Friday, May 19, 2006

Q & A 14 Rumble or humble?


Regarding tone and presentation to agents and editors: Do you swagger or stay humble?

Evil Editor once received two manuscripts the same day. One had a cover letter that began, Enclosed please find what may be . . . no, what IS . . . the greatest book written since . . . actually, I'm not sure there's EVER been a greater book.

The second cover letter began, The enclosed manuscript is probably even crappier than the last few I sent you, but . . .

Evil Editor did not read beyond that point in either submission, but if he had been forced at gunpoint to choose one of these manuscripts for publication, based entirely on the first sentence of the cover letter, he would have assumed the latter ms to be by far the superior one.

Evil Editor hopes that answers your question.

9 comments:

Kiyotoe said...

Evil Editor, I would luv to hear your evil opinion on something posted on my blog page, www.kiyotoe.blogspot.com. Entitled, Absolution, pt. 1 and 2.

karen13 said...

E.E. you seem like the Dr. House of the literary world.

:)

Evil Editor said...

EE would never get anything done if he agreed to critique fiction posted on his minions' blogs. Possibly you'll get some feedback from others, however.

tlh said...

Hey, I don't mind offering some advice (no, really, I don't mind at all, it's no trouble). One word: proofread.

In Absolution pt. 2, the first sentence switches tense halfway through, while the second sentence has a misspelling in it. These are likely both typos, but I gave up reading after them, which defeats the purpose of writing, right?

It's way too early to be asking for a professional opinion if you have two typos in the first sentence.

BuffySquirrel said...

One word, kiyotoe: paragraphs!

tlh said...

First *paragraph*, not sentence. And I was doing so well, too... glad I'm not asking for an 'evil opinion'. And that I got my initials right.

Rei said...

Kiyotoe:

I agree with the others. I can't get more than a few sentences in because of things like the tense change. Crazy-long opening paragraph, pointless adjectives, starting off with way too much description, etc. I'd recommend that before you start editing, start reading limyaael.livejournal.com's archives:

http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=limyaael&keyword=Limyaael's+Fantasy+Rants&filter=all

You'll want to get through at least a dozen of them, but start with the "Beginnings" rant and progress through the ones that aren't Fantasy-focused. I know this sounds like a tall order, but you need it.

For a quicker read, I'd also recommend the Turkey City Lexicon:

http://www.sfwa.org/writing/turkeycity.html

It's SF focused, but it covers a lot of the basic errors that novice writers make.

Chumplet said...

I'm not even gonna look; it'll probably look like mine.
Conclusion: Don't praise or belittle your own work - just present it in a professional manner.

A grateful evil minion said...

thanks you ~W