This months tempest in a tea-cup is based on the thin skin of people who might be the topic of discussion. That's right ladies, gentlemen, writers and readers of all ages, we're talking Queryfail. A great summary of the event is posted by Jim MacDonald over at Making Light, and while there's not much to be said about the point of the event that isn't summed up by Colleen Lindsay's early posts on it


Colleen_Lindsay: Remember, if you’re participating in #Queryfail Day to a.) use the #queryfail tag, and

b.) NO PERSONAL IDENTIFIERS from queries. #queryfail


Colleen_Lindsay: It’s about educating, not about being mean! =) #queryfail

This was repeated more than once. And yet, several people got upset about it. Why, who knows. From the admittedly light skimming I did, it looked the usual offal about "My original idea might be stolen!!!!EventyANGST!!!111!!" and the "How dare you mention that I'm not perfect!" crap.

News flash: There are no original stories left, haven't been seen before the written word. There are original executions, but anyone who states that such an execution could be compromised not by a multi-page examination of the text of a book, but by a one hundred forty character (or less) riff on the query is arguing from a well emoted out position.

Were their direct quotes used? Of course there were, they make the best examples, and of course the only people who might be able to identify the writer of any particular query by a one sentence quote are: 1) The writer, 2) other professionals that have seen the query and 3) anyone the writer may have bounced their query off before dispatching it to the Stygian depths of an agent/editors inbox. So how is this public humiliation? It isn't. The agents and editors who might have or might in the future see it will probably reject it or have for the same reason(s). Your friends or family members are either not using a large enough cluebat, or you're just not asking the right questions to get the answers and or help you need.

What Queryfail did was take not just the people who are actively seeking improvement and hold them up as an example, but take some things from a bit further down the food chain. Most of the people who take part in activities like Ms Snark once ran, are close to being at the right level, and that makes it harder (at least for me) to see the difference between right and almost right. I've learned more about good writing from reading bad, bad writing than from reading the cream of the crop. Not because there isn't stuff to learn in the great writing but because the bad stuff is usually disjointed enough to stick out where as good writing is nearly invisible.

I may or may not do something similar to queryfail in the future, but if i do it is educationally intended and if you think I'm being mean, really ask my (real) friends they can set you straight.
onyxhawke: (Braaaaaains)
( Mar. 7th, 2009 12:06 am)
Not that I've been around much lately, but expect me not to be reading anyone's LJ for a few days until the current round of "X is a racist. Y is a bigot. Z is a fathead just stirring shit up is over." There are two reasons for this:
1) Drama is a nice thing to major in during college, but not one of those things I'm interested in.
2) I doubt anyone on either any side of the debate mindless emotional maelstrom of nonsense wants me to speak the truth at them, or will appreciate it when they hear it.
I'm not sure I'll ever figure out the publishing industry. Leaving aside some of the arcane intricacies of how things are paid for, and the interesting paths a book may take from writer to publisher to book stores, there are all sorts of weird things going on. The latest and at least to me most perplexing are the recent decisions by two name game creators to start and discontinue their non gaming publications. Wizards of the Coast started their imprint, and not long later it went poof. Games Workshop started their imprint a bit longer ago, and has had some really entertaining series and works, and yet they've decided that despite being a money earner, It just isn't something they wish to continue. So, Solaris is up for sale.

Because of the "credit crunch" that has precipitated the whole economic slowdown around the world, If someone wants to buy them they will probably have to pay in cash or have an enormous amount of brownie points stored up with some bank. Given the number of publishers who have official, or unofficial buying freezes, this probably makes for a very short list. Either way, this likely means either a major change, or extinction of a brand that is entertaining, and well run.

Given the well documented layoffs, and reorganizations of major publishers, i can't see anyone who has an SF/F imprint taking on Solaris and doing the right thing by making it mostly or completely autonomous. It's just not enough a part of human nature for someone to make a purchase that large and then leave it alone. Either favors will be called in, or some bean counter will wish for a more profitable editorial team (read less expensive) or they will decide to move the imprint to the US or Germany, or Russia or wherever and lose people that way. On a small team that already lost a key person to Angry Robot recently, those one or two people lost could have a huge impact on the product.

Who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and someone will buy them and take a hands off approach, or Games Workshop will decide that as good as the goose might taste the eggs are a nicer thing to have overall. Either way I wish the Solaris team, and their authors good luck wherever the land.

onyxhawke: (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2009 01:14 pm)
Facebook's current terms of service give them the right to do what they wish with any content you post for as long as you leave it up. This means your stories, pictures, wall conversations and comments on other peoples notes. I've already stopped feeding my LiveJournal into Facebook and won't restore it until they have sensible, and non preadatory TOS's. More here.
Tags:




If so, revising may be a good idea.

Thank you Darius.

This video reminded me of some of the stories I've seen that have rather sharply juxtaposed elements, some working well, some working horribly most working for only a very small slice of the market. I suspect this video falls into one of the latter to categories.


Thanks Mel

The human mind is capable of doing amazing things. When you think of if, it's rather amazing we haven't made more technological advances. The first airplane was designed without the aid of computers, and the general principles of aerodynamics are not much changed since that time. Someone decided that the funny stuff growing in a petri dish might make a real good medicine, and it has. Both of these were the results of specialized thinking. General thinking though is what has lead to the far ranging works of Leonardo da Vinci and his contributions not just to art, but to engineering, mathematics, botany and more. Ben Franklin was another generalist contributing in social and physical sciences.
cut for length and pics ).
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Oct. 28th, 2008 06:12 pm)
I really do wonder how it is that I, or any agent or editor is expected to believe that some people believe they deserve to be read when they can't even put the energy into finding out the basics of submission. Never mind following all of them in their varied and sometimes insane variations.
Just learning them. There are some that there is no excuse for missing. They aren't hard. They don't require much effort. They don't even require you to learn how to program computers. It's just clicking a few icons in your word processor.

Somethings everyone should look into when preparing a manuscript for submission:
  • Page numbering
  • Margin width
  • Standard Fonts
  • Title Page
  • Header content
  • font size
Those are the basics. Honestly. If you can't get these close enough to violate a sexual harassment policy just give up. Really, if you can't figure these out you don't have the ability to understand the written language well enough to produce anything viable with it.

Cover letters are a separate art, writing a good novel is another separate art. Damn near anyone can string together 80,000 to 160,000 words and call it a novel. It might or might not be good. Sturgeon who was an unrepentant fluffy bunny optimist in my book was wrong or lived a charmed life. But even if you can't write a novel that even a 100 people would enjoy reading, you aren't alone. Not to mention it takes longer to type 1000 words than it does to figure out how to format them. It takes less time to format them properly than it does to find them. So quite frankly there really is no excuse for failing to do so. Arrogance and laziness are not valid reasons, nor is ignorance.

Really, if you can't reason well enough to know how to do simple things, how in the world do you expect anyone to believe you can write believable characters, craft a plot that is well executed, write dialog that is effective, and use description like a scalpel and not an bulldozer? This is like expecting someone who fails their drivers license test twelve times to be able to safely pilot a fighter jet.

onyxhawke: (Braaaaaains)
( Aug. 25th, 2008 07:47 am)
For those of you on Facebook who have friended me, how hard is it to find my occupation? Or intuit it? I had a post in a group that shall remain nameless deleted because they said there was no mention of my being an agent in my profile.
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