.

I will tell you up front that the title of that blog post was Do the Fucking Math for about three days. Then I realized the symbols were funnier, and more appropriate so I changed it. Yes, I revise these blog posts like you revise your work.

frenchsojourn said
s/he should just have sent you the title of the m/s.

Can't you just imagine!?!?  "Dear Querier: I choose projects based solely on the title. You're welcome to query again when you think of a better one."
In other words you had me at CARKOON.

Laura Mary said:
I can partially see a (misunderstood) point here - the fear that an agent could pass on a crappy query, where the pages and the MS were excellent.
I understand that a lot of people think there can be an excellent ms and a crappy query, but in my experience that never happens. Someone who has a good manuscript (ie well written) has a well written query. If you write well, it shows in all your writing. You may have some problems in your query with what you're saying or not, but the writing is good.   That's as universal a truth as I know after a lot of years reading not just queries, but blog posts, flash fiction, and writing conference contest entries. 

And Laura Mary asked further
Do the majority of agents read pages anyway? Or do I really only have that short pitch to hook them?
Yes, no.  Unless there's a huge problem in the query "it's a western written in haiku, 240K words" I glance at the first couple pages. If there's promise there, I flag the query and set it aside to read when I'm not skimming.  I'd say 20-30% of my queries end up being flagged for closer reading. I don't know if  other agents do this.

And Amen Sister to Claire for this:
Even if you privately think the query process should work differently, it takes a special kind of self-destructive hubris to destroy your chances of getting representation quite so effectively. Nobody likes being schooled in their job by someone who's not even in the field.

And Stephen Kozeniewski wins the Coffee Out The Schnozz Award this morning for:
I don't understand. Why don't you just read the entire manuscript? That's the only way you can really tell if the query's any good or not.

And honest to god, I wish I'd had this from Elissa M when I replied to that query cause she said it PERFECTLY:
I wonder how many writers go into a book store, pick up every book in the store and read the first three chapters of each before deciding which to purchase?
Yeah, I thought so.

Hungry Bob has a good point here:
Personally I get exhausted with the querying process because it feels like it's my query writing ability that's on trial, not my writing or storytelling ability, especially when so many agents admit they don't touch writing samples if the query isn't full of wow and pizazz.

Then you read stories like the one on this very blog where a writer had a "phenomenal response" to their query letters, which must mean they have a great novel, right? But then they had a 100% rejection rate based on writing samples, which makes it look like getting requests (which are obviously required to go forward) is based on how well you write a query and little else. Writing and storytelling? Unimportant if you can't write a query.

That said, using a query letter to complain about... the query letter is probably not time well spent.

What you're describing here (good query, bad first pages) happens a lot. When I help writers work on their queries at conferences, I'll often ask to see those first few pages and most (if not all) of the time, the pages need a ferocious amount of work.  They start in the wrong place (weather, driving, sleeping, a prologue set 1500 years earlier)  or they spend too much time moving their characters around.
One of the things you'll see on QueryShark a lot is "apply what you've learned here to your novel."
It's absolutely true that you can have a great query and a novel that isn't ready for publication. I see it more than I can tell you.

Lennon Faris said:
I'm bummed I had to skim through some of the comments for now, but this is how I think of it: A query letter is like a first date. Or maybe even earlier: when you have that initial conversation. Sure, you won't get the whole person in those few minutes. But a gal can almost always say, right then, if she MIGHT be interested.

Can you imagine a first date with the mindset of the original querier?
"Hi, I'm interested in marrying and having children, so let's have sex now to see if we're compatible."
Now that I think about it, I have gone on dates like that. And the less said about those, the better.

Brigid asked:
Does that hold true if the book is a short story collection? Fiction, but not a novel!
Yes. This is your debut work of fiction.

Kate Larkindale asked:
Could you still be a debut novelist if you've had a novel published already, by a small e-book only press that has since closed, so the book is no longer available (except on pirate sites, but that's a whole 'nother story)? I guess not... even if the book only sold a handful of copies.
No. You're a debut novelist once.

Janice Grinyer asked:
If I query a non-fiction (memoir) book proposal, How long should it be before I contact the same agent with a novel query if they represent both? Or are they two different beasts and an Agent who turns down a non-fiction may be willing to look at the fiction, if the writing is where it should be?
Not instantly as in "hey you said no to that, but how about this" kind of thing but I don't think you have to wait longer than a couple days. Two very different projects like that shouldn't be a problem. It's two novels that I'm less eager to hear about in close proximity.

Completely but wonderfully off topic Dena Pawling mentioned The Stolen Shark Tooth

And I wondered what the rest of that story was. So I googled but still got no sense of why someone wanted to steal this shark tooth.
We may need a flash fiction contest to get to the bottom of this!
We'll need two other words to round out the list! Any suggestions?

John Frain asked:
I just read a Writer's Digest article last night that proclaimed (among other things) never mention in a query that this is your first novel.

I know, I know: no reference, it didn't happen. I'm off to find it.

But this strikes me: If I'm querying an agent and don't mention previous titles, can I be anything but a debut novelist? Or do people try to sneak some poorly sold self-pubbed books past agents?

That's interesting, but not really very good, advice. I assume it's a debut unless the author tells me otherwise, but yes, I have been gobsmacked to find five (self) published novels on Amazon that weren't mentioned in the query. Or this actual novel on Amazon and also not a word about that in the query.
And yes, authors do that. Just exactly often enough that I now google every author I'm interested in. So, not at the query stage, but definitely at the requested full stage.
And it's kind of amazing what google reveals!

And CarolynnWith2ns has provided me with my new form reply to query writers who have odd ideas about comp titles (particularly titles by authors I represent)
Madonna and me, we're a lot alike.
She sings, I listen.
At over 50 she did cartwheels in high heels during a Super bowl halftime years ago, I watched the game.
She's famous, I have lots of 'fan'.
She sang "Like a Virgin" I was one.
Yup, me and my bud, Madonna.
Now lets talk about what I have in common with the other Madonna, Mary, mother of ....

On Thursday we talked about whether it would create problems if a more junior agent chose a project that a senior agent (at the same agency) had rejected.

luciakaku said;
More on topic, I do kind of prefer for myself a more junior agent at a good firm, surrounded by experienced agents. In fact, Brooks Sherman is near the top of my list of (eventual) query targets for this very reason.

This prompts me to remind you that people who used to be junior don't stay that way. Some of them don't stay that way very long at all. Brooks is such an agent.
Sure he started out sitting six feet from my right hand (what I call thwacking distance) but he has proven himself immensely capable and been enormously successful. I would not consider him a junior agent in any way these days.
And if you want visual proof of why that is, well, here ya go.

Sure he hasn't been in the biz as long as some older sharks, but I consider Brooks a colleague, certainly NOT a junior one.

LynnRodz picked up on the comments about rejection and said:
That's why I think it would be hard to just get a no. We don't know if the rejection was for the reasons you've stated and there's no need to go back and change/edit something. Or if the reason was because the ms wasn't up to par.

It would be nice if there was a form rejection for all agents that had a few boxes where they could check off their reason(s) for saying no.

- Ms is good, but I have a similar one.
- Ms is good, but not my strong category.
- Ms isn't there yet, too much work needed.

The problem with replying with anything other than a form rejection is that it invites (or seems to) conversation.  Once it's a no, it's a no, but it's impossible for writers not to ask "can you tell me just one more thing here."

And honestly, this isn't something I want to spend any time on at all. My job isn't coaching. It's selling.

Donnaeve asked:
ON TOPIC: "3. I've just signed a new client and I'm hesitant to take on more work just now (that happens a lot)"

That brings a question to mind for QOTKU. The first thing I thought when I read #3 was, wouldn't you close to queries for a while if the work load was getting beyond your comfort zone? And then I thought, maybe she doesn't b/c its possible someone will send her THE MS she's been waiting for. (?)

Closing to queries is more of a pain in the asterisk than not if the time period is less than a year. I've tried it a couple times and unless I'm just overwhelmed, I won't do it again.  And "not wanting to take on more work at present" is farther down the busy line than "overwhelmed."

CarolynnWith2Ns said:
A part of me still believes that agents keep little black books with lists of authors they rejected, authors who wrote lame queries and authors who acted pissy when rejected. And, agents within an agency would pass around their little nincompoop books, while drinking cool beverages and eating pretzels, and talk about how lame they perceive us to be.
So to hear from the sharks gullet that perhaps this may not be true gives me hope.

I do keep a list but not of authors I reject, or who write lame queries, or even those who are pissy. My list is of people who scare me; people who send fake queries to QueryShark; people who've queried the same project too many times. And it's color-coded on my data base, not a little black book.
I don't think any of you need to worry about ending up in it.

And then it was Friday, and it's the flash fiction contest. Results will be posted on Monday…we hope.

Subheader noms
"Query widely and prosper my friends." --Craig


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Wow, mentioned twice.
I'm going to Walgreens and buy me some teeny-tiny gold stars, make me a chart, and paste'em on.

When I was a kid I always wanted a star-chart, for drinking my milk, doing the dishes, folding laundry, getting A's and keeping my room clean.
No Oreos, no milk.
Laundry basket storage.
Flunked algebra.
I was a teenage slob.

Diet soda.
Dryer storage.
WTF is algebra anyway.
I am a gold-star commenter.

Great WIR. God I love this place.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

BTW I read the PW piece mentioning the fantabulous "BS" Brooks Sherman. No junior him, for sure. This is the stuff of dreams my friends, and of hard work, but most definitely, the stuff of dreams.

Theresa said...

Back-to-back pop culture inspired subheaders--what a great blog!

The WIR was excellent as always, and came as a welcome break from the stack of blue books I'm making my way through this morning.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Does anybody else feel the pernicious desire to write a Western in haiku now?

(though not 240k worth of it, Christ have mercy)

(also, just ordered a copy of the Rite of Exorcism. Story research, natch. I honestly don't know how I went this long without having a copy)

Brooks Sherman is a rock star, that is a fact. And really, there are a number of great folks (agents and writers and "other") I wouldn't have heard of, but for Janet (Laird Barron, Jeff Somers, my fellow Reiders), or at least wouldn't have learned about as "early" as I did.

Looking forward to the Flash Fiction results, looks like there were a lot of great entries!

Also, er, the anthology I'm in is available for Kindle preorder, paper to follow. I'm in the table of contents and everything! I blogged about it, with links, so I don't overdo it on the self promotion here.

Steve Stubbs said...

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.

Lennon Faris said...

Wait... The Shark finds some people scary? That's terrifying. They must have some REALLY big teeth.

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!

Lynn - as impossible as that check-box feedback (understandably) seems to be, I also wish agents would do that. *sigh* :)

Thanks so much for the WIR, Janet! I do love Craig's subheader.

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.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Janet, for taking the time to tell us your criteria for what is and is not a story. It's so hard to work it all into the 100-word limit, so it's good to know what we're shooting for. As one of the beginners in the flash-fiction master class you have going here, I feel like I did back when I learned to drive on a stick shift: Brake, no, CLUTCH and brake, shift, gas, no, dammit, CLUTCH and gas... I have faith it will all come together at some point. And then there are those people each round who just nail it, making it look easy, which is the hardest thing of all.

I'm not surprised that there is only the one subheader nomination this time around. It's so perfect. Just saying the words makes me feel more logical!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Great WIR again. I love the not quite a story explanation. Very useful. And I am a little tempted to write a western in haiku. This blog has the oddest side effects.

Dena Pawling said...

hmmmmmm, the lawyer was reprimanded by the NC state bar. Lawyer probably isn't a good prompt word, but bar would give some interesting story possibilities. Also, she threw the tooth into the bushes. How about bush for the fifth word?

Brooks Sherman definitely doesn't seem like a “junior agent” to me. Congrats to him! All that thwacking apparently did some good =)

Craig's subheader is awesome.

Hope everyone has a great week. It's MARCH already!

Megan V said...

@Dena It ain't March yet! Happy Leap Year!

But anywho. WooHoo WIR!

Don't look at me for prompt words inspired by a crime, I deal with too much crime as it is!

Claire said...

Huzzah, my first mention in the WIR! I've arrived.

Jennifer, congrats on the anthology publication! Exciting times.

Julie Weathers said...

What a great WIR. I am still battling respiratory infections. It's bad when your sinuses and lungs are attacking you with germ warfare.

"Dear Querier: I choose projects based solely on the title. You're welcome to query again when you think of a better one."--

This made me laugh. Fussing about titles drives me to distraction. ,i>Dancing Horses, The Rain Crow, and Cowgirls Wanted are the only ones I've liked. Well, There's A Moose On The Loose wasn't bad. The others are so bad. Ugh. James Lee Burke usually catches me with his titles. In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead is one of my favorites.

I confess I'm one of those shallow readers who's drawn to good titles and covers. I'm also one of those readers who picks up a book and reads extensively inside before making a purchase if it's a novel and it's an author I don't know. Don't feed me great first pages and then disappoint me on the 103rd page with crappy writing.

"They start in the wrong place (weather,"

Oh, dear. I done screwed up again. Oh, well. Hemingway wrote 39 endings to For Whom The Bell Tolls. I only have a ways to go.

Completely but wonderfully off topic Dena Pawling mentioned The Stolen Shark Tooth--

While I think that story is wonderful, why couldn't she have stolen shark poop? It's so much more interesting.

As always, thank you for sifting through the wheat and the chaff and presenting us the homemade biscuits.

Kregger said...

Dear Ms. Reid,
I'll add:
megalodon, necklace
for flash fiction.

I'm not sure if I'm more interested in the scary dating stories or the fake queries on QS.


E.M. Goldsmith said...

On stolen shark tooth FF prompts - bigger and boat seem like obvious choices for other two words.

"We're going to need a bigger boat". Jaws really is a great movie. Not a bad book either.

Cindy C said...

I'm on a similar thought process as E.M. Goldsmith for the 4th and 5th words to go with stolen shark tooth. I was more on the sequel though--safe and water.

Thanks for another great WIR.

Beth H. said...

I am intrigued by the fake queries sent to QueryShark. I can't begin to imagine why one would do that. And apparently it happens enough to require a list? Yikes.

Sara Halle said...

Janet, I got my copy of Jane Steele yesterday, thank you!
I'm loving the book so far -- and if anyone is intrigued by the idea of a heroine whose response to Jane Eyre-style tribulations is to become a serial killer, I think you'd enjoy it as well!

Susan said...

Great WIR! I've been diligently working my way through the WIP this week. 30K words down, 20K+ to go. This is when the writing becomes work for me--in the drafting stage, trying to figure out how to make what's in my head translate to the page. I have the outline of the book finished--the scene beats or skeleton and some meat and muscle--but now it's filling in all those pesky pieces.


Sometimes I miss the days when writing seemed easy.

Julie: what I wouldn't give to read all 39 endings to that book. I love reading how and why authors come to their decisions and creative-making process. It's always interesting to see how the classics could have ended up differently.

Have a great week everyone!

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

This week I had an agent say to to a query&pp I pitched to her. She was kind enough to tell me why she turned it down; her list is pretty much full and she's got to be ultra-selective about who she takes on. But she also said she fully expected another agent to take me on because she thought my query and pages were that good.

I hope she is right, though I will miss querying her in the future, as she's always had nice things to say to me.

This was a very good example of an agent turning down perfectly good work for a perfectly good reason.

Love Craig's nom. yIn DatiQ 'ej bIchep.

Julie Weathers said...


Julie: what I wouldn't give to read all 39 endings to that book. I love reading how and why authors come to their decisions and creative-making process. It's always interesting to see how the classics could have ended up differently.--

Isn't that the truth?

Unfortunately, Hemingway for all his bluster, was kind of a mystery. I'm reading a book about him called The True Gen where the author went to some great pains to unearth the true gen, which Hemingway did not think would be be done when he was dead. It would have been nice if he'd left a truer trail behind. He says he wrote A Farewell To Arms 50 times. It would be interesting to see it morphing.

Panda in Chief said...

Back to the Reider (sorry, can't back to that window to see who this was) who wished there was some kind of response form for why you got rejected, there actually is something that works a little bit the same way. Not in giving specific feedback, but in letting you know how far off base/not ready your query is.
NORMAN: they didn't connect; forget it.
Form letter rejection: they didn't connect/ not for them for some unspecified reason
Personal greeting and mention of your WIP by name rejection: you showed up on their radar/ they think you may have promise. Put them on your list of agents to query w/ next project, if you don't find an agent for this WIP, keep querying other agents.
Personal greeting, mention of WIP, positive remark about some aspect of WIP and comments to keep querying, and other hopeful words: they liked what you're doing. Put them on your list for re-querying with new WIP, but find more agents and keep querying.

Thanks for another great WIR. :-)

Craig F said...

Thank you muchly for the WIR and the subheader nom.

Sorry I called you out on googling Benelli. It shocked me because you are my Queen and therefore omnipotent and also one of the premiere Thriller Agents in the world. It shocked me so much that I misspelled breach in that post.

My Bright Idea (or one way ticket back to Carkoon):

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.

If it is a bad idea I will blame exhaustion. It was a river rescue day for me. Three college freshmen decided to paddle the Seventeen Rivers Run. It would not have been so bad if they had something other than two cases of beer in their cooler. I think they started earlier on the beer. They said they didn't see the "Abandon All Hope All ye Who Enter Here" sign. At least it wasn't mosquito season.

Anonymous said...

Oh, college freshmen are indeed an endangered species. Craig, on behalf of all parents with kids who somehow survived that age, thank you for rescuing them. You're a hero.

I missed that shark tooth story the first time. What was that woman thinking? You don't just take stuff from a museum. Geez. It also reminded me it's been way too long since I made the relatively short drive to the NC beaches. There was a time, when the kids were little, I swore if I never saw a beach again it would be too soon. Surprised now to be missing it...

Another great recap of the week, Janet. Thank you for that, and for the mention.

Donnaeve said...

Thank you for the lovely WIR! What a lovely graph on how you *might* manage that query load. Sheesh. The fun never ends, right?

Love Craig's sub-header.

FF two more words suggestion. Hook and wet. Or what E.M. said.

Donnaeve said...

Stuck on love. Wish I could blame it on beer, but it's been a long day!

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

Hooray! I shall have it bronzed.

LynnRodz said...

Great WIR and is it any wonder that Brooks is doing so well, he learned from the best.

And thank you, Janet, for addressing my questions. You were probably thinking as I was that a little more time with my mum wouldn't have been a bad idea. Lol.

Lennon, we can always imagine. (I know, I know, I had to go there.)

Panda, I was the Reider you were talking about. As someone who has written all my life (short stories, novels, screenplays, and poems) I've never thought any of them were good enough to query until now. And because I haven't started on that part of the journey yet, I find your comment quite helpful and made note of it. Thanks.

I have to go with Dena's suggestions of (bar and bush/es) as well. Or else madeleines! Mmm, I think I'll have some for breakfast tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

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.

That being said, I highly respect your opinion, and I'm super flattered by what you said about my writing. I shall continue to try, and don't see not winning in these contests as any kind of failure--the competition is so steep!

Also, to clarify what I meant about Brooks, he's not a Goliath such as yourself, thus is much less intimidating. Plus, his children's list FAR exceeds his adult list, from what research I've done so far, and I'm not by any means a children's author. Which is why I labeled him as such. It wasn't meant to be any kind of knock on his ability or career.

Janice Grinyer said...

Thank you, Janet, for once again pointing out highlights of your past week's posts for us!And thank you also for answering my question - appreciate it!

Agreed; Craigs line was born to be that sub-header; no other will do this week :D

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

Why Benelli worked for me (once I googled it):

Benelli is a brand of motorcycle and a brand of firearm. Once I learned that, the story took on several layers of meaning, almost as if I was reading it in a few parallel dimensions.

I liked that effect. Dunno if I'd be able to reproduce it.

Craig F said...

Thank you KD but there are no heroes in my tree. Being a hero is something instinctual may somewhat intuitive. I have failed too many times to be a hero. Where I am now is as someone extremely competent in several environments. Those can at the cost of hard experience. I didn't become a first responder until after a good friend died. He finished a surfski race took three steps up the beach collapsed and dies. I also didn't do enough when that first wife got primary custody of my son. It is too late for that now.

Panda in Chief said...

Thanks Lynne for reminding me who made the remark. And I didn't make that up. I read it in some interview with an agent. Anytime you get a personal response, you should give yourself a pat on the back. It means you are on the right track, and as Janet says, there are many reasons an agent might not take you on and only some of them have to do with not being good enough. They are way too busy to be gratuitously kind, so if they say something encouraging, they mean it.

Thanks again for a good week in review!