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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Agents and Publishing and Scams, Oh My. . .

I have found some interesting blogs and websites which address the scams pulled on writers--especially newbie writers who haven't heard the details yet. There are also sites on which anonymous agents provide tips and "don'ts."

Visit and bookmark some of these sites:

Writer Beware Blog

The Rejecter

Miss Snark, Literary Agent

Knight Agency Blog

Agents to Avoid

Agent Query

Absolute Write Forums

Right Writing

Evil Editor

Agent X

Book Ends

Preditors & Editors

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I need that opening line. . . .

Thanks to Paperback Writer for this amusing list of famous first lines--and what the author could possibly have been thinking. This seemed timely as I start a new story and contemplate a good opening line. . . .


Behind the Lines
Ten Writers' Opening Lines, and What They Were Thinking When They Wrote Them

1. "Call me Ishmael."

Yeah, good name. Not like Herman, you know. Herman. Oy. What am I, a Munster? What kind of mother names her kid that, anyway? I swear, that woman hated me from the minute I was born. I'm never going to write about women. Men only. Big, manly men. Big, manly men who piss off whales, and who aren't named Herman.

2. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so."


How do I start this book off then? Go with the positive claptrap, or the negative claptrap? Oh, ballocks, I'll write both. A big long useless paragraph of both. Let them think it was the dichotomy of my literary genius instead of this bloody damn bipolar disorder.

3. "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

I'm writing this sitting in the kitchen sink. Cool.

4. "Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick."

Decent quote opener. Not as much fun as the thinly-veiled anecdote about the colonel, the misplaced hot dog and how I almost got court martialed for laughing my ass off in a trauma room, but not like this is ever going to get published.

5. "Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside, and at dawn on Monday the city awoke out of its lethargy of centuries with the warm, soft breeze of a great man dead and rotting grandeur."

Hello, my name is Gabriel, and I have period phobia, so I make my English translator, Sancho, use mostly commas to keep my beautiful prose from being interrupted by that sort of crude punctuation and allow me to drift into endless descriptions of my beautiful vultures which remind me of the prostitutes I ogled as a boy in Cadiz . . . or was it Madrid . . . [margin note: Sancho! My God! Not ellipses! They spawn!]

6. "Shortly before being shot in the back with a tranquilizer dart and dumped half-dazed on a stretcher, right before being stolen from the hospital by silent men in white coats, Elena Baxter stood at the end of a dying child's bed, her hand on a small bare foot, and attempted to perform a miracle."

Baby, you just got backstory-opening-line whomped.

7. "...so then the guy sits up on the stretcher, says 'I don't feel so good,' and turns this incredible shade of blue."

Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just turned on the fasten your seatbelts sign. So buckle up. Right now.

8. "The day broke gray and dull."

Take that, you dark and stormy night writers.

9. "The last camel collapsed at noon."


What will remind my editor that he hasn't sent me my advance check for this novel yet? Last straw . . . camel . . . got it.

10. "The story that follows is one I never intended to commit to paper."

I got a big book deal and you didn't, neener neener neener.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Verse for Writers

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\ / TODAY'S VERSE from HEARTLIGHT -- http://www.heartlight.org/
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October 18, 2006


VERSE:
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the
Lord.
-- Psalm 27:14



THOUGHT:
If there is anything we don't like to do, it's wait. Maybe that
is why God is so interested in us learning to do it! There is
something purifying about remaining strong in tough times and
remaining faithful when ill winds blow. So God gives us times of
waiting to see if our search is really for him or merely for
something new or easy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Inscription no-nos

Not to be taken seriously, I found these this morning at Paperback Writer.

Inscription No-Nos
Ten Things You Probably Shouldn't Inscribe in Your Novel

(dedicated to Miss Kate)

1. Being a bestselling author and the next great voice in American Literature does not make me your free therapist. Next time, tell your silly sob story about working two jobs just so you can afford to buy my books to the other low-income losers like you standing in line. Coldly, Ona Highhorse

2. Thanks for loving me, babe. Stop by Howard Johnson's tonight after the booksigning -- room 678. Bring some wine, silk stockings and condoms, and be ready to tie and spank. Lustfully, Dick Everhard

3. If you were really my devoted fan, you'd be buying more than one copy of this. So where's the love? Huh? Huh? Hotly, Dee Manding

4. My editor made me change like every other word in this book, and I can't stand the bitch, so if you don't enjoy it, would you write to my publisher and complain about the editing? Maybe they'll fire her this time. Gratefully, Don Touchmaprose

5. Nice free ARC, cheapskate. Stick a crowbar in your wallet next time and pay to buy a real book, and maybe then I'll sign it. And if I catch it on eBay? I'm going to sue your pants off. (Unsigned)

6. Please note that this is the first thing I've published since I caught my pond-scum ex cheating on me with my best friend. What a joke. That judge practically ordered him to be publicly stripped and flogged. He thought he could destroy my career as thoroughly as he did our marriage, but as you can see, I won. The house, the car, the tiumeshare in Epcott and the joint checking. And my best friend? You must read my review of her latest novel, hahahahahaha. Oooooh, and remember to pick up my next book, The Diseased Cowboy and the Runaway Bride Who Shoots Him in the Crotch, which got FIVE STARS at RomanceDitzes.com. Not that I gave them to myself. The initials J.D. are just a coincidence. Sincerely, Jess Divorced

7. Sorry I sneezed on this, but I did wipe the boogers off. Have you had a flu shot? Yours Truly, Rosie Nose

8. Spending $7.99 on this does not entitle you to have personal contact with me. Anywhere. Comprende? Stiffly, Hannah-Sandy Tizer

9. To the most boring person of indeterminate IQ whom I have ever encountered: I admire you for setting your sights so high, but I don't think you should attempt anything else of mine until you can read without moving your lips. Unaffectionately, Ima Snobb

10. You'll like this so much better than the last awful, clunky, ridiculous piece of trash which that drooling fat idiot cow who has the audacity to call herself a professional writer, Bertha Bigbucks, just published. And did you know she stole that plot from me? Righteously Yours, Vera Green

Monday, October 09, 2006

Build it, and they will come

Here are a few more thoughts excerpted from Julia Cameron's book, "The Sound of Paper."



"Build it, and they will come" (from the movie) is profound creative advice. It puts the emphasis on process rather than product. It emphasizes the fact that artists lead rather than follow the market. Too often, artists get sidetracked trying to market their work before it is finished. They write book proposals instead of books, screen treatments instead of screenplays. Meanwhile, precious weeks, months and years tick by.

Often, when I advise a writer to write a whole book rather than a proposal, I am greeted with, "But, Julia! I don't want to do all that work for nothing." Be we *never* do all that work for nothing. When we write, we become better writers. When we paint, we become better painters.

When we look for a guarantee of success, we are asking to make risk-free art, and art, by definition, is risky.

Art is a time-consuming process, and in our youth-oriented culture of instant gratification, this is not a popular thing to say.

It is the practice of our art form, and not the marketable product we produce, that warrants us the name artist.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Sound of Paper--a few notes

I was cleaning my writing files and came across these notes, taken while reading "The Sound of Paper" a year or so ago, byJulia Cameron. I highly recommend this book--and hope you can get a little something from the concepts I jotted down.

--Drama is seductive(and saps your writing time.)
--We can not know where our journey will lead.
--Pray to overcome unbelief.
--Writing can be do-able, portable and casual (don't make it such a big deal)
--We don't know the number of our days --live consciously.
--Ask God to work through me like a channel
--Thy will be done, not mine.
--Artists thrive on structure.
--When we commit to a dream, the materials come.
--It is the "making of art," -not- "our art making it" that signifies an artist's life.
--Don't pour out all your creativity in email. Manage modern life and media input like a diet.

I think I want to re-read Julia's book : )