Wednesday, August 19, 2009


That title would be on account I almost forgot to type something in here today. I'm skipping a lot of stuff otherwise today. it's therapeutic!


Need to get to that. I work better on my big computer, which I'm too lazy to set up. It's in a bag right next to my sleeping abode.

Currently typing on 8" netbook instead of my 17" sleeping beast.

Secret Agent Obsession

I've been distracted by the 'Are you Hooked' Secret Agent contest over on MSFV - Right here.

It's one of those compulsion things. I'm compulsed. :(

I try to comment on all of the entries and then I sit back to see if I was right. The point is learning from others + agent what works and what doesn't. I haven't posted snippets in ages - partly because I don't have anything ready that isn't already out there (ahem, Swapped).

The other reason is freakily conspiratorial, which is why I'll bite my tongue and hide it in the closet where nobody will notice it. <- reason, not tongue.

What works this time around?

I'm kinda of the opinion that a lot doesn't work. Even though I said 'hooked' to a lot of the entries, I'm conscious of the cold fact that if it were me on my own time... odds are I wouldn't really be hooked. That's partly because I'm a finicky reader, but also I'm not sure of the marketability of a lot of these novels, even if the writing is good.

I suppose that explains why such a large quantity of queries get rejected by the gods (agents). Because it's hard to feel excited about a project coming in, if it doesn't stand out. When you get into the YA and Urbfa trying to get published, the main thing that comes to mind is a lot of the plots start to sound the same. Or the ones that are different and unique are a little too off the wall and possibly nonsaleable.


Something else that bothers me about the contests lately are the disregard for the rules displayed by the people subbing material. There are set rules about genres, length, responding negatively to critters, critting anonymously... and people still break those rules. I don't know what they are hoping to gain. It's just rude.


One more thing. This has to do with a discussion of rules (not related to MSFV contest) over at workshop. It gets a little frustrating how some people are convinced that the gods (agents and eds) are out to bag their souls and dispose of them via the septic tank only to be discovered years later by vomiting septic tank cleaning out guy (this actually happened, bion). Or sometimes they rant about how Twilight and HP authors break the rules and make ZILLIONS. Or whatever.

The thing that's frustrating is these people don't see the mistakes in their own work. They don't keep themselves informed! Which is so easy nowadays, because all agents make themselves available on every social medium possible.

Take mss lengths for example. The agents don't have a secret society where they have secret rules that only special people get to hear in a most secret fashion (coincidentally in that closet where I'm keeping all my conspiratorial theories). They freely offer advice to all aspyauthors to chop chop chop chop down to 120K or less.

This is the reason why you should not envy those people during NANO who write 300K + word novels in the month. Just tell yourself that those people are going to have to sit their chair-shaped (nano side effect) butts down and cut 200K out of that finished novel. Relish their horror and don't do as they do.

Was having a discussion somewhere with somebody about chopping 60K words from their novel. Another person came on and bragged about how they'd chopped their novel down to 150K and seemed confident that the novel was thus perfect and they would get published with that word quantity.

If that person were studying the market and eavesdropping at every single medium possible, s/he would know they have more chopping to do before the mss is perfect for querying.

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