Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Answer is Meatloaf

In your blog, you briefly touch on the topic of overdone subjects/storylines, and as a reader, I can completely agree that just because you call a chocolate cake 'better than sex cake' does not change the fact that it is still simply a chocolate cake with whipped cream topping. Regardless of the name, it will still taste the same. Now, as a writer, my thoughts on the subject are slightly different.

My question is: If, like myself, a writer finds their 'genius' pointing them in the direction of a redundant topic, *cough* werewolf, how can they be sure that their story is original enough to stand out? Also, as a literary agent if you were to read a query for a story, such as my own, would you automatically stop reading it the moment you realized what it was?
Best Regards,
Unprocessed Chum  

You've certainly given the right example. When my urban fantasy colleagues howl about shopworn topics, werewolves and vampires lead the list. It's very hard to get their attention for novels with either.

When you elect to enter the world of trade publishing, you've essentially signed up for people to ask "why should I pay for this book." It's not enough that it's good, or a good story, it has to stand out from books they already own or have read.

I like to think of this the way I think of meatloaf.

I really like meatloaf. I make it using the recipe on the back of the Quaker Oats box. I may change a few things, but it's essentially the same as what millions of other meatloaf lovers are making.

Were I to open the Shark Cafe (ie enter the world of trade cooking) and serve meatloaf, how would I personalize it so that a customer bellying up to the counter and ordering meatloaf would not say "hey, this is exactly like the recipe on the Quaker Oats box!"

Even though I like that recipe a lot, I need to personalize it to make it my own.

And that's what you have to do with werewolves and vampires, and alcoholic ex-detectives, or soon to be ex-detectives, or down and out lawyers, or sinister billionaires plotting world domination, or any of the other characters that have been around a long time.

A great example of putting your own spin on both werewolves and vampires is Dana Cameron's Fangoborn series. This started out as the short story The Night Things Changed (nominated for an Edgar!)

Charlaine Harris and Stephanie Meyer both added their own individual twist to paranormal tropes to make them distinct.

The answer to your question of how to be sure your query is original enough to stand out is two-fold: first you've got to be so well-read in the genre that you know what everyone else is doing. Second: you have to show me you're different by what you write in your query.  Just say "werewolves and vampires" and we're done.  Say "werewolves and vampires are all part of the Fangborn family" and you've intrigued me to read more.

As for when I stop reading: if the writing entices me, I keep reading. There are lots of very good books that described simply in terms of their "ingredients" wouldn't sound all that special, but the writing livens things up a lot. In other words, give me a forkful of meatloaf, not the recipe.


Colin Smith said...

As far as you know, Mighty Shark, is your perspective fairly universal among agents--i.e., most agents will look to the writing and the originality of the story, and not simply form reject the moment they see "werewolf" or "vampire"?

As for meatloaf, my wife makes a killer vegetarian meatloaf. I guess you would call it "meat"loaf... or maybe meetloaf, or meteloaf. :)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

You put oats in your meatloaf?

Though funny story about back-of-the-box recipes: when my dad was still dating my stepmother, she came to Donohue Family Thanksgiving. The side they were in charge of was the cranberry sauce, made fresh with the traditional family recipe, of course. So they did the shopping, and had all the stuff in the kitchen, and she was like "okay, so where's the secret recipe? Do you just know it?" and he said "nah, turn over the cranberry bag." I'm not sure she ever forgave him for that. Other Donohue Family Recipes include the French Onion Dip on the back of the dried French Onion soup mix, and the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the Toll House bag.

Thinking of story in term of ingredients, though, is a good and interesting way. Just lately, I had a brief writing workshop with a local, Brent Delanoy, and he used "inventory" as a term and strategy, meaning the literal things in your story. And because I'm a recipe tweaker, I took "inventory" to also mean larger ideas/ideals, if it's a story that has that kind of a thing (protip: my stories, however small, do tend to have that kind of a thing). Like OP, I also have a werewolf novel, book 1 of what is I intend as a trilogy (which is going to be heavily revised at some point. I was asked once or twice if the main character's youngish age was important, and it was, but falsely. Years later, I have the fix.) My ingredients are things like canine body language, moonshine, and metal bands. It'll get to readers some day, I'm sure. We'll just have to see by what means.

Kitty said...

Here's the Quaker Oats meatloaf recipe.

Ann Landers was always being asked for her meatloaf recipe.

Nora Ephron said she used food to define characters. Here's Nora Ephron’s Fancy Meatloaf.

Kitty said...

Btw, in Nora Ephron's book, "I Remember Nothing," is a chapter called My Life as a Meat Loaf.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Werewolves and vampires would be all about her Majesty's meatloaf recipe especially if she added a bit of chum to the ingredients.

When I first came out as a fantasy writer, everyone asked me if there were vampires in my series. No. There are not. Werewolves? Not really. They would then be dismissive. Now they seem relieved. Trends change.

I was done with Vampires after Stephen King and Anne Rice. Or so I thought because who could possibly do vampires better? Every story has been told so no matter how original you think you are, it is the writing.

I loved The Witcher series (originally published in Dutch I believe) which involves a delicious different take on vampires and werewolves. It's the writing. I honestly disliked the Twilight Series. Not my taste at all. So beyond the writing, in terms of query trenches, it is also a matter of sparking the right note with the right agent. Your vegetarian kale farmer vampire or cat obsessed werewolf may get a lot of passes but if the writing is good and the story pointy, eventually it will get a bite. It will just be a tougher haul.

I am curious about Colin's wife's meatless loaf. How does that work? I am starting to tolerate black bean veggie burgers but that involves a lot of beer.

Just Jan said...

I think the title of this blog post says it all. I don't bother with meatloaf, the recipe. But Meatloaf the musician? Now that's another story!

Colin Smith said...

Elise: When my wife enters the kitchen, I don't know what kind of alchemy she does, but what she comes out with is incredible. I'm sure there are eggs, bread, tomato sauce of some kind, and veggie meatless crumbles like THESE. Beyond that, I have no idea. But whatever supernatural power she possesses in the food department, she has certainly passed that down to my oldest children. FirstBorn makes amazing sauces, cakes, and pastries, and SecondBorn is a wiz when it comes to Asian dishes.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Donnaeve said...

This should be the Woodland Critters mantra. "It's all about the writing, the writing, the writing."

"...if the writing entices me, I keep reading." I swear I think just about every question asked here - with the exception of contracts, proper writer/agent etiquette, agency stuff, etc., can be answered simply with "the writing."

Having said that, and a bit OT: If someone who writes about werewolves or vampires wants to take this idea and run with it, I think this would be a unique twist - if the writing propped it up enough to catch an agent's attention. I don't think I've ever heard of a coming of age story about a reluctant werewolf. Or maybe a coming of age story about a young vampire - say he/she's around ten - who hates blood like some of you hate lima beans. Then again, I don't read this sort of thing so, maybe it's been done.

Steve Forti said...

Today I learned there is a meatloaf recipe on the back of the oatmeal container. Huh. I've always just found the oatmeal cookie recipe (which is 100 times better if you use chocolate chips instead of raisins, of course). Then again, maybe it's because I'm cheap and buy the store brand.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Meatloaf is good. But oatmeal cookies are better. But they have to have chocolate chips. No raisins. I like raisins as a healthy snack but don't taint my cookies with 'em.

Columns like this give me hope. Write the best story you can. Give it a frewsh voice. Well, not that that's easy...

Leah B said...

I Would Do Anything For Love was on vh1 every morning before school and it was all right, but Life is a Lemon was my "rebel" self's jam. Meat Loaf is awesome.

Oh, you said meatloaf. In that case ... KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Theresa said...

Just Jan, I immediately thought of the musician Meatloaf, too.

My mother-in-law's meatloaf recipe is about equal parts meat and oatmeal. It doesn't hold up well.

I like this recipe metaphor. We're all trying to find out what works.

Day 4 of Write by the Lake looms.

Celia Reaves said...

Years ago, when I was first thinking about writing a textbook, a speaker at a conference said that before beginning a textbook writing project you have to ask yourself what he called the Passover question: What makes this book different from all other books? (For those who don't know, in the tradition of the Passover seder there is a series of questions to be asked by the youngest present, and the first of these is this: What makes this night different from all other nights?)

Good advice. A werewolf book can work, even in today's market, if you have a solid answer to that question. (And, of course, if the writing lives up to the promise.)

RachelErin said...

I nominate "give me forkful of meatloaf, not the recipe" as the subheader - a really useful analogy, especially for queries. In a well-made sample, you can still taste all the ingredients (sage instead of parsley, for example), but it's must more exciting to find them in your mouth then to read a list.

I have a moderately twisted trope in my WIP, but it comes near the half/three-quarter mark, and I'm worried readers (and agents) will assume that it's the same old trope and put it down. Still brainstorming how to turn the twist tighter, to the storyline kinks farther up.

Anyone else have examples from their work?

DLM said...

Leah: hee. That's no threat, though, of course. They COOK that stuff with fire.

Y'all can have meatloaf. I will take all the kale.

By the way, am I the only person who adores the signature line our OP used? Unprocessed Chum would make a GREAT name for a band ...

I like THIS for a header:

When you elect to enter the world of trade publishing, you've essentially signed up for people to ask "why should I pay for this book."

Per Janet's point: I dated a guy once - ahh, he should have been so perfect. He was a published author! He was all sensitive and shit. He was into me. But he was way, waaaaayyyy too into me. He was uber-quick to bring his sons into the mix. He would get gooey and wistful about what kind of TV we'd have when we lived together. My DAD made a little fun of this guy. My dad made fun of nobody, ever. But: yeah.

We dated 4 months, and it was 4 months too long. I dumped him the day after I helped him apply his Buffy the Vampire Slayer official vampire makeup, made from the same moulds they used on the show. A month later, I met the guy who's ruined me for All the Boys ever since. I don't care HOW he looks on paper; where it counts, he is so perfect.

It's the where-it-counts that counts.

DeadSpiderEye said...

There's been an interesting development at my local library, they introduced spinner racks for genres. It's fantastic, tripping through romance and western titles is real trip down memory lane. Unfortunately no Mickey Spillane, I expect they've all been stolen.

This particular post is quite illuminating, it demonstrates the divergence in the level of genre fatigue between the shelf space and genre markets. Can you imagine a pulp romance publisher coming out with something like: 'Oh no, not another awkward misunderstood heroine, who continually makes a fool of herself!'. The current rationalised market doesn't serve genre work well; yeah they can accommodate a few authors begrudgingly squeezed onto the alphabetically arranged shelves or in the increasing sombre looking fantasy/sf, crime sections. The thing is though, they don't understand genres, neither the sales potential nor appropriate marketing methods and they never will.

Where there's an appetite for it, there's nothing wrong with no. 102 in The Werewolf Chronicles but when you try to sell a genre work to a publisher with a broad catalogue, they don't see the nuance, they just see yet another Vampire/Werewolf novel

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ice water is ice water is ice water until you add lemon and sugar. Love it.
Add a lima bean...

Emily Cross said...

Great advice - especially for those of us who write UF/PR etc. :)

julieweathers said...

Huh, someone uses a recipe for meatloaf. I sometimes get on kicks where I watch cooking shows. Meatloaf made "properly" is quite a feat. You need a certain mix of different meats. spices and herbs, always fresh of course, bread or oatmeal, flaxseed, various other healthy ingredients, tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, secret ingredients.

I'm properly awed.

Meatloaf in the Weathers household is 1 1/2 pounds of 85/15 Black Angus or homegrown beef preferably. (I try to support Kari Lynn Dell in all ways. 2 eggs, a jar of chunky Pace picante sauce, enough oatmeal to make the right consistency, salt and pepper and tomato sauce for the top.

Anyway, back on topic.

There's really nothing new under the sun. One of my beta readers remarked, "I liked your take on zombies in Far Rider."

I wrote back saying I don't have any zombies in FR.

"Your spirit walkers?"

"Ah, yes, forgot about them. I don't really think of them as zombies, but I guess they are since they've been brought back from the dead."

If Martin brings back Jon Snow in GoT, will he be a zombie? Snow, not Martin, though I think some people are working on zombie plans for Martin.

Love him or hate him, Martin has put some interesting twists on some old tropes. As much as I swore I wouldn't read another word until he finished the series, I'm starting the second book.

According the Meyer, she never read about vampires, which is why her vampires are all sparkly and different and don't follow the norm. She didn't know what the norm was. She did happen to hit on some ingredients that appealed to a wide audience.

Not, apparently, Will the wonder son who got talked into taking a girl to one of the Twilight movies. He was later grocery shopping with his toddler who was whining about something and Will told him, "Logan, you can be anything you want to when you grow up except emo like Edward. Now stop whining."

Anyway, it still boils down to the writing. It always boils down to the writing.

My better than sex cake isn't chocolate with whipped cream. It's vanilla with pineapple, but another recipe is chocolate. The secret to the cake, though, is poking the holes in it while it's hot and pouring the sauce on it to soak in, regardless of which kind it is. Sort of like Tres Leches cake except you poke the holes in. Vanilla/pineapple, chocolate/caramel, tres leches/thinned condensed sweetened milk.

And I'm running off at the mouth again

Colin Smith said...

Mmm... my wife makes a wonderful Tres Leches cake.

I don't know about running off at the mouth, this post is making me runny at the mouth. In a saliva sense. You sure it's not lunchtime yet?

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

EM: The Witcher books are Polish. I'm actually not sure all of them have been translated to English yet (though maybe they have by now...we're up to 3 video games!)

deadspidereye: at my library, we were trying to solve our shelf space issue with paperback spinners. The problem is, spinners hold about 250 books (depending on the spinner), and we have something like 2000 paperbacks (I just randomly picked a round number, give or take some books). We don't have room for 10 spinners!

But at the library, genre labeling is an interesting thing. Our vampire books aren't in the fantasy and scifi section, and our steampunk isn't, but our witch books are. When I think of fantasy, that's elves and dragons and secondary magical world stuff. When I think urban fantasy, that's where werewolves and vampires make their entrance. Scifi is also kind of weird; we don't have our Orwell in the genre section, but most of our William Gibson is (I didn't used to have a say, and the prior people who did have a say, did not read those genres). Really, at this point, I think we should just genre sticker everything and shelve them together, but that's what the constraints of an old building do to your psyche.

(in my werewolf book, my characters have a conversation about how there aren't vampires. Because in my urban fantasy world, there aren't. It isn't that vampires don't interest me, but writing vampires doesn't interest me and never has. I only ever did vampire writing when we played Vampire: the Masquerade in college)

julieweathers said...

I tried the recipe for chocolate chip cookies on the Ghiradelli chocolate chips the other day. I didn't like it as well as the Toll House recipe, which is my standard with some tweaks. That surprised me. I assumed the new one would be better.

Totally off topic, Quaker Oats is very proud of their name. Some years ago, they contacted a company they thought was misusing their name and demanded they cease and desist. Here is the exchange.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Jennifer- Polish, right. There is still one Witcher book to be translated. The video games are amazing.

So when are we having a Chum feast? I want to try some of this good cooking. Someone invent trans-dimensional portals to the Reef so we can all easily convene in one place imexpensively.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Ya'll are making me hungry, and it is too early in the morning for meatloaf (I'm only an omnivore after 11). Cookies, on the other hand...

Back on topic - I'm pretty sure you can do anything as long as you do it well. I may get in trouble for the 'anything' part, and obviously I don't mean stealing characters from other franchises whole-sale(though change the names and a couple details and you have 50 Shades of Grey - Gray?). Look at fanfiction; some of it is really strange (LotR and Star Trek crossovers? Monster-of-the-week show turned into a love story from the 50s with no magic?) but very widely read and loved.

That stuff isn't usually ready for publication, by any means, but it'd be a hell of thing to include in a query letter. "This is my first novel, but I'm active in an online writing community for writing spin-offs of other series. One of my pieces has a 4.7 rating on Goodreads (from over 1000 ratings)."

I was half-kidding, but it makes you wonder - would that grab an agents attention? How did EL James make that jump, I wonder?

Lennon Faris said...

So sorry if I repeat something, I can't go through comments rt now -

OP, I might try opening the query with an intriguing idea/ paragraph before you say that it involves werewolves/ vampires. Fun phrases that make someone laugh out loud or go 'oooh' are good. The Query Shark's latest entry had a few of those sorts of phrases.

I still love vampires and werewolves (er, *cough* stories about them), I don't think that'll change. But some of the fun comes from the mystery/ taboo of those stories. You gotta keep that going. "Surprise, honey, I'm a vampire," won't do it anymore.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Years ago, like over a hundred, some guy, can't remember who, said, everything has been invented. Yup, nothing in the last hundred or so years has been new. Bah...
No new genres, no new themes, no new anything new. Vampire dino sex, old wizards robbing casinos.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

While I was typing, my boss walked in and I had to hit send before I was finished. Now I forget the rest of what I was going to say. Oops here she is again. Have a nice day Reiders.

Craig F said...

Damn, why did you bring up meatloaf? My better half has this texture thing about meatloaf so I can only make mine when she goes to art camp or something.

My secrets to a great meatloaf are one part hot breakfast sausage and two parts ground beef (15% fat). Ketchup adds more flavor than tomato sauce and never forget a big glop of horseradish.

Since I like the crunchy parts I divide it into two loafs and cook it on a broiler pan to let the fat get away.

I can understand focus in a writer. I can understand artistic writers too. What I can't understand are writers who continually neat a dead meatloaf.

Stretch out those writing muscles and expand your horizons, try something outside of you Quaker Oats box. Make sure you never forget to toss a big glop of horseradish into your writing.

Craig F said...

Further Ramblings from someone who has been in the sun too long the last few days.

One of the sad points of my associations with writers of other genres was this. A girl I know had an idea. It was about a once a decade massacre to sustain a supposed witch.

They left one girl child alive though she was always cut in an intricate manner. Hence the title COMPASS ROSE. I lead her toward it being a thriller and the big changes in communication between law enforcement in the last decade. It was coming into shape nicely when she decided she could not write thrillers and walked away from it.

It is a sad thing when you put yourself into a rut and don't want to even try to climb out and see the bigger world.

Colin Smith said...

There was a Meat Loaf cover that was popular on Carkoon at one time. How did it go? "You took the kale right out of my mouth... It must have been while you were choking me..." Sums up Carkoon, pretty much. :)

Panda in Chief said...

Now I want to try Craig's recipe *heads for the store*

There are a million detective stories. I am hoping one with pandas and stolen impressionist paintings (of pandas) will rise to the top. We'll see, I guess. No werewolves or vampires, though.

John Davis Frain said...


Won't it be funny at lunch when your boss asks you about your favorite meatloaf and you discover after all this time they read Janet's blog and their name is

John Davis Frain said...

Sorry, one of my employees just walked in and I had to hit Send before I finished.

Unknown said...

As a child, I used to run around my neighborhood pretending to be a werewolf, to the point that my mother warned that the neighbors might not take kindly to such an enactment. I still have my original Aurora Wolf Man model. Larry Talbot was like a father figure to me. These days, unless the werewolves appear in work of literary fiction like Plainsong (Were-Song, a lyrical, elegiac story of a group of werewolves discussing their place in a changing world), no sale.

Just Jan said...

Colin, have you heard the new hit single "Carkoon by the Dashboard Light"?

Colin Smith said...

Just Jan: Sounds positively frightening! Mind you, Carkoon by any kind of light is quite disturbing. :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin and Just Jan- A Rutabega Out of Hell was getting a lot of play during my brief exile on Carkoon as was Two Out of Three Locusts Ain't Bad. No idea what any of that was about.

Colin Smith said...

Elise: Really? So the rutabaga rumors were true. I heard some rumblings about rutabaga becoming popular, causing concern among the kale and lima bean farmers. Clearly the rutabaga lobby amped up its promotion campaign. And since B. L. Z. Bub likes to vacation on Carkoon, that song would definitely appeal... yikes!

Joseph S. said...

The post made me shudder. It reminded me I suck at Query Letters. Bad feeling there.

On the other hand, I love Meatloaf. That made me feel better. Every other week or so we get "Martha's Meatloaf" at the CAF. I always go back for seconds.

The post today gave me an idea for a novel: MY Killer Meatloaf, the story of a a man whose meatloaf falls into a bowl of chemicals and grows into a killer meatloaf. The man sics the meatloaf on restaurant owners serving liver and onions, tongue poboys, or spinach casseroles.

I've got the ingredients. I'll let it bake for a decade or so before giving it a taste. I'm not sure the world could stomach the horror now.

Karen McCoy said...

The thing about the "everything's been done" mantra is that we all have our own way of writing about various topics. The flash fiction contests offer a perfect example: we all get to do whatever we want with the same five words. Similarly, if I were to write a vampire or werewolf story, it wouldn't be the same one that Colin might put together, for example. The beauty is that we get to put our own lens on whatever we write, and it will inevitably look different because we each have our unique way of experiencing the world.

Another book to read with werewolves, at least in the YA genre, is Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver. Excellent example of turning a trope on its head.

Leah B said...

DLM: Nuke it from orbit then? I can't stand meatloaf. For an embarrassing number of years, I also thought I hated salmon because of my mother's salmonloaf. I avoid anything ending in "-loaf".

And a slightly on topic comment this time--I can't remember the blog, but there's a writers' blog that has agents comment on queries (not queryshark, I remember that one!). In one query's opening line, a young girl says she's a vampire. From the rest of the query, it's clear that the vampirism is in her head as a coping mechanism for her terminal illness. One of the agents reading for the blog saw "vampire" in the opening and passed with the comment "I don't do vampires". Oh, it made me feel so bad for that writer.

My takeaway from that: some agents skim their queries, looking for reasons to reject. Which is why we should query widely.

Golly, that sounds familiar.

Colin Smith said...

Joseph: ... and in a strange twist, the Meatloaf Monster falls in love with a bowl of salad. The novel ends with them holding hands, and the salad looks up to the Meatloaf Monster and says, "Lettuce leaf."


E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, you just caused my entire office to stare at me I laughed so hard at your meatloaf monster twist. I am a little worried my boss might be calling the guys with the straight jackets.

*prepares kale catapult* just in case.

Adele said...

I skipped the vampire/werewolf trend completely, so I would not be the market for this book, unless it were a comedy about a werewolf, hopelessly beguiled by meatloaf, who keeps getting caught breaking into people's refrigerators ...

Speaking of meatloaf (see how I worked that in there), I recently bought a 1958 cookbook - "365 Ways To Cook Hamburger" - and the extensive meatloaf section has held me spellbound. Growing up our meatloaves involved crushed Corn Flakes, but these recipes are much more inventive. Spurred on by my reading, a couple of days ago I made a fabulous best-ever-for-me meatloaf involving olives, sundried tomatoes, and an entire grated zucchini. If it works with zucchini, the recipe could possibly be adapted to kale.

Colin Smith said...

Elise: Excellent. My work is done. ;D

Gypmar said...

Well-played, John Davis Frain!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Romance: 2 people fall in love and a happy ending.

Mystery - who's the killer, solve the crime, leave clues.

Meat loaf? Buy ingrédients, toss in bowl. Cook.

Three boring recipes we keep repeating. What makes them so good?

The execution.

In France they make meatloaf but label it pâté. There is wild boar, rabbit, you-name-it. It's one of those things you find in the back of the fridge next to the mustard.

Joseph S. said...

I had that in mind. She calls him Sir Loin to make him feel more manly. When he returns home he’s surprised at how she’s dressing. She takes time to catch up on his day. They plan to have little tomatoes, but just when everything’s gravy, he gets himself in a pickle with the murders.

I don’t know what to do with the mad scientist. There’s something fishy about him. He’s a real ham. A bit cheesy if you know what I mean. And he wants Meatloaf to mate with Green Beans. Meatloaf strings her along hoping Salad never sees her (oh I made a little joke, hee hee).

I may strain out the crime element and make it a midday romance, a luncheon special so to speak.

The Sleepy One said...

Now I really want meatloaf. But I have a pork shoulder ready to go on the smoker.

Someday, I'm going to make "meatloaf cupcakes", which have mashed potatoes as frosting. The photos I've seen look both ridiculous and amazing.

Side note, the Brown Sugar Cookbook (based on recipes served in the Oakland cafe of the same name) has a great meatloaf recipe.

julieweathers said...


That just makes me so sad, but I know it's true. I hope someone kept reading, because it sounds like an interesting story.

In doing research for Raincrow Games, I learned A LOT about vampires. For one thing, they are much more than the standard blood-sucking variety. Anything that drains life force from another is a vampire. Vampires have been in stories for thousands of years. They've just gone by different names.

According to some texts, Adam had a first wife who was a lamia, a vampire.

I have were creatures in Far Rider, I suppose. Were dragons. Were peacocks. I never thought about it. I never defined them that way. They're part of the weird were mix.

Maybe as the OP said, I'm just calling chocolate cake by another name.

Where There's A Quill said...

There was a Meat Loaf cover that was popular on Carkoon at one time. How did it go? "You took the kale right out of my mouth... It must have been while you were choking me..." Sums up Carkoon, pretty much. :)

I'm still giggling at this.

Honestly, it's been so long since I've had meatloaf, I don't even really remember what it looks/tastes/feels like. Like a large, loaf-shaped, less chunky rissole type thing, I think...? (With oats, apparently?!?).

As for OP: I getcha. I'm another one of a kajillion UF writers saturating the market (well, trying to. Siiiigh). If you ever want someone to beta test your query, I'm happy for you to drop me a line. I can't speak for agents, but I can give you my perspective as an avid UF reader who is suuuuuper picky about stories with werewolves/vamps etc.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Jennifer R. Donohue: so the spinner rack thing is a trend in library practices? It's good to know that there's a librarian over the water, who outside working hours labours to write fantasy fiction. So this werewolf book, what's the chances of getting a pair of peepers on it, is in print?

Steve Stubbs said...

Let me add a comment to that. There is no way I would read a book about vampires but some time ago I decided to sample SALEM’S LOT, just to find out what is so great about Stephen King.

I did not expect much. The movie was majorly sucky IMO. But I cracked the book anyway. Imagine my surprise when King had me believing in vampires were real for so many pages. Imagine my astonishment when I found myself gasping for breath when some character in the book idiotically walked down the street late at night and the vampires “fell on him.” King didn’t say anything else. The vampires “fell on him.” He did not have to say anything else. My inagination took it from there.

If the OP can write like that it doesn’t make any difference how shopworn the tropes are. After all, by the sixteenth century romantic love had been done to death by uninspired hack writers. And then some English guy wrote a play about Romeo and Juliet and the world has been transfixed for four hundred years. Romantic love is still a shopworn trope.

R&J is as fresh as it was the day it was first staged.

AJ Blythe said...

Angie, I thought pate was a spread? Or is that just a misused term here in Oz?

My meatloaf recipe requires partially cooking the meatloaf, than taking it out of the tin, wrapping it in bacon and a marinade (of worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and bbq sauce). My family love it. Mind you, I could wrap anything in bacon and they'd love it.

And by tomato sauce I thought I meant US Ketchup, but Craig has totally confused me by saying ketchup is better than tomato sauce. So if US ketchup = Oz tomato sauce, what on earth is US tomato sauce?

BJ Muntain said...

AJ - tomato sauce is like pasta or pizza sauce. Ketchup tends to have more sugar, while tomato sauce has more spices. And yes, anything wrapped in bacon is sure to be a hit.

Someone asked what meatloaf was. I think. My brain isn't working well, and I read that awhile ago. Imagine a family-sized hamburger.

I love meatloaf, almost any kind. I like it juicy, though. My mum always makes all her meatloaf with gluten-free breadcrumbs now. It's really, really good. Sometimes she'll give me meatloaf for Christmas. I love my mum.

Craig F said...

AJ and BJ:

Tomato sauce is just that; sauced tomatoes with no spices. If you cooked the water out of it you would have tomato paste.

Spaghetti and pizza sauce is tomato sauce cooked with olive oil, oregano and garlic.

Ketchup is a condiment made with tomato sauce, sugar and vinegar. It is generally used on fries and burgers. If I remember correctly OZ uses malt vinegar as the condiment for fries so ketchup might be something odd down there. I have only visited there a few times and never checked out your grocery stores.

Hope that helps though.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

DeadSpiderEye: spinners are one of those things....they can be fairly cheap (cheaper than bookshelves anyway, woof), can make good use of awkward space, etc. My library is a repurposed house, so we constantly run into "well, we order X books per year and already have a collection of Y size, time to weed!"

The werewolf book is not published, and I haven't yet landed an agent. I certainly haven't given up on it (the werewolves or the agents). Werewolf books are being published (all kinds of things are being published), so it's a matter of, well, revision and then finding the right agent. It's also kind of why I was "shopping" THE LAST SONG first. It's urban fantasy, but not vampire or werewolf urban fantasy, so might work as the foot in the door? Or maybe that agent will say "what else do you have?" and also shrink from my werewolves. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I still love the book, anyway. And of course am on the fence about striving to finish the trilogy before or after finding representation, etc.

Kae Ridwyn said...

I've never liked meatloaf. Food, or singer. Sorry.
I'm not the biggest fan of vampires or werewolves either. Having said that though, I was rather taken aback while drafting a story last year and one of my main characters suddenly morphed on me. Next thing, who'd-a-thunk it, I have a race of shape-shifters on my hands.
Gotta love it when characters take you on an unexpected tangent...
Happy writing, everyone!

Joseph S. said...

Let me try this again

In sad news, Meatloaf the singer collapsed onstage in Edmonton tonight. He was rushed to a hospital. His condition has not been disclosed.

BJ Muntain said...

I saw that, Joseph. He'd already cancelled a couple of shows due to illness - he postponed the one in Saskatchewan. I'm hoping he'll be able to heal quickly.

BJ Muntain said...

Good news though: He's stable and recovering well: Article in the Toronto Star

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

What if my story is about an author who's a werewolf querying an agent who's a vampire? And it's all an epistolary?