Nathan Bransford, Author

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Open Thread

Curling iron drama on the Hills...

Borders on the ropes...

March Madness!!!

The thread is yours. We can only hope that this open thread is as crazy as the last.


Adaora A. said...

What would happen if we all had our own graviational pull? Nah I'm just messing around.

Who esle is currently suffering from "broke, tired and school work over my head" syndrome, thanks to university? Here the sounds of the ambulances ringing in my ears right about now.

ManiacScribbler said...

Adaora a.: I have so got the feeling of impending doom thanks to the end of my first year of university...Finals are sooooo close here!
Gravitational pull? That would be awesome!
Man, Nathan, only 20 minutes to get three comments! I'm glad I was here right after the post was up.

Hey, any suggestions on how to survive homesickness for one more month?

Meggy said...

Lauren, Lauren, Lauren....

I wouldn't have given her another dress if I was Designer Dude.

Anonymous said...

broke tired and school work over my head? oh yes. it's finals week. argh! (okay, high school finals, so I can't complain that much. but ap classes!) at least spring break is one and a half days away!

Dave F. said...

Scholastic and RL Stine are re-launching Goosebumps with a new set of stories.

Nathan Bransford said...

Seriously. And how about Spencer dropping in on La Casa Heidi? That dinner conversation -- IN FRONT OF PARENTS -- was priceless.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Yeah, we love open threads! Anarchy rules!

I'll quiet down now. All the March winds today have addled my brains.

ManiacScribbler said...

Anon: I know the feeling of high school finals...I think that they are sort of more pressuring, because once you're in a post-secondary, you're in (as long as you still keep your grades up once you're there)...but acceptance depends on those finals.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

It's a big day in the world of romance.

Rita and Golden Heart finalists get the call today, and the list is published tomorrow.

Just thought I'd share.

It's been a crazy day on romance blogs.

Nathan Bransford said...


On that note I should mention that I'll be attending RWA this year.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

Well you live right next door! Of course you're going. Dang it! You'd have been fun to meet.

I'm not :( I'm waiting for NY... I'm doing NJ's conference in October.

ManiacScribbler said...

And by the way, about the university I'm in? Yeah, they're not going to allow students to pay tuition with their credit cards anymore...Which I don't totally understand (beyond the fact that it will save them quite a bit of money...I wonder if I'll ever see any of it?).

Jan said...

Nathan how kind of you to give open thread ... I just returned from two weeks in Italy and I completed a total revision on my first novel.

It was the most amazing thing - I really understand why so many writers through history have written in Rome. It's a fabulous place.

It's the first time I have traveled abroad and I did it alone. My brave husband let me spend my 39th birthday there and he and the kids stayed behind. I can't wait to take them back.

I also came up with a great story line or two that I'm working on. So many books to come may have been created in Italy.

Can't wait to see the critiques of the brave ones who entered your query critique

Happy Tuesday all - and to those of you longing for Spring Break (as a former Community College instructor for 10 years) Good Luck on your finals and enjoy your time off!


John said...

Has anyone here tried working with the Amazon DTP ebook product/initiative/(whatever the hey they call it)? Any word-of-mouth reports, experiences? Success stories, like people who went that route (either with Amazon or elsewhere) and ended up with megabucks and/or major agency representation for one or more "real" books?

And Nathan, if you're listening: How do agents feel about ebooks? Having plain-old "published" one doesn't seem like that big a deal, per se. But is there some level of success that would get an agent's attention?

Cam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adaora A. said...

@ Maniac - I've gotta confess; the gravitational pull thing wasn't my idea. It's actually from Rupert Grint who play's Ron Weasley. He told it to Daniel Radcliffe who plays HP. I'm terrible.
Oh really? Hang in there. It doesn't get easier but you adjust to it.

I've got a good joke that is all mine. It has to do with my top places for shopping:

What's the difference between British people and Australian people?

One says "loads" and the other says "heaps."

Whenever I see a THE HILLS commercial spot I think of a particular blog entry of yours Nathan. Remember when you said how cool it could be if you would be able to answer every question or comment with,

"sweet, now get out of my car."

I'm pretty sure I laughed for 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

@ jan - I love Italy! you're so lucky to have just been there! i've been there a couple times and it's just awesome. i can feel that roman sun... glad you had a good time!

Cam said...

Hi All,
Not suffering from the broke, tired, and school work over my head syndrome (good luck adora a.), but I am curious if anyone else out there writes -- in your day job -- for good, old-fashioned newspapers? Wondering if you, too, are feeling sqeezed by newsroom staff cuts and what you plan to do about it...
(who's been sneezing for nine hours straight with allergies. Could it be because of the same 'March winds' wanda b. wrote of? As a result of the sneezing, this post is my only writing today. Achoo!)

Meggy said...

Nathan, didn't you love the facial expressions Heidi's dad made?

Nathan Bransford said...


An agent's feeling about an e-book tends to vary with the genre, although certainly success in any platform is cause for taking a closer look. But as with any query, it's all about the project you're querying with.


Heidi's dad's expressions were seriously priceless. He looked like the Grim Reaper had just shown up.

natalie said...

My brother said he was 99.9 percent sure the smoking guitar player who took Lauren out on the vespa spoke very little english. And watching it with that in mind, that whole part of the show was kind of comical. She would say things to him and he would just kind of stare. And on that note, what is up with Lauren and the ShePratt becoming friends?! It's too intense.

Nadine said...

Regarding the curling iron - instead of worrying she had nothing to wear to the ball, shouldn't Lauren be a little more concerned that she just ruined a designer dress? Were the dresses on loan? Cause if so, she had a little bit of explaining to do.

Ulysses said...

Everyone has their own gravitational pull: proportional to their mass and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them and the object in question.

My university days are long behind me, but my majors were physics and astronomy and some scars never heal.

Has anyone ever tried to throw out a garbage can?

Anonymous said...

Ah Open Thread. Does anyone here Twitter? I would love to follow some fellow writers.

ManiacScribbler said...

Thanks, adaora. I wish I spring break right now, but I had a long reading week in Feb. Oh well.
Still, the gravitational pull thing is awesome...Hey, artists always steal the best things. ;) Michelangelo took many ideas from DaVinci for the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Haha (I'm studying that in Art History right now.)
@ jan: I really want to go to Italy right now! What did you see there?
@ Ulysses: My dad's accidentally thrown out a garbage can. Haha (And I'm so glad that I'm not in the sciences! That would scar me more than certain John Wilmot poems.)

Kim said...

What in the world did I miss?

Lauren burned a dress?
Please tell me Heidi sent Spencer back to CA.
Did Heidi's lips looked artificially plumped to anyone else?

And that Brody.

I missed the second half of the show - I'm going to try for the rerun tonight.

Allison said...

adaora said:
What's the difference between British people and Australian people?

One says "loads" and the other says "heaps."

True. But if you're really fair dinkum, you go for "big mobs" instead...

Adaora A. said...

@maniac - No problem! I'm pleased to be of service to you. True! Never let it be said that I cheat!Art history sounds very interesting.

@Cam- Thanks!

Captain Ron said...

Nathan... My question is: Why is it so necessary to have a standardized query letter? Is the query letter not an example of the writer's skill, style and ability to capture an audience? By demanding a specific format, the agent eliminates his best resource for evaluating the writer.

Your blog scares the wannabes into duplicating someone’s work if they assert a prayer of having their work published. Tell me this… How does an agent know if a letter doesn’t follow a particular protocol if it isn’t read? The way I see it; if it’s descriptive enough, includes all necessary data, and doesn’t waste anyone’s time, who cares if it’s a page or a page and a half? Is an agent so busy that he can’t appreciate understanding something clearly at the expense of a paragraph or two?

A book is often a composition involving years of someone’s efforts, and in many instances, worthy of publication. The writer’s query letter will often reflect the exact style of presentation. Read it… If it hooks you, the writer can hook a reader… If it’s believable to you, the story will probably be believable to the reader… If the presentation were explicable, despite the format, why would an agent disdainfully reject it?

ManiacScribbler said...

@ adaora: Haha. No worries. ^^
(No, I don't write this when I'm actually presenting my work for query letters or school work.)
Art History is so totally awesome! I'm loving the course, even though it's at 8 in the morning Tues Thurs...Which means 6 am mornings for me those days. Haha
Also, about the differences between British and Australians; we were asked to describe Canadians (in History) without using any references to Americans. So, I put up my hand and said "Eh?" And the prof was like, "Fair enough". It was awesome!
And that was a really rambling post...I love rambling in that sort of thing. Haha

Nathan Bransford said...

captain ron-

Short of advocating a certain length and pointing out some dos and don'ts, I don't think I've ever suggested a "standardized" query.

The thing about page and a half queries, though, is that they just don't usually need to be that long. And if they don't need to be that long, it usually means the author didn't take the time to tighten it. And that, in turn, usually means the author didn't take enough time to write it.

Believe me, I'm the last person to want to stifle someone's creativity. But there's also something to be said for respecting the process and knowing the industry conventions. An aspiring author is going to need more than just talent alone to succeed as a writer, might as well start now.

JaxPop said...

Adaora - Hmmph. 'Gravitational Pull' - Wait'll you get to be my age - you'll see the results of GP!

Tough time in school? - Best of Luck. The last time I had to take a test - I failed it. 5 times. It was the eye exam to get my Florida license, 3 years ago. How the hell did I know I couldn't see. I don't have a chart on my windshield anyway. (& lets talk about these word verification things - I never get them right on the first try either)

Ulysses - Trying to throw out a trash can is impossible. This always pisses me off since the reason it needs to be trashed is because of the abuse inflicted on it by the same guys you want to take it away. Forget signs. Best advice, drop it off in front of a neighbor's house (one that you don't know) - I guarantee you'll see that sucker get 3 more years out of it.

Writing? - How the hell can I write when I'm reading these damn blogs?

ManiacScribbler said...

@jaxpop: Hey, you're writing blog comments! What more could you want? ;)
I'm totally lurking when I should be working on a History paper...But my brain is too full of Galileo already!

Ulysses said...

maniacscribbler: I'm a Canadian. I don't say "Eh?" I admit to liking back bacon and doughnuts, but I don't drink (even beer). A Canadian (without reference to the U.S.): A Brit who watches too much television. And one's brain can never be too full of Galileo. Copernicus, yes, but never Galileo.

jaxpop: You have my admiration, and in the years to come my neighbours (Canadian spelling) will have reason to hate you.

captain ron: "Format?" Is there a format?

There's a formula that increases the likelyhood of success, but I wouldn't call that a format: a good hook up front to grab interest right away, a short outline of major characters and plot points, and a few words at the end about your previous credits.

Wrap it up in polite professionalism, and that's it.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

I doubt an agent would reject anything that hooked them. However, I know that if I had nearly a thousand queries a week to evaluate each and every week of the year, in addition to the work that actually puts money in my bank account (negotiating contracts, dealing with editors and publishers, and advocating for writers who are already clients, etc.) I would waste no time on ones that didn't hook me right away.

If you have been rejected (repeatedly?) with disdain, I humbly paraphrase the words of Shakespeare: "the fault lies not in the agents, but in our queries."

Furious D said...

Right now, I'm glad my TV doesn't get The Hills.

I used to have my own gravitational pull, then I lost some weight.

(insert drum-shot)

Broke, tired, and over my head... aaah, the sweet innocence of university days.

ManiacScribbler said...

Ulysses: Haha. I'm Canadian, too, and I use "like" more than I use eh...Though I do like the word every one in awhile, eh? Sorry...Couldn't resist.
My friend's doing Copernicus; and once you know where Galileo's finger is preserved, you know a little bit too much, I think. But the paper's almost done, so I'm happy. (Part of the problem is that I've read too much about just his trials. Blergh.)
So, that's my story right now. I'm going to continue to lurk and work sporadically on my history paper...Haha

Adaora A. said...

@maniac - I once signed up for an 8 am class at my uni. I immediately dropped it and picked a wonderful course called 'Life, Love and Labour.' Best decision I ever made. The best prof, the most amazing T.A., it was fabulous. Plus, living 45 minutes away (if I had a car), and 2 hours by bus (whic his what I am forced to do), it was not an option for me. I'm not made of the stuff that wakes up at, er...4 am, 5? ABSOLUTELY NOT. You live on campus though, so it's alright.

@jax- Not tough just...alot of stuff to do Thanks! I'll be sure to carry on. And LOL, I suppose I have a few years yet to feel the effects of the 'great pull.'

Captain Ron (linked to song) said...

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
Based on a novel by a man named Lear.
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It's the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn't understand.
His son is working for the Daily Mail, it's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Paperback writer

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here, but I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,

Paperback writer.

For those of you who want to hear the original Beatles play it.. click on my name.

JaxPop said...

Maniac - If you're workin' on a history paper - lay off the wine. Oh, wait, that would be Gallo, my bad.

Ulysses - When I see Quebec tags, (or white hair on the driver) I usually move over a few lanes. Just kidding - My grandmother moved to the States from Canada back in the roaring twenties. She was married my grandfather for 52 years - They couldn't stand each other. Wouldn't ride in the same car for as long as I could remember. I stay in touch with my family members that live in Ottawa. They also have homes in Destin Florida - to get away from that cold up there.

ManiacScribbler said...

Adaora: I actually don't live on campus - I'm about a 30 min commute, depending on what time the train comes (it can be up to a 45 min. commute). But I'm living with family, which is better for me. Haha. However, if it weren't for the fact that the ARHI course is so awesome, I would have dropped it before people could say to drop it. Haha. And I'm done at noon on this days, so I'm happy. Today was that day, though, so that could explain some of my rambling...
The word verification things are are pain!

Adaora A. said...


Favour, Favor

Neighbour, neighbor...

armour, armor

behaviour, behavior

Candour, candor

Catalogue, catalog(ue)

Colour, color

Demeanour, demeanor

Honour, honor

and the kicker....

CENTRE and center....


This vexes me greatly when I am writing my WIP. MS word constantly underlines my words red as if I don't know how to spell!

Which raises the question:

Nathan, even though I was born in US I've been raised in Canada. Do you prefer that a Canadian querying you use Canadian/Commonwealth spelling or should I use American English?

ManiacScribbler said...

jaxpop: No alcohol in my system, but high on life...Which can actually be worse. Especially after 6 am mornings. Haha
I should actually try some wine...Maybe it would my muse actually want to work...Hm...
Or shiny things. That would probably work better.

Nathan Bransford said...


Canadian/UK spelling doesn't bother me.

ManiacScribbler said...

Don't forget grey and gray!
Yay, Canadian spelling, how I have to love you!
My homeschool curriculum (I was homeschooled grade 1-12) was American (gr. 2-8), so I had to learn Canadian spelling starting in gr. 9. Haha

Tiffany Kenzie said...

'eh' must be regional throughout Canada(TO)... I say it way too often. I think I say 'like' a lot too.

And like the comment of Quebec drivers, but it's those from Montréal you've got to watch out for, and scoot over a couple lanes. *g*

Sorry to any from Montréal... but it's 'like' my favourite vacation spot. And they are much more aggressive than us Torontonians on the road.

Adaora A. said...

Thanks Nathan!


Oh Captain Ron, you've stolen me! Ha,ha! I love the beatles. That's one of their best songs. ::sigh::

JaxPop said...

Maniac - 6AM!!! The day is almost over by then! I leave my house at 5:15 AM, drive 83 miles one way, do my job, drive 83 miles home, do whatever - no particular routine, & get to bed around midnight.

Glad you're high on life - that's awesome. I've lived my life that way & it's been a blast. Enjoy it kid - it goes by fast. Don't Blink

ManiacScribbler said...

Haha. Thanks. I would be dead if I ended up actually staying up 'til midnight and then getting up at six the next day...Yeah.
Kyah, I'm a kid! ;) And I know about the speed - this first year has gone by ZOOOM!
Life is totally awesome to be high on. ^^
And shiny things...And smiles...And cat-cats...and books...(list goes on...)

JaxPop said...

Tiffany - Montreal. I love that city. I spent a couple of weeks there when I was barely 18. I had a VW bus, long blonde hair, & a poor excuse for a beard. At the border they emptied the van & checked through the guitars & cases. I was clean, never did that stuff. The trip was memorable. Made lots of friends. I can picture it all. Thanks for bringing it up. More smiles for the old guy. Now the hair is short & turning gray (or grey if you prefer) the beard is neatly trimmed with white streaks & I gave my guitar to my oldest son, born 2 years after that trip in 1974. Make great memories - you will smile lots more when you get to be older. Life is good.

Ulysses said...

I tend to write in American standard instead of Canadian/British, although I don't enjoy it. The Canadian company I work for uses American standard exclusively, and it's becoming a habit.

And I get sick of seeing little red lines under my Canadian words in MS Word.

Jaxpop: Reminds me of Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen:" "6am? We used to dream about getting up at 6 am!" "Luxury. My Dad used to wake us up half an hour before we went to bed. . ."

Polenth said...

When I was in the final stage of university, some people removed me from their MySpace friends list for not logging in. I'd like to complain that they removed me for having a life, followed by 'what's with that?' But considering my final year project was a multi-player graphical RPG, and I was busy programming it, I'm not sure the life bit applies.

Still, I did get the game done. And most of my MySpace friends didn't notice I was gone. I'm not sure if that's better than noticing I was gone, and removing me...

Jan said...

JaxPop ... VW bug was my first car ... had a ton of memorable trips in that car!!

ManiacScribler ... Italy was fabulous - and I LOVED art history when in undergrad and grad school.

I went to Cortona (Under Tuscan Sun), Montepulciano (great wine!), Assisi, Orvieto, Tivoly, Villa Adrianna, Florence, Naples (yucky/dirty) but had to go there to get to Pompeii ... explored 9 cities in 14 days.

LOVED Tuscany = felt right at home there...

Can't wait to go back!

But can't until I get this novel off to a wonderful agent and find representation...

Oh the life of a writer

maniacscribbler said...

jan: I so want to go to Italy! And I actually recognize some of those names specifically from ARHI. Haha

And I would love to have a VW Bug for my first car...But I have a feeling that it wouldn't survive the roads around my home...Hm...

JaxPop said...

Ulysses - I'm not as old as the Monty Python guys but ... it does sound like that skit. I did not, however, walk 10 miles to school in the snow - up hill both ways. Thanks for the laugh.

Jordyn said...

Oh my gosh, has The Hills started up again?

I am SO out of the loop.

Josephine Damian said...

On that note I should mention that I'll be attending RWA this year.

Nathan, please promise me you won't wear a goof-ball costumes with gauzy wings, or do one of those Fabio/Chippendale dance routines.

Those RWAs meeting are wild!

Jan said...

Maniac - The Sistine Chapel was amazing. I took so many photos in the Vatican Museum ... that was an amazing day I'll never forget.

I can't wait to take my 17 year old daughter there. She graduates next year and we are planning a family trip to France (Giverny of course for Monet) and Le Mans for the 24 hour race for my husband/son and I want to take the entire family back to Italy!

Enjoy your Art History class - it's served me well in life for a great deal of enjoyment!

Good luck to all who are studying for finals... I'm glad to be done with those days!

Back to edits on my MS and fine tuning my query

Can't wait to see your comments Nathan (Mr. Nathan doggy-dog, sir)

tired, hungry, and behind on homework said...

Who esle is currently suffering from "broke, tired and school work over my head" syndrome, thanks to university?

Yup. Just...yup. Final semester of college and I am literally about to fail all of my classes.

Someone say something funny, please.

Josephine Damian said...

Tiffany and Nathan (and all others who are "romantically inclined" - Linnea Sinclair got the call today - her GAMES OF COMMAND is a finalist for best paranormal.


Josephine Damian said...

Tired and hungry: One of my professors, a famous forensic investigator, is under criminal FELONY investigation. It seems her graduate students caught her in the act of serious wrong doing and turned her in to FDLE.

Much shame and adverse publicity for my university (and no sympathy from Josie D. who warned the administrators years ago about this famous lady prof playing fast and loose with the rules. Did they listen? Nope.)

The atmosphere at my school, and in my graduate program in particular, is shall we say, rather tense these days.

JaxPop said...

Josephine - I think 'Tired & Hungry' may have been looking for something a bit more uplifting. That was cool mentioning Linnea's work making it to the finals.
Go Linnea!!!

Anyone interested - My fellow Floridian Josephine has a terrific blog that should be checked out regularly. Good stuff.

ManiacScribbler said...

Tired and hungry:
Over the summer I worked with a couple of complete goof balls.
One day, I found a shiny pan under the counter, but I was helping some people, so I had to wait to say anything about it.
When they were gone, I pulled it out and asked the two guys if they were using it to look at their reflections all day long. And somehow, it ended up behind the one guy, at the seat of his pants, and the other guy looked into the reflection and said that he looked good in that guys pants.
Yes. That was an actual event. File under whatever you would like.

Scott said...

Who else misses watching TV until the national anthem comes on late at night, then turning it off and watching the screen fade away to a little dot that sits there for a minute or two and then vanishes?

superwench83 said...

Do you feel that this Borders buyout will affect the number of books that editors will take on? If Barnes and Noble buys, that is? I remember reading somewhere that there is one national bookbuyer for genre fiction in Borders, and one for Barnes and Noble. If they merged, there would only be one bookbuyer instead of the two there were before. So I would think that this would affect the number of books a publisher is willing to publish each year, but I don't know. And I know that it's quite possible that someone other than Barnes and Noble will buy Borders, and that it's possible that I'm completely confused about what I heard, but these are the questions that have been floating around in my mind. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Polenth said...

Scott, I miss the BBC test cards. I know they still show them briefly at weird times, but they aren't scheduled, so you never know when it will be.

Anonymous said...

Mr Bransford

1. What happens when an agent sells a client's book but doesn't like his/her next project?

2. If a client queries for a project and you reject it, but you like their next book, will you ever sell that first book for that client?


Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Worth Querying and Getting Rejected For

Re: "...I should mention again that if you receive a rejection from me and you would like your query critiqued politely and anonymously on the blog, send me a follow-up note. I can't critique all people who ask me to do so (and sometimes I honestly just don't have anything interesting to say on the matter), but I'll consider your query for a public dissection."

I understand no guarantees, but still it sounds like it's worth a shot.

Can't say anything more than this, I really am fried with "March Madness" - not the basketball kind - my heart shall always belong to Tayshaun, Chauncey, Rasheed - just general craziness of life on planet earth. That and the wind.

ManiacScribbler said...

One last comment for the night, and then I must bid sayonara (Japanese is my second language, darlings. ;)) because I still have class tomorrow. What fun...Actually, I'm looking forward to it, because I get to discuss "Symposium" by Plato. Yay!
Anyway, in reply to everyone talking about getting red underlining for the Canadian spelling: You can set your default dictionary in MS word to recognize it as Canadian English instead of American English. Find the Dictionaries (I have the new edition of Word and don't know my way around it easily), then select the Canadian English, and then say that you want it as a default. It helps a lot - I love it when it actually corrects my spelling for Canadian!

Captain Ron said...

Goodnite all.....

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about writing a new book.

After going to the laundromat last week and getting a distinct Twilight Zone feeling, I think there's a story there.

I'm calmly sorting clothes when three men walk in. One has his cell phone trapped between his ear and shoulder and I think his voice has been affected. Then I realize all three of them are talking the same way and if they are talking Texan it's a part I haven't heard before.

They are all very happy and laughing a lot. One is so happy he squats down and does a hopping thing as he starts chanting. The other two join in the chant and I have to assume it is some sort of African dance to the laundry gods. The two who aren't doing the dance are stomping and chanting. This is probably to ward away the spirits of stain and spot.

I'm so astounded I drop part of my laundry and it just kind of lands right there on the toe of the boot of another man, who is watching the laundry dance with mild amusement. As any gentleman would, he reaches down to retrieve my laundry until he realizes it's a pair of pink panties.

The African laundry warriors whoop, my gallant sits back up and stretches his boot out a little further for me. I turn about the same shade of pink as the fallen laundry and try to snatch them away, but in my haste, hook the toe further and only succeed in making a sort of sling shot looking mess.

The African laundry warriors whoop again and shake imaginary sticks at the pink beast.

I turn a brighter shade of pink, wad the remainder of my clothes into baskets without folding them and depart.

As I said, I'm quite sure there's a story there somewhere.

Nathan Bransford said...


Well, I don't think Borders would probably go away entirely, but if, say, they were acquired by B&N that would indeed be concentrating book stocking decisions in the hands of just a very few key people. I'm hopeful for an outcome where Borders retains its independence, because more choices and competition between chains can only be good for consumers.


It really depends on the project and the client. I don't know that I could be particularly specific here. Maybe it's a topic for another post someday.

Christi said...

I'm trying to write a synopsis for my Fiction novel! It sucks!

Other Lisa said...

我现在就喜欢和红葡萄酒, 然后睡觉。

Anonymous said...

I can then only hope that you blog about it soon.


Curtastrophe said...


Would an agent be less attracted to a novel that has been workshopped online in a writer's forum? The majority of these sites are password protected, but anyone with an email address can see a person's WIP.

Which brings me to a side-question: Does posting a work to be critiqued on the internet via these sites technically destroy its status as being "previously unpublished?"

Margaret Yang said...

@other Lisa--

That red wine isn't good for you anyway.

@Nathan: you're going to RWA this year? You'll be eaten alive!

superwench83 said...

Thanks for answering my question!

Anonymous said...

You know your blog about word counts, of about a month ago? I loved it so much I’ve wallpapered my office with it, including your picture, of course. It wouldn’t have the same impact, otherwise. Well now, it’s spawned this rhetorical question that I can’t get out of my head, what with the wallpaper and all. So maybe you could answer it for me and then I could stop muttering to myself and looking like a crazy person.

Let us say that a plumber named Leo Tolstoy, who, except for an ad in the Yellow Pages, has never published anything before and doesn’t have an MFA (didn’t need it to unclog toilets, you understand), sends you a query about his book, which he spent ten years writing. Not knowing how the business works, he also happens to send you his first chapter, which, because it’s late and you’re bleary-eyed, you pick up first and start, completely unintentionally, to read. You realize your mistake, but nonetheless keep reading because, frankly, you are blown away. You think to yourself that you’ve never been so fortunate as to read anything this good and it is the standard by which all writing should be judged. Overjoyed and your heart pounding with excitement, you pick up the plumber’s query letter. You read this masterpiece’s title, War and Peace, and you think, well damn, that’s just poetic. Then you read the first couple of paragraphs of the plumber’s query and you start envisioning the movie—definitely perfect for TomKat. As you’re reaching into you desk for your form contract to sign the plumber and grab him up before somebody else snatches this guy away from you, your eyes distractedly scan the last paragraph of his query and you read that this book that is making you droll has a word count of 700,000 or there about.

Now here’s my question: What would you honestly do?

Anonymous said...

Opps, I meant droo. Ah well, I can't spell or do commas. Lucky thing my name's not Tolstoy, huh?

Anonymous said...

Can't type, either. One more try now-- DROOL.

There now. That's better.

Nathan Bransford said...


I assume a novel has been workshopped before I see it. And no, posting it in an online forum wouldn't really be considered publishing it.


If it's a work of genius and it's 700,000 words and I got through it and think the length is justified, I'd go for it.

L.C.McCabe said...

Hey Nate Dogg,

My alma mater Michigan State is in the Sweet 16.


Go Green! Go White!


Nathan Bransford said...


So is mine! Go Cardinal!

Captain Ron said...

Nathan... you're absolutely right about only needing a short query letter... What was I thinking? I was able to reduce mine down to an easy page without loosing any impact. Story details beyond a general description are a waste.

With your advice, I feel my query is more powerful and inspires a curiosity it previously lacked. Thank you. (The revised version is available by clicking on my name.) Feel free to read it, critique it, or use it any way you deem appropriate.

Now I wish I hadn't sent the old one out!

Nathan Bransford said...

Captain Ron-

Great to hear!!

Adaora A. said...

Anyone following the new season of THE BACHELOR?

He's British, and he's heart to "steal all your women."


ManiacScribbler said...

other lisa: Is that kanji? It looks like kanji, but I'm not sure...haha
*sigh* Back at school...

Other Lisa said...

Heh - Margaret, you know a glass or two is good for one's health! As is 8 hours of sleep.

Maniacscribbler - it's Chinese. Kanji comes from Chinese characters, though they are pronounced completely differently.

ManiacScribbler said...

other lisa:
Okay, I'm still having a bit of a problem distinguishing between Chinese and Japanese...Though they, now that I look at them again, do look more Chinese.

Other Lisa said...

ManiacScribbler, Kanji is the same as the old-style Chinese characters - you really can't distinguish them. I don't know very much about Japanese, but they took the characters directly from Chinese. Then there are two other alphabets (?) in Japanese, hiragana and katakana. Check out the wikipedia entry - it looks pretty good.

ManiacScribbler said...

other lisa:
Yeah, I'm studying Japanese actually.
It's just that a lot of the sentences in Japanese are all in kanji. So it can be harder to distinguish them. Haha
And you have the other two right.

Other Lisa said...

Oooh, good for you! Japanese has got to be pretty tough! The grammar is hard, right?

Adaora A. said...

Does anyone watch UK premiereship league football? Go Red Devils!

Nathan Bransford said...

Go Newcastle!

Other Lisa said...

Baseball or football. I'm boring.

Go Padres!!!

mlh said...

Hockey Fan!

Go Pens!!

ManiacScribblewr said...

other lisa:
The grammar is so-so. I'm not having too bad of a time with it, though.

L.C.McCabe said...


Both Michigan State and Stanford lost yesterday.


I turned in just before halftime and saw the score. I could not put myself through the agony of watching what I knew would be inevitable.

Maybe we shall reclaim the "magic" next season. At least Earvin Johnson tried lending it to his old team by being in the stands.


Stacee said...

Inquiring minds want to know...

In my critiquing group, there are a limited few that always say to take out all was, ly words and limit the ing to make it more active. Yet when I read some of my new and old favorites in the fiction industry their books are chock full of them. Who do I believe? What's your take and should you have an editor look over your work before submitting or would the agent that accepts it refer you to an editor?


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