Tuesday, June 30, 2009
There were footsteps on the deck behind him, and a warm voice said, "Oh, shit, Stu, not again, man?"
"Afraid so, Zack," Stuart moaned. "I told you at the start, I don't sail well. I wanna go home."
"I don't blame you, " Zack said. "But wouldn't that look bad? I mean, you are the captain."
Opening: Steve Wright.....Continuation: Faceless Minion (mostly)
"Ouch." The boy opened his blood-red eyes and saw Forrest standing over him.
"What's your problem?"
"Oh, I thought you were my brother. He likes to jump off the roofs of the (one of many) buildings at night. He's a douchebag," Forrest explained.
"Hasn't he killed himself yet?" The boy asked, getting up suddenly and dusting himself off. He stepped over (one of many) leaves on the pavement, and stood oddly close to Forrest.
"No, it's a little strange, isn't it?" Forrest mused, completely oblivious to the fact that this stranger was smelling his neck. "But Mama always said, life is like a box of...Hey!"
Opening: Zachary Hudson.....Continuation: Shoshana Beaubahna
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sandy broke into a run, trying to catch the silhouettes as they moved further down the endless mirrored hallway. The faster he ran, the faster the shadows shrunk away. He feared what lay beyond his sight. Panic swept over him suffocating his cry for them to stop but they disappeared, beyond his reach. Then, as if he had crossed some invisible threshold, the mirrored hallway vanished and Sandy found himself standing in an enormous circular stone room with no visible ceiling.
The walls were covered in grotesque art, depicting pain stricken faces and tortured corpses trying to escape from their stone tomb. They rose to an unthinkable height before falling into darkness, but failed to open to the night sky. He ran to the middle of the room and his feet became lead, unmoving, as if stuck in quick sand. In a panic he searched for what was holding him in place. In the shadows he saw them, each in a separate cage against the wall to his right. Their mouths hung open and their bodies slumped in despair. They pleaded for rescue with their eyes, but he could not even speak their names.
He knew who they were, knew their names, knew their families, even the dreams they had for their children. But they had failed, and were now forever banished to this hellish dungeon where, inevitably, their flesh would rot and their souls turn to dust.
One icy hand clamped upon his ankle. Already it was too late; they were dragging him down, and before the sun rose he too would be reading slush for Evil Editor.
Opening: Jeffrey Baird.....Continuation: Khazar-khum
Guess the Plot
1. Geneticists create wolf/man hybrids. Also known as werewolves. One thing leads to another and soon an inter-species war looms, threatening to destroy all life on Earth. Also, the usual shadow organization with its own agenda.
2. The secrets of the industrial metal music neoplastic underworld are revealed with interviews and historical notes of some of its greatest contributors: Low Distortion Unit, In-Fused, Dual Proform, Skinny Puppy and Ooomph, as well as some up-and- coming new artists like Frequency Construct and Luser Dazed.
3. All the farmers around Oskaloosa Iowa told Frank he was crazy to let them put a chemical storage facility on his land, but with his vegetables dominating the fair circuit, it looks like Frank will get the last laugh . . . until the deer start growing fangs.
4. Four vikings set sail across the Atlantic hoping to establish their new strains of sweet peas in the new world. But when the manuscript containing their research falls into the hands of an Imperial agent, the last Roman legion rows out after them.
5. Geneticist Judith Fancher perfects the world's fastest growing yeast, but when she uses it in her chocolate souffle recipe, she--and the entire town--get an unpleasant surprise. Now it's up to the National Guard.
6. Mankind destroyed the world, but from the ashes and stew of chemicals and poisonous air rises a new breed, the hybreed...who will stop at nothing to search out and obliterate the remnants of man. Can one reporter from the Galaxy News Network save us from an army of mutants?
I am seeking representation for my novel, Hybreed Rising, the first in a series called The Hybreed Chronicles. [I can tell you've formed a strong attachment to the word "hybreed," but if you can't somehow manage to break free of it, this project and your writing career are essentially doomed.]
By the 22nd century the American Empire has ruled the Earth for two hundred years, and now it is on the brink of a paradigm shift. [According to my calculations, this means that by the 20th century, the American Empire had started ruling the Earth. Which is pretty much how Americans see it, but not entirely accurate. So either the math is off, or this is planet Earth but with a completely different history--which makes it Rigel IV.] Christopher Hansen can do a little 'shifting' of his own, but he doesn’t know how or why. When he is forced to put aside his version of community service to find answers, help comes from a most unlikely source: Department 118 of the American Empire. With their aid Chris discovers an inner threat to the livelihood of his kind [His kind has a livelihood? I can think of many livelihoods shapeshifters (if that's what he is) would be good at: hitman, female impersonator . . . Elvis impersonator . . . but it's hard to believe all shapeshifters' have one livelihood.] and an outer threat to their very existence – both of which are set against him. What’s more, exposing the threats may lead to the destruction of life on Earth through inter-species war. Can Chris neutralize the dangers to his kind while keeping his life and values intact? [When the stakes include the elimination of all life on Earth, screw values.] What are the true intentions of Department 118 and the Empire toward his people? Will Chris ever find a place where he can belong? [And most importantly, will I ever clarify what the hell I'm talking about?]
Hybreed Rising is the first book of an epic tale wherein werewolves play an integral part, but don't be fooled: This is not part of the horror or paranormal genre. The story is set in the future where America is an empire, so it might be considered Commercial Fiction or Alternate Reality. [I've had the feeling I'm in an alternate reality for some time now.] It is told in two parts which correlate fluidly and offer further installments. Part One (38,364 words) sets the stage, introduces the main characters, and allows them to meet and overcome challenges. [This sounds like a new season of Survivor.] [Part Two is the Tribal Council, right?] Part Two (50,892 words) brings in lycanthropic cultures [Wait a minute . . . Did you say lycanthropic cultures?!] (you read it right: lycanthropic cultures), a shadow organization with its own agenda, and a grand battle between tribes of werewolves. [Survivor would be much more interesting if it had tribes of werewolves. Or maybe one tribe of werewolves and one tribe of zombies.] The story addresses moral and ethical issues, [Like, is it wrong to vote a tribemate off the island just because he tears out Jeff Probst's throat?] and also offers mystery, action, and humor (bad puns included). [Bad puns are never a selling point.] The full manuscript (97,615 words) [Part 1 + Part 2 = 89,000 words. Apparently this is one of those novels where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.] and a synopsis are available upon request. Novellas which explore the adventures of Chris and his comrades are also available, [as are flash fiction pieces and limericks,] and a novel-sized sequel is currently in development.
My name is ______________, but I use the pseudonym _______________. I’m nowhere near as interesting as this story. [Anyone more interesting than his story should trash the story and write his autobiography.] I believe wolves and werewolves are among the most misrepresented and misunderstood creatures in literature and cinema. [I might buy that about wolves, but werewolves? How do you misrepresent a werewolf?] My aspirations include discussing these subjects [You aspire to discuss the misrepresentation of werewolves?] and other related storylines, seeing my works published, and perhaps building a fan base. [For you or for werewolves?] One of the short stories based on this storyline appeared in the final issue of Fang, Claw and Steel, and another appears in beginning issues of Is this Reality? Magazine. [Hard to believe a magazine that publishes werewolf stories can't come up with a better name than Is this Reality?]
I posted queries and excerpts on internet forums to gain feedback on my innovative take on werewolves. Many readers commended my portrayal, which incorporates self-awareness, unique cultural aspects, and authentic wolf characteristics [like fangs, claws, lungs that can blow a house down, and an uncanny resemblance to Red Riding Hood's Grandma] into the creature. Hybreed Rising effectively re-envisions werewolves while telling an endearing, entertaining story with strong, relatable characters. Testimonies from readers are available upon request. [It's always helpful, when a query is too long, for it to have a paragraph like that one, where I can just say delete the whole thing.]
Further research proves audiences are tired of the same old 'Jekyll-and-Hyde' storyline forced upon the werewolf mythos. [If you think audiences are tired of it, you should hear what the werewolves have to say.] [It seems to me that if audiences are tired of the same old wolfmen, instead of giving them different wolfmen you might give them kangaroomen or cowmen. Maybe it's not the mythos people are tired of, maybe it's the fact that it's always a wolf. If you're reading about a hybreed, why must it be man/wolf?
Geneticist 1: We have the means to create a hybrid of a man and any animal in existence. Which animal should we use?]
Geneticist 2: How about a wolf?
Geneticist 1: That's what I was thinking, too.]
Fortunately, Hybreed Rising takes this classic back player of monster stories and brings them into the limelight from the direction of soft genetic science, addressing many never-answered questions of werewolf existence. [For instance, Q: Do werewolves exist? A: Yes.] Hybreed Rising investigates the coexistence of the dual natures such a creature would inherit, exploring what a merger between man and wolf might create under individual circumstances and life experiences.
I hope this short explanation [Short? My Masters thesis was shorter. (But hey, how much can you write about the religious symbolism in John Grisham's novels?)] captures your interest. I give my sincerest thanks for your time and attention, and stand ready to send my work at your request. I can be reached at _________ or __________ for your convenience.
There's a pretty well-known Chris Hansen whose claim to fame is entrapping Internet sex predators and ID thieves for Dateline NBC.
Werewolves don't exist. Thus anyone can portray werewolves any way they want without fear that they are misrepresenting them. I'm sure you wouldn't like it if someone read your book and declared that you misrepresent werewolves.
The first long paragraph, which is your plot, is too vague. What is meant by paradigm shift? What is meant by "shifting"? What is meant by "his version of community service?" What is the inner threat? What is the outer threat? Tell us specifically what's going on. Focus on Chris. If he's a werewolf, say so.
Most of the rest is more likely to hurt your cause than help it. Get rid of everything that could be construed as bragging about your book. Every author thinks his book is innovative and original. An agent can't tell which ones really are until she reads them, so just make the plot sound intriguing/exciting/fun/whatever. That's the way to get her to want to read it. Not by declaring it great. The author is the last person she's gonna believe.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
She approaches the bar. Sexy walk. Looks at me. Probably thinking, What time do you get off, sailor? Probably thinking, Nice vest; a man in a vest is a man with class. A man worth undressing. All except the vest. I want to have sex tonight, with a man wearing nothing but a vest.
She flutters her big lashes at me. I've seen that look a thousand times from authors. I know what she's thinking; she 's thinking, Hey, handsome, why don't we empty the till and head for Tahiti? She's thinking, You got room in that pouty mouth for another tongue? She's thinking, You got "Muskrat Love" on the juke box, big boy?
She lays a key on the bar. Obviously her room key. She's thinking, Room 1412 at the Ritz Carlton. Let yourself in; I'll be waiting.
She says, "You know how to change a tire, fats? Blue Dodge, right outside. Spare's in the trunk. Pour me a tall one before you go."
"Hey. Frankster. Got the latest 'Whoa..Tail' for ya."
About that time was when I heard the noise behind me, behind the bar; but Frank hadn't been behind the bar when I walked in, right?
So I turn around and look to see what's what, and down on the floor behind the bar, on a poofy velevty blue blow-up cushion, sits some guy, get this, also in blue, reading some book without a cover, pages kinda stapled together, and he was using one of those little lamp things ya see on commercials; those things ya clamp on pages like fixed flashlights.
He looked up.
I could tell by the way he said it, inflection free and sounding bored, he'd missed the weekly point, so to speak. But hey, he wasn't Frank, so...
"So where's Frank?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. He’ll be back soon.”
Blue Boy stood up. It took him a minute. When he finally finished, he talked again. "I gather you come in weekly to tell Frank..."
"About my Whoa...Tail adventures."
He looked as bored as he'd sounded before. I pulled over a cocktail napkin, reached up and slid the pencil off one of Blue Boy's ears, and wrote..."WHOA...TAIL" ADVENTURES.
Blue Boy reached up and raked his muttonchops with fingers; my fingers, and he dropped the pages he’d been reading.
“Tell me,” he said. “Do you know how to write a story?”
“No,” I said. “But I can talk up a blue streak. And I can act out scenes really well, too.”
“Sold,” he said.
“Sold?” I said back.
“This picaresque tale of yours sounds best-selling to me.”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “And it’s guaranteed.”
"I don't care Toots," EE answered, pouring her "Fire God" Margarita. Chamika made an extravagant show of picking up the Margarita, sipping it and savoring its mind-numbing goodness.
"Roughage will cure that disposition barkeep." She sauntered away on legs so long that even Wilt the Stilt would have to look up to see her whoopee cakes jiggle. Every male eye in the joint followed her. So engrossed, I hiked my buttocks onto a stool, threw a Jackson on the bar and let my eyes frolic in Chamika's buns of heavenly bliss. The bespectacled bartender snapped his fingers in my face, disturbing my reverie.
"Hospital in Sao Paulo. An ass kicked his ass and like broke his sacro-coccygeal symphysis when he played badass with soccer hooligans at Morumbi Stadium. I'm filling in, permanent-like."
I shrugged and circled a finger in one big whoop. Only the barkeep's muttonchops moved. I rested my elbows on the bar, my chin in my hands. "Unlucky ducky. First vacation in 25 years and he ends up breaking his ass. Pour me a draft and like lend me an ear, barkeep. I got a shitload of ugly-like merde dealing with the public today and I need to unburden my soul." He eyeballed me and the tap, then my Jackson, then the cash register, and then back to me. He snapped up my Jackson, filled my glass with draft and drank, smacking his lips afterward.
"You can drink your beer direct-like in about 30 minutes. I'm not your effing sigmoid colon Freud for free. Soul unburdening has a price." He fingered his zipper.
That night I found a new watering hole and new bartender. Only cost me a Jackson.
I was running, running through a city of stone and ice and they were behind me and I couldn’t get away and I dodged into a building and slammed the door behind me.
“Excuse me,” said a creaky voice from the other end of the room.
Panting, I listened to the monsters dribble by outside. “Yeah?”
“Are you 21? Because this is a bar.”
I looked at him with desperate eyes. “Look, whoever you are, I’ve got a 10-story-tall glob of smelly stuff chasing me around the streets. I don’t care about drinking.”
He looked suspiciously at me, and the white walls dimmed to a foreboding red. “Hmm.”
Something was distilling into being in the center of the room; I peered at it. Limbs appeared, thin and gray and numbering in the 30s. “It’s the stick monster!”
The door bust open behind me and I was overwhelmed in a sticky mass of goo. Just before everything faded to black, I heard the man behind the bar yelling. “Hey, hey, hey! Stop right there!”
I blinked and looked up at him; his snarling face was only inches from mine and I could feel the spittle as he shouted. “You’re doing it again, idiot!”
His voice filled my ears, his face filled my vision, his breath cascaded over me. “You’re opening with a dream!”
Gasping, I sat up in my bed—at home, alone, and safe. All a dream. It was all a dream.
“Sayyyy, Frank,” I drawled, my voice almost throttled by anguish.
“Sorry pal, I ain’t Frank,” came a reply: gruff, blunt and weary sounding. When I cleared my eyes, there was this fat guy, looking how I felt. In that moment, my life changed forever.
We gazed at each other for one helluva time, the sadness written on both our faces slowly erased by the emerging frisson swelling between us. Hesitantly he reached out and stroked the back of my hand.
“You’re...you’re beautiful,” he said. Unable to help myself, I leaned in close till my sweater brushed his jacket, and kissed the whiskers poking from his ear.
“You too,” I replied, astonished by what I was doing. Normally I’m a female bodybuilder kinda guy.
Stroking my hair, he tilted his head to one side and with earnest, said, “whatever it is, I can make it better, I swear.”
That’s when the tears started rolling.
“My puppy just died,” I wailed. He threw his arms around me and held me close, drenching my shoulder with tears.
“Oh Christ, you poor thing...” I tellya, this guy had a black belt in sympathy, and I felt bad for not asking after him.
“So, what’s troubling you?”
“I’m Evil Editor,” he replied with a sigh. “People say they worship me but really they hate me. *blub* I just need someone to...to love me...”
He smiled — soppy and wet, like a senile old woman offered chocolate. “Oh, yes! Yes!”
Colour returned to his cheeks as he stood up and collected our tab.
“Come on gorgeous,” he beamed. “Let’s go find a hotel...”
“What are ye having?”
“Give me a martini,” I stated as I turned to watch the man on stage.
I assumed the bartender was getting my drink, but I heard “What kind?”
“What kind a' Mertini?” he asked.
I didn't have time for casual questions, I was still on the clock. “Listen, what's your name?”
“Evil Editor. Call me EE.” He didn't so much as blink.
“Okay, EE, I want the kind you drink, obviously. Give me an olive, I guess.”
I watched the guy on stage slither some more, but the bartender wasn't finished. “We got Appletinis, Pomtinis, you name it. You should know yer Mertinis.”
He wandered off and I was immediately annoyed. On the bar back, I saw a small guide. The cover read 'The Progress of Mixology', written by Evil Editor.
I was on to this guy now. I had no room in my life for another jerk who thought he was special. When he brought my drink, I was past caring about the intricacies of the Martini. “See? Nice and easy. A damn vodka with an olive. All that fancy talk doesn't mean you know shit.”
“I know yer a hooker sittin' between two gay guys who doesn't know jack about Mertinis,” he said.
--Aimee K. Maher
"Writers," the barman says, then glares. "What'll it be?"
I sit on a different stool, feelin' awkward. "Um--" I read his name tag. "EE, gimme a Shirley Temple with extra syrup. So what's with Frank?"
"Kicked by a burro."
"Choir shot -- soprano unless he recovers."
While EE bends over to get a glass, I get this feelin' like someone's lookin' at me so I swivel around. The regulars are wavin' their hands in front of their faces. I don't see no flies so I wave back then return to watchin' EE make my drink.
I says, "When did it happen? I been out for a coupla days. WIP's had me diggin' up his cemetery -- fresh holes in all the plots."
The bottle in EE's hand cracks.
"Oh, man, Frank kept the first-aid kit above the vodka. Anyway, you'd think a guy with a name like Willoughby Ingram P--" The last thing I see is EE's eyes glow red and this flash of light.
"…and that's why you need to use my patent pending re-embodier? Minion, I told you to lay off the sugar," says WIP.
"It was just one and I wasn't gonna be driving or operating heavy machinery for a coupla hours. I didn't lose my body this time, boss, it got ashed. You gotta believe me."
WIP shook his head.
Then it registers. It's not Frank behind the bar; it's some older guy, with wild grey whiskers and a dangerous gleam in his eye. "Usual?" he says.
"Predictable," he says, but pours it anyway.
"I need it," I say, "I'm having a hell of a time at home ..."
"Another story about a middle-aged man in a mid-life crisis?" he sneers.
"Yeah, well, what am I gonna do? I've been put down, I've been humiliated, I've been treated like dirt – "
"Too much passive voice."
"You think I should stand up for myself?" I think about it; he's got a point. "Well, maybe. But it's like the magic's gone out of my marriage – like I need to do something to bring it back –"
"This is all generalities. You need specifics, not vague 'somethings'."
Christ, he's really putting me on the spot. "Okay," I say, "I can maybe talk to her more – about her day, about her work – I can do little romantic things, buy her flowers –"
"This is taking too long. You need to develop the action faster."
He's tough, but I know he's right. I slide off the stool. "Okay," I say, "I'm outta here. She says I spend too much time here anyway. I'll go home, have a heart-to-heart with her, maybe we can both work through our feelings ... Thanks, fella. You might just have saved my marriage."
"Your marriage?" He looks surprised. "I was talking about your story."
"Well, whatever. You've been a big help."
I'm about to go out the door when he says, "Do me one favour, will you?"
"Sure. Anything. Name it."
"If you get an inspirational memoir out of this," he says, "submit it to someone else."
“Gimme a beer.” His shirt was too clean for a bartender. “Who're you?”
The guy put the beer down like he was afraid it might explode on impact. I didn't like the way he was looking at me. “Strictly speaking,” he said, “I'm the guy that put Franco in the hospital.”
I sucked down half my beer. The old fart didn't scare me. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. I told him coating his manuscript in donkey shit would improve it... guy has the IQ of a gnat. Then I discovered that the pathetic line in his query about supporting his mother-in-law, wife and 14 kids was true. They all showed up at the hospital. With pitchforks.”
His eyes were on the door behind me. Franco's scary wife, Manuela, eclipsed the bar. She was in and out of focus. Was I still on my stool? Things were spinning.
Manuela stood over me now. Her legs looked like two giant cactuses with spiny black hairs sticking out everywhere. She wasn't alone.
“Hello, gorgeous,” she said to me. “Franco's in the hospital with a hoof print on his forehead. We need a replacement. Mama's looking forward to your visit too. She hasn't had a man around since papa died.” The fourteen kids were lifting me up.
Mama Ramirez cackled in my face with breath like last week's frijoles. “Put him in the back of the truck. And tie him down; we wouldn't want him to blow out.”
I tried to struggle, but my body wasn't following orders. To Manuela, the man behind the bar said, “This makes us even.” Then to me he said, “You wanna write this up afterward, I'll have a look at it. Might be good for a laugh.”
Saturday, June 27, 2009
You walk into your favorite bar at one AM, ready to tell your latest tale of woe to Frank, the regular bartender, only to discover that he's recovering from a burro kick, and Evil Editor is filling in for the night. Hope this Evil Editor guy is as compassionate as Frank.
Write the scene.
300 words max; deadline Sunday, 10 AM eastern.
Book Chat 16: G.K. Chesterton/The Man Who Was Thursday
Blogger freddie said...Well, I for one am dying to know what everyone thought of this book!
Blogger Evil Editor said...I read it three weeks ago and don't remember it as well as I should. I do remember the ending seeming weird for what came before it. What happened there?
Blogger Steve said...Well, the ending segues into an overt religious allegory, but you have to expect that kind of thing with Chesterton, don't you?
Blogger Evil Editor said...You tell me. You're a big fan, right?
Blogger Steve said...I will own up to being a big (well, fat) Chesterton fan ...
Blogger Evil Editor said...Do all his books become Christian allegories?
Blogger Steve said...Chesterton was a passionate Catholic and something of a social reformer - his books aren't all Christian allegories, but there's an openly displayed religious feeling in them. "TMWWT" is an extreme case, I think.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...As I got to the end I felt that it was all a set up to present a Christian view of the world, and in particular a Christian view of the problem of evil and suffering. I didn't know enough about Chesterton to expect it. It did remind me of CS Lewis though, at the end of That Hideous Strength.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...The ending was wild and I didn't see it coming. I'd listened to part of this being read on the radio but I didn't remember the ending at all.
Blogger Evil Editor said...Allegorically speaking, who's Sunday? Who's Thursday?
Blogger freddie said...Maybe Sunday represented Christianity?
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...Sunday claims to be the Peace of God - he's a personification of God, surely, especially when he says: Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? which in Christian theology is Christ's words to the disciples when he is talking about his crucifixion. Christians believe that suffering is justified because God was willing to suffer too.
Blogger Evil Editor said...Are the cops disciples? I suck at allegories, obviously.
Blogger freddie said...Don't they become disciples at the end? Can't remember.
Blogger Evil Editor said...Wait, is the elephant Hinduism?
Blogger freddie said...Could be, EE.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I'd be surprised if the elephant was Hinduism as it all came across rather racist to me - very much of its time where the foreigners were regarded as heathen.
Blogger freddie said...I remember the Christian allegory at the end, but mostly I noticed the political aspects.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I think the religious bits creep up on you and suddenly I'm thinking, this is so CS Lewis (who was influenced by Chesterton, I imagine.)
Blogger Evil Editor said...I didn't notice (or at least pay any attention to) anything religious about it until the end. Now I was just thumbing thru the book and read from the bottom of 126 to the middle of 128, and it all seems religious.
Blogger Steve said...Sunday's last words are "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?" ... sounds like a pretty explicit Christ-figure to me.
Blogger Matthew said...Chesty wrote this book to show that goodness is at the heart of every aspect in the world--or so I've heard.
Blogger Evil Editor said...So the Christ figure "recruits" six policemen to the non-existent anarchy league...why?
Blogger Matthew said...I believe it has to do with Jesus and the way he recruited apostles who were initially thought to be bad people.
Blogger Steve said...It's possible that Sunday is setting them up so they can befriend and redeem the only real anarchist in the book - Lucien Gregory. (Who looks like he's going to be the main character for the first couple of chapters, only for Syme to take over.) Hmm. Actually, I just thought of something. Suppose the whole book actually is Lucien Gregory's story? Suppose the nightmare is his nightmare? Just an off-the-wall thought ...
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...Each of them had to learn something by having everyone turn against them. Then they found out that God is good after all so that's all right.
Blogger Steve said...I think Syme/Thursday is more of an everyman figure ... actually, I think all the "anarchists" are. The people they're pretending to be fall into different anarchist types - the poet, the foreign radical, the elderly academic, the aristocratic dilettante - but once the disguises are off, they're all fairly similar in character.
Blogger Robin S. said...I liked the undisguising of the disguises, Steve. I see what you mean about the 'types'. FH- I thought of the entire novel as allegorical for that reason (the learning...) Steve, I like the idea of the Everyman figure - aspects of - as you mentioned. Hadn't thought of that while reading.
Blogger Matthew said...Writers influenced by christianity tend to lace their books with religious allegory--It's very obvious if you know what you're looking for.
Blogger Evil Editor said...Now I'm wondering if other mystery/thrillers are allegories. The Maltese Falcon represents heaven, with the Fat Man as Satan.
Blogger Robin S. said...Ha, EE! What about Rex Stout's stuff?
Blogger Steve said...EE, interesting idea, but something tells me Dashiell Hammett wasn't the kind of guy to write Christian allegories. (At least not deliberately.)
Blogger Robin S. said...I had no idea what to expect with this novel, never having read Chesterton. I was surprised, I suppose, because I always thought of Chesterton as being a writer of mysteries/detective novels - Father Brown - though I haven't read them...
Blogger freddie said...Well, it was supposed to be a nightmare. I read this a few years ago and confess I only got halfway through on this reading. I chose to read a lot of it aloud to the cats, who think it was a strange but enjoyable book.
Blogger Steve said...(Person actually leading discussion feel free to contradict me) ... Reversal of expectations is a Chestertonian theme - take some of his detective stories, where what looks like a crime at first actually turns out to be a blameless and heroic act.
Blogger freddie said...For some reason as I reread the first half of this, I kept thinking of Sherlock Holmes. Must've been the time period.
Blogger Evil Editor said...It was written in the approximate time of Sherlock Holmes, I believe. Didn't Baker Street get mentioned a few times?
Blogger freddie said...I think so, EE. Must've been what triggered it.
Blogger Evil Editor said...I liked the idea of all the days turning out to be infiltrators. And the elephant chase. So it seemed basically to be some kind of comedy mystery. I was expecting a normal resolution.
Blogger Steve said...I think "The Man Who Was Thursday" is very much Chesterton letting himself go - it's a book where things are continually being stood on their heads. There's a lovely word, enantiodromia - the process of things turning into their opposites. "The Man Who Was Thursday" is all about the enantiodromia.
Blogger Evil Editor said...So the main idea is that there is no anarchy group, but everyone's so worried about it that anarchy results.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...On a totally different tack, what's with all the sunsets?
Blogger Freddie said...I wonder if the sunsets and so forth rep'd Genesis and the making of the world?
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...Maybe the sunsets were part of the whole "how lovely the world is" theme. I felt that the book started very slowly and got faster and faster until the end.
Blogger Aimee K. Maher said...If you start a novel with sunsets, and end it with "Can ye drink..." I think of death or the end of a cycle. But not having read it, I'm just throwing that into the pot.
Blogger freddie said...On the cover of mine (a Penguin Classic) is a wonderful painting of Syme—or a man Chesterton used to describe Syme. I thought the part where Syme stole Gregory's seat on the Anarchist Council was hilarious.
Blogger Robin S. said...Freddie- that's where I began to enjoy my reading of the novel - at that meeting where Syme takes on Gregory. It was interesting how Chesterton chose pieces of people - physical characteristics - and with each person it was different. As with Dr. Bull - his eyes gave him away as a non-anarchist, and so they were covered with dark glasses. Mirrors/windows of the soul, that kind of thing...An aside - I thought it was interesting when I read background on this novel (yeah, I wiki'd it) and found Neil Gaiman to be a huge fan. Also to find out it may have been Chesterton who brought Dickens back from the dead, or his fiction anyway, by writing his biography.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...It started terribly slowly for me and gradually picked up speed till it rushed to the end. The "it was all a dream" aspect really annoyed me.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I found the first chapter almost unreadable. It could have done with a good editor telling him to start where something was happening!
Blogger Evil Editor said...The requirement to start with action is a fairly recent phenomenon.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I think I am saying that I can see where starting with the action is a good innovation. I got really tired of skies and sunsets.
Blogger Robin S. said...The 'start with action' thing doesn't appeal to me as an absolute rule, anyway. I want to be in the world right away, and I was with this one, although I wasn't sure what the world was - apt, since it fell out from under the feet all through the novel. Cleverly done.
Blogger freddie said...I'm pretty patient with not starting with action in 19th century novels.
Blogger sylvia said...I didn't notice the lack of action at the beginning. I loved the setting. The frantic pace was ok with me (fit into the nightmare conceptually) but I felt frustrated by the feeling of wait, is he dreaming? I spent the book struggling with "is this real or fantasy" and "is Sunday a man or a demon" and although the ending settled that, I didn't feel any better about it.
Blogger freddie said...I personally enjoy slow set-ups, but that's just me.
Blogger Steve said...I think the increasingly frantic pace of the book is part of the whole "nightmare" thing - reminds me a bit of the Gilbert and Sullivan "Nightmare" song from Iolanthe.
Blogger Robin S. said...I wondered about that, Steve. The pacing. I liked it. Felt like it feels when you're having a bad dream and you keep inserting a bit of consciousness, working to wake up.
Blogger sylvia said...Did you guys have the extract at the end about Chesterton whining about readers not reading the title?
Blogger Robin S. said...I saw the subtitle " A Nightmare" in the 'extract of an article' section at the end of my copy - which I read before beginning the book - but I took it to mean that it could be 'a living nightmare'...
Blogger Steve said...Sylvia - the bit from the "Illustrated London News"? It's in my copy, yes.
Blogger Robin S. said...yeah, sylvia - I read that extract. Then I read the book. But all through the book, I chose, I suppose, to forget about the 'nightmare'.
Blogger sylvia said...Steve: yes, exactly that. "Earnest critics might solve many of their problems about what a book is, merely by discovering what it professes to be." was probably my favourite line in the whole book!
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...My copy didn't have that sylvia and my title was only The Man Who Was Thursday without any subtitle.
Blogger sylvia said...Fairyhedgehog: Oh no! Chesterton would be turning in his grave.
Someone has posted the excerpt, it's particularly ignoring the term nightmare that he's objecting to.
Blogger Evil Editor said...The subtitle isn't on the cover of mine, but it's on the title page.
Blogger Steve said...I think there are elements all the way through that are meant to remind us about that subtitle - deliberately nightmarish things. Like the way the Professor keeps appearing wherever Syme goes, or the way the Marquis doesn't bleed when Syme stabs him in the duel. Even though they're given (semi)rational explanations, there's a definite creepy-surreal touch about them while they're happening.
Blogger sylvia said...Even though they're given (semi)rational explanations, there's a definite creepy-surreal touch about them while they're happening. I guess that's where I struggled. I was happy accepting the story as creepy-surreal but then a (semi) rational explanation infused it with a realism that made me feel that although it all FELT surreal, none of it was. Then I found out that it all was surreal after all.
Blogger Robin S. said...Steve - I see what you mean about the nightmarish elements. They made me uncomfortable sometimes when reading and trying ot find resolution where there was none - being frustrated. Figure that's how I was supposed to feel.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...It was quite a window into the thinking of a white, male Christian at the beginning of the 20th century. Although the exuberant surrealism was not typical, I'm guessing.
Blogger Robin S. said...Exuberant surrealism - perfect way to put it, FH! I kept thinking about walking inside a surreal world, as I was reading.
Blogger freddie said...That was my favorite aspect of the novel. I always put it down feeling like I'd just woken up from a dream.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...Oddly enough, although I don't share the Christian worldview I enjoyed the end of the book much more than the beginning. Maybe because more was happening.
Blogger Robin S. said...I don't share the Christian worldview either, but I did very much enjoy this book, although enjoy may be the wrong word - as I had to work when reading, as I did last month with the Rushdie. And Chesterton has a very singular way of describing people and feelings that I really enjoyed reading, and thinking about.
Blogger Matthew said...Another good example of religious allegory is The Old Man and the Sea
Blogger Evil Editor said...Is the old man Jesus?
Blogger Matthew said...Yes. If you're familiar with the various things Jesus suffered during torture, you can spot the old man experiencing similar things throughout the book (especially his struggle with the marlin as I recall)
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...Jesus had a struggle with a marlin?
Blogger Matthew said...The old man suffered during his struggle with the marlin much in the same way Jesus struggled with torture.
Blogger Evil Editor said...Is the Marlin Judas?
Blogger Matthew said...Umm...it's been awhile but I believe the marlin represented the sins of man--which would include Judas.
Blogger Matthew said...I believe Chesterton put himself in the Thursday novel much in the same way Hemingway put himself into Old Man and the Sea. Chesty and Hemingway show more about themselves in these books than they realize. Hem takes a character similar to himself and portrays him as Jesus--showing his Hubris
Chesty takes a character similar to himself and displays him as an apostle...showing he is humble.
Blogger Robin S. said...Matthew- Never thought about Hemingway writing that book for the reason you mention. He was aging when he wrote it- I always assume he felt himself slipping from life, and wrote accordingly, about 'an old man'...
Blogger Matthew said...I believe Hem's hubris followed him into old age...though I didn't know him personally.
Blogger Robin S. said...I don't think Hemingway suffered from hubris as much as he suffered no fools, and acted and wrote accordingly. But I didn't know him either, so...
Blogger Matthew said...Isn't suffering no fools the same as hubris? The tolerant man seeks to educate. The arrogant man will simply dismiss.
Blogger Evil Editor said...And they both get a fist in their face if they keep it up.
Blogger Robin S. said... Ha! An EE quote to live by. Matthew, In all honesty, I don't think 'suffering no fools' and hubris are related. I'm not an arrogant person (far from it, actually) and I'm a 'suffer no fools' person down to the core. But this is just my opinion on Hemingway.
Blogger Matthew said...It's just a theory. All speculation because we never met him. Second hand accounts can be...revisionist.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I found that by the end I wasn't having to work nearly so hard. When Syme got his clean clothes though, I got stuck on him not having a bath! In his place I'd have really wanted to get out of my torn dirty clothes and soak off the dirt before putting on the domino. (I need to google domino.)
Blogger Evil Editor said...I thought he was dressed like a domino. Sort of like Alice in wonderland characters dressed as playing cards.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I've googled domino. It's a hooded cloak used instead of dressing up at a masquerade. Which is how Tuesday had a dress that separated upon his forehead and fell to his feet I guess. I had trouble picturing that at first.
Blogger sylvia said...Going back to last month's chat, I felt it very clear in this book that the author had no time for women (whereas in the Enchantress of Florence, I felt it was the character) I'm not sure what makes the difference.
Blogger Robin S. said...Women are so rarely mentioned they are rendered unimportant. This is an ascetic novel, I think. Asexual, or at least, not interested in the female.
Blogger sylvia said...Robin: they are only at the start and end, to give the real characters someone to speak at. :)
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...I think Chesterton comes across very much as a man of his time. Many men considered women to be almost a different species from men and even when I was young (NOT in 1908!) I read a lot of books that just didn't go in for women characters. Adventure and science fiction were a male preserve, pretty much.
Blogger sylvia said...even when I was young (NOT in 1908!) I just choked on my coffee! :)
Blogger Steve said...Sylvia, what do you make of Gregory's sister, then?
Blogger sylvia said...Steve: I'm struggling for the right kind of word. She is a sounding post for them to bounce off of and a reason why they should succeed. I suppose, she's a symbol. And it didn't matter - I didn't mean that as a gripe. Just that I was surprised that I took that as Chesterton's attitude rather than Syme's. Last book, I did exactly the opposite.
Blogger Steve said...I'm thinking of the bit where it says:-"... in some indescribable way, she kept recurring like a motive in music through all his wild adventures afterwards." It seems she's meant to be a significant offstage presence in some way ... Must remember, Chesterton was a Catholic; so, is she the Madonna? Or some similar inspirational figure like Dante's Beatrice?
Blogger Evil Editor said...Sounds like she has a bigger role in the planned sequel.
Blogger fairyhedgehog said...Gregory's sister is described at the end as having the great unconscious gravity of a girl. She seems to me to have a very separate existence from the men and yet to be part of the natural beauty and maybe desirable in a chaste, chivalric way. I have to say I prefer our current attitudes to women but that was then.
Blogger sylvia said...It seems she's meant to be a significant offstage presence in some way ... Must remember, Chesterton was a Catholic; so, is she the Madonna? That actually makes a lot of sense. "The name of the girl Syme loves, Rosamond, is derived from 'Rosa Mundi', meaning 'Rose of the World' in Latin, and a title given to Christ. Chesterton would have meant this as a deliberate allusion."
Blogger Steve said...Sylvia, that makes a lot of sense - given Chesterton's sensibilities, it must be the fact that she's offstage that makes the story a nightmare.
Blogger Robin S. said...that line you mention, FH, the last line "having the great unconscious gravity of a girl" was beautifully done. I agree with you, I prefer now to then, not being worked up about females as accessories, but still, it was well done.
Blogger Robin S. said...Agreed about the women. I devoured Holmes stuff when I was younger - it didn't bother me, the roles women were 'assigned'. Same era as Chesterton. It's simply part of the way of the times. But as a woman, I do notice.
Blogger Matthew said...Many books written by men 100 or more years ago are unkind to woman (like The Count of Monte Cristo)
Blogger Steve said...In all honesty, there's a fair bit of racism - unintentional, I'm sure - in some of Chesterton's writing. He was a product of his times, and it was normal for people to talk about "national character" and suchlike
Blogger sylvia said...I should mention this was the first thing that I'd ever read of Chesterton. It wasn't what I expected! But I don't know what I did expect.
Blogger Evil Editor said...My first too. I chalked up the odd stuff to the time it was written, never expecting it to lack a standard ending.
Blogger Steve said...At novel length, Chesterton does tend to go a bit weird - his short stories are more conventionally constructed. Of the novels, I think "Manalive" has a conventional ending - and it's another one full of sudden reversals, though less surreal than "TMWWT".
Blogger sylvia said...There were some very rich descriptions and a number of great lines in the dialogue. These book chats are starting to make me realise that I like books to be one thing or the other (fiction or historical, surreal allegory or crime novel) and I struggle when the lines are fuzzy
Blogger Robin S. said...Oh, Sylvia - I was hoping you'd mention the descriptions and the beautiful lines!
Blogger sylvia said...When I read the first line, I put the book down and smiled. "The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset." It's not just beautiful words and a touching metaphor but I also immediately had a clear image of it. Maybe that led me to expect too much and thus I became hypercritical.
Blogger Robin S. said...A couple of my favorite lines..."Every man knows in his heart," he said, "that nothing is worth doing." "Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss bewteeen isolation and having one ally." Two of my favorite lines in the novel.
Blogger sylvia said...“He felt a strange and vivid value in all the earth around him, in the grass under his feet; he felt the love of life in all living things.”
Blogger Evil Editor said...He sounds really annoying.
Blogger Robin S. said...Sylvia, I love the line you chose - and the opening line, as you mentioned, is perfect for more than one reason.
Blogger Steve said...The philosophical policeman gets one of my favourite lines of all time: "Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property, that they might more perfectly respect it."
Blogger sylvia said...Steve: I agree, I loved that line!
Blogger Evil Editor said...Yes, great line.
Blogger Robin S. said...Steve - agreed. That one was instant classic stuff.
Blogger Robin S. said...I was gonna ask what we talked about last time. Steve, you've read Chesterton but I don't think others have. Would you have read this book if not for the chat series? I wouldn't have, most probably, and I'm glad I did.
Blogger sylvia said...Hmm, I might have read this one, as I've always been curious about Chesterton. I probably would have finished it too; it's a very fast read. The last one, I probably would have put down and not bothered to pick up again.
Blogger Steve said...I can't remember when I first read "The Man Who Was Thursday" - I re-read it for the session, obviously. (And I think the chat's given me a better understanding of it, which is good. And I got to use "enantiodromia" in a sentence, which is also good.) I'm kind of looking forward to more of these things, preferably with books I haven't read - I can stand having my outlook broadened!
Friday, June 26, 2009
She could flee back into school for a bathroom. Of course, the sharks had already scented her blood. Just crossing her arms to cover her chest would be like opening a vein into the water. She was never going to live this down. Poetry stood up straight.
“Could I have your attention, please?”
She already had everyone’s attention; the gigglers, the whisperers, the nice kids cringing in sympathy. Even the man across the street was staring.
“Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please.” Calmly, without looking down, she began working on her shirt. “Public viewing hours for Poetry Wu’s Wondrous Heaving Bosom are now over.”
It was then that she heard a popping noise from her waistband and felt a sudden draught round her legs. She rolled her eyes. The jeans had proved just as shoddy as the shirt, and now Poetry Wu's Amazing Jiggling Ass was open to the public.
One thing at a time, she thought. She concentrated on the shirt and tried to ignore the increasingly hysterical voice at the back of her mind - the one that kept reminding her she'd bought the underwear on special at Wal-Mart too.
Opening: Lianne.....Continuation: Steve
Thursday, June 25, 2009
EE, here's a news article you might find interesting. In short, research shows people are more amenable to ideas spoken into their right ear: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Clever, Bill. But according to the article, the evidence is the number of cigarettes bummed per ear, along with the fact that what goes in the right ear is processed by the logical side of the brain. But the way I see it, if someone tries to bum a cigarette, the logical side of your brain will assume that if you give him the cigarette he'll go away. If someone tries to pitch you a manuscript, the logical side of the brain will assume that if you buy the manuscript, you'll never be rid of him. Thus, a pitch should go to the left ear, where it will be processed by the illogical side of the brain, the only side that might consider buying it.
From Hopkins to Homeless
1. Now a sophomore in college, Donna Williams continues to work backward through the encyclopedia to learn about life, love, and spelling -- and gets her first job: baking crumpets at the Mad Duchess, a surreal cafe frequented by passionate young men who all look like Che Guevera.
2. Tired of inspirational stories about homeless guys becoming concert violinists and CEOs? Then you'll love this story of a doctor who threw away a promising career. Prescription forgery, suicide attempts, drug addiction and car crashes take him from respected doctor to homeless guy, and then to rock bottom: homeless guy writing a book.
3. When Bailey Barron discovers she's adopted, she drops out of Johns Hopkins medical school to experience the world of her homeless biological father. What she finds is a world filled with danger, hunger, disrespect and filth. But hey, it's got interning beat by a mile.
4. The true story of Dr. Shereen Martin, who went from Assistant Professor of Wymyn's studies at Johns Hopkins to homeless when her jealous rivals for the attention of biologist Dr. Lynn Morgan exposed her groundbreaking work on the plight of lesbian opticians in Baltimore as a total fabrication.
5. Dr. Jonathan Rydell was a brilliant plastic surgeon whose life fell apart. Alcohol, gambling, and the loss of his medical license, friends and family, are followed by a fall into homeless despair. But when developers plan to bulldoze the shelter and put up a high-rise condo building, Rydell springs into action.
6. Ian Adams, fired from teaching at prestigious Johns Hopkins medical school, demonstrates that even hobos can perform brain surgery. But can he prove his former students aren't behind the recent kidney thefts?
I am currently respectfully seeking representation for the publication of my autobiography, “From Hopkins to Homeless: My True Story of Drug Addiction”. This book addresses the disease of addiction and the process of recovery by providing a unique, thought provoking, and inspirational insight [through suffering, sacrifice, and redemption] [Those brackets should be parentheses; otherwise readers will think I put them there, and wonder what's so funny.] into the life cycle of addiction as experienced by a severe prescription addict [myself]. [Those brackets can stay, as that's pretty funny.] This book will have approximately 275 [8.5” x 5.5”] pages [Are you printing your manuscript on 8.5" x 5.5" paper, or have you already chosen the font and font size and book dimensions the publisher is to use?] divided into 12 chapters, 15 appendixes and 12 (if not cost prohibitive) pictures and illustrations. [When a former doctor offers to send me fifteen appendixes, I start to worry about where he's getting them.]
[Appendix 1: Possible side effects of taking six oxycontin tablets a day.
Appendix 2: Baltimore Restaurants with the best dumpster fare.
Appendix 3: Johns Hopkins nurses who put out when you're a doctor, but not when you're a homeless guy.
Appendix 4: Unrealistic things that have happened on House.
Appendix 5: My favorite bridges for sleeping under.
Appendix 6: Why killing other homeless guys and selling their organs isn't the best path back to respectability.
Appendix 7: How the hell did you come up with material for fifteen appendixes?
Appendix 8: Things doctors do with removed appendixes (includes recipes).
Appendix 9: Baltimore area pharmacists with lax moral standards.
Appendix 10: Johns Hopkins doctors who are always high but haven't been caught yet.
Appendix 11: Why carjacking people as they pull away from the drive-thru at CVS is a bad idea.
Appendix 12: How you can get drugs to me.
Appendix 13: Heroin vs. aspirin: A doctor's surprising perspective.
Appendix 14: Christ, it looks like I'm gonna make it to fifteen after all.
Appendix 15: Literary agents that refused to take me on just because I'm a homeless guy.]
Starting in my Doctorate program in Respiratory Medicine and ending homeless on the streets, addiction crept into my life [It wasn't addiction that was homeless; it was you. ...on the streets, I allowed addiction to creep into...] and took from me my possessions, my profession, my loved ones, and my sanity. [If addiction doesn't take your sanity, trying to make it as a writer surely will.] One day I was a respected well-known Senior Medicinal Aerosol Scientist lecturing all over the world, and next I was being arrested at a medical conference in Atlanta for forging a prescription earlier that day. [Hey, who doesn't need a few Valiums when he's about to talk in front of his peers while high on Xanax?] The police waited until I finished my lecture, approached me, put me in handcuffs, and led me through the conference hall while all my colleagues were looking at me in utter disbelief.
[Cop 1: We should at least let him finish his lecture before we arrest him.
Cop 2: Are you kidding? If he goes on another five minutes we'll all be
This book describes all of the incidents that I experienced, [All of them?] (some very dark and disturbing), during my 9 year journey/battle from addiction to sobriety and recovery. From 3 suicide attempts, 2 roll over car crashes, 15 toxic overdoses [each of which is described in detail in its own appendix], having a gun put to my head and many more. It is amazing to me that I did not die. I feel I still have something I need to accomplish. I have kept all supporting documents during my addiction to prove my book is an accurate and factual account of my life as an addict. I knew one day it would be a remarkable story and at the same time have great potential to provide hope, advice, guidance, and assistance [Those last three are pretty much all the same thing.] to other addicts seeking sobriety and long term recovery.
My credentials and qualifications for writing this book include:
Ø For nine years I experienced every aspect of being an addict trying to regain my sobriety in a system that is overworked, under funded, and not always a priority to assist those addicts who truly want help.
Ø Being school orientated, for years I researched addiction aggressively to find an answer. I became very educated about this disease but realized there is no textbook answer and I was going to have to trust people I did not know to save my life.
Ø A Master’s degree and required thesis in respiratory medicine.
Ø Nine peer reviewed publications in various medical journals.
Ø Fifty-five medical papers published and presented at the numerous medical conferences that took place every year.
Ø Contributing author, (in one chapter), in the book, “Inhalations Aerosols”, edited by Anthony Hickey. [That was you?]
To help you decide if you might be interested in representing my book, I can send the following immediately upon your request: My Promotion Plan, My Curriculum Vitae, My Competition Analysis, and a Proposal of a possible subsequent book taken from daily journals and experiences in my year long residential treatment.
Thank you for your generous time. I eagerly await your response and look forward to hearing from you soon. I have enclosed a SASE for your convenience.
It's too long. You don't need to tell the publisher the page count, paper size, number of chapters/appendixes. The word count will do.
You don't need to list your qualifications. It's obvious from your description that you experienced the events in the book, which is your first qualification. The other items on your list aren't important qualifications for the writing of an autobiography.
I'm not sure I'd call it an autobiography, as it has a narrow focus.
If the appendixes contain all the documentation that proves you were an addict, you don't need that in your book. You may need it to get on Oprah, as she's probably being careful about that stuff these days.
The query details your fall, but as you claim the book will aid other addicts (those who read books, anyway) you might want to tell us how far back you've come. Do you have a home, a job, a family? Do you help the homeless? Show that ultimately it's an inspirational story.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Etan, however, had many hours to go before he would give up for the night and steal a few hours of sleep. In the morning, he would return to his studies in the academy before sneaking down to the basement again to resume his surreptitious research.
The scholar’s subject, Tiruces, was one of the most influential scholars of history and a favorite subject of professors and students, and as such, was not a subject most kept secret. During his lifetime and even now he was renowned for his lectures and writings on government and virtues of man. He was also one of founding fathers of Anaran and it had been endlessly argued, and largely agreed upon, that without him the Republic would have never been born.
Zzzz...Zzzz...Hmm? What the--? I came here to write a continuation, but I must have dozed off. Let's see, where was I?
Though it was long postulated that the origins of Tiruces' erudite disquisitions lay in his draconian upbringing, contemporary academicians have recently advanced the hypothesisqzxqw ...Zzzz.
Opening: Vivian Whetham.....Continuation: Matthew
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Don't Forget the Death Ray
1. A team of astronauts arrive in a new world, only to discover the atmosphere is full of poppy-gas that adversely affects their cognition and makes them vulnerable to kidnap by flying monkeys, green women, and singing midgets.
2. The ultimate reference work on how to write comic books. Includes invaluable advice like: Don't put an alien's third eye on the back of his head; Never make a spandex costume pink; and of course . . . Don't Forget the Death Ray.
3. All mad scientist Lysander Schultz wants to do is take over one, maybe two continents so his mother will finally stop complaining he's never accomplished anything. But then Mama Schultz gets wind of the plot and decides her baby boy can't possibly do it without her assistance...
4. What happens to megalomaniacal arch-villains whose powers fade as they proceed into their golden years and find they can no longer remember exactly what they were going to do with the world once they dominated it? This is the story of a most unusual assisted-care facility where, more often than not, weapons of mass destruction are found in the refrigerator rather than in that tray on the dresser where they belong.
5. Ironic hipster Lance McAllister's blog, "Don't Forget The Death-Ray," is a send-up of science fiction cliches and alien abductions. It's all fun and games, until the Reticulons show up and the anal probes start.
6. Zorpha Qv'naul has had to deal with one too many creeps who think, just because they paid for immersion in the nutrient vats, she should drop her carapace and become brood-host to their natal swarm. So she's written a handbook of practical advice for the single female tentaculoid playing the dating game on Eta Horologii IV.
I'd like to sell a fun and informative book about how to write superhero novels and comic books. Don't Forget the Death-Ray! would be aimed at readers aged 13-18.
My main writing credential is that I run Superhero Nation, a writing advice website that has had 150,000 readers in the past two years. My superhero writing advice is credible and effective. [Evil Editor is a good name for a superhero who gives writing advice (though my advice is incredible and ineffective). And thanks to my laser vision I can also battle super villains. Here are my arch-enemies:]
In addition, I have three years of experience writing for college newspapers.
I am better-suited to reach teen readers than most of the authors currently writing in this field. Most of them are 40-something or 50-something comic book writers. They have experience that would be absolutely critical to older readers, but teen readers also value relatability. [Better to say you are well-suited because teens relate to you, than to say you are better-suited and then put down the forty-somethings. You may be sending this to someone who's not so young.] I believe that the success of my website is evidence of that. [Actually, it's evidence that the same twelve people visit your site 20 times every day. And I should know.] As a college senior myself, I relate to teens very easily. Additionally, the experience I have-- winning a grant to write a superhero novel manuscript-- is more relevant to young readers. I'm very familiar with the ground-level of the industry and how to succeed as a newcomer. [Did you succeed as a newcomer?] In contrast, most competing authors broke into the industry twenty or thirty years ago. [As shown in the following chart, old people are behind the times when it comes to superhero powers:
Old Superheroes (low relatability)
Green Arrow ................. Good at archery
Aquaman .......................Can hold breath a long time
Spiderman ....................Senses danger
Mr. Fantastic ............... Can stretch really far
Silver Surfer .................Can surf without water
New Superheroes (high relatability)
Mall Babe ....................Expert shopper
The Controller..............Really fast thumbs
Guitar Hero .................Really fast fingers
The Idol .......................Karaoke Master
Please let me know if you would like me to send a proposal. I can be reached at [e-mail address] or [phone number.] [Asking if they want a proposal is inviting them to say no. A proposal is not so long that you shouldn't just send it. What is it, two or three chapters to give them an idea what your book is like? It's the least you can send, as your query letter tells them nothing about what your book is like.]
Thanks for your time and consideration.
There's nothing about your book in the letter. The entire thing is your credentials. And you don't have any.
If you don't have the credentials of others in your field, your strategy should not be to send a query that mainly states why your lack of credentials is actually a plus; your strategy should be to show that your book is so creative and original it shines above other works in the field. Give an example or two of your book relating to teens in a way that will make teens prefer your book to others.
A nonfiction book doesn't need to be finished, but unless you have credentials, you need to finish some of it and send it on to demonstrate that you've got the goods.
The number of thirteen-year-olds who can (and want to) write a decent novel, with or without your advice, is limited. Maybe you should just do comic books.