Nathan Bransford, Author

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Open Thread!!

We're smack dab in the middle of summer and I have loads of reading to catch up on (who says publishing slows down in the summer??), so I thought I would stand aside for the day and let the discussion go where it may.

Open thread!

What's on your mind?

Oh, also, this video is a gift from me to you:


Stephanie said...

Today I'm working on a synopsis for my upcoming release from Lyrical Press. God these things are so awful! Is there anyone out there who actually likes doing them????

Jenn Marie said...


Charlee Vale said...

I'm working on revisions....I wish I was more motivated. :P plus I have about a thousand books to read!


Jaimie said...

I proclaim this... THE SUMMER OF GEORGE.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Good luck, Stephanie. And no, none of us like them. I was SO relieved when my publisher said they didn't need a synopsis. Whew!

Good luck with your release though!

Wow, I really have nothing to discuss.

Carrie Dair said...

I'm beginning to appreciate "required reading" more and more each day. There are some fantastic books out there that are not getting their due credit. :)

ryan field said...

Stephanie...I'm working on back cover copy and cover briefs today. I know how you feel!!

Lee Ann said...

Thanks to your blog - which I love - I've decided that I'm OK if I only succeed in finishing my manuscript and not publish.

I've decided I like the process of writing and the work that goes into it. I don't need publishing to validate my work.

I came to this conclusion after reading of how people respond to rejections and criticism. I read with horror of the responses towards agents, editors, and publishers.

I will pursue publishing - when the time comes - but before I can do that. I first need to create goals that are far more realistic.

So here's my question: besides just reading and writing, what activities should I participate in to make my writing experience richer?

Jaimie said...

Wow... that guy in that video. Is so high.

JohnO said...

@Stephanie - No one likes doing synopses, but there are lots of good resources. On the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Chuck Sambuchino posts sample synopses to help.

My two bits of advice. Most agent comments on synopses are that they want to know what happens, and if it's fun to read, that's a plus. But a ho-hum synopsis probably isn't a deal-killer.

That said, if it's really hard to write one, it might be a sign that the plotting of your book needs some help. Synopses and even query letters are, strangely, good ways to find this out.

WhisperingWriter said...

I'm revising my novel. Or trying to, at least. Right when I get into a groove, someone in this house wants something. Whether it be my husband ("where are the pans again?") to my kids, ("can you transform this Transformer for me?" [no]) to even the cat, who likes to hock a hairball right near my feet out of spite.

Now I know why some writers retreat to a log cabin out in the middle of no where....

Daryl Sedore said...

I've just wrapped up three different submissions (short stories) which all got accepted for publication in Anthologies. I'm now going to re-write a slow section of the novel to add tension on every page.

Words are your paint. Use all the colors.

Samuel Saint Thomas said...

damn.. i'm working on final revisions before a send-off.. but it's a beautiful summer day.. is there any way for a writer to work effectively out of doors? say, on the beach.. at the pool? ideas?

Anonymous said...

Given the amount of time and resources most writers are expected to put into marketing their own book (events, blogging, tweeting, contacting bookstores, etc.) and given that most writers still earn below the poverty line in their writing career, are most of them even making the equivalent of minimum wage?

Nick said...

Today I'm just sort of cursing the air. I did think of a lot of good stuff, which is good, but I can't put them to words right now. Still, I've got the ideas in my head, so there's about a year to go before they're ejected.

Also I have been looping the same song for the past three and a half hours and I have no idea why.

Shelby, The Script Activist said...

Thank you for the double rainbow! He gets very emotional about nature and allows himself to experience it. It reminds me of a quote by the late Kyle Lake: "Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun. If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time. If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well. Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done-a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old's nose, don't be disgusted if the Kleenex didn't catch it all… because soon he'll be wiping his own. If you've recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you're eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift." --Kyle Lake Sermon.

Taffy said...


Nick said...


Assuming one worked 49 weeks a year, 40 hours a week, making current US minimum wage ($7.25), that's $14210/year. Advance rates vary but if I recall correctly the average for a lot of genres is in the $8000 to $12000 ballpark. So, yeah, most probably are making below minimum wage, assuming they worked full-time and for a good chunk of the year. Could be making minimum wage if we shaved some weeks off the employee.

Make of my atrocious maths what you will.

buildingalife said...

"It's so bright! It's so bright and big!"

Going in my next ms somewhere.

Andrea said...

@Lee Ann

Writing workshops or writer's groups. I have a lot of writer friends, some are professors, some just write. We get together and critique one another's work. This usually involves wine, so it's good no matter what.

Other things I do to work on my writing (aside from writing stories) is blogging, writing long letters to my friends around the US, journaling and reading a lot.

On a separate note,
I just moved back to southern California from Seattle a month ago and today is HOT.

& I'm getting depressed about the probability of finding an agent for my book, so I'm editing today. But, I'm not sure if the obsessive tweaking is a move in the right direction? Meh.

Reena Jacobs said...

One day I hope to find an agent who's as enthusiastic about my manuscript as that guy was in the video.

nicbeast said...

@Jaimie Seriously...

candycana said...

Thanks for the video. You should have warned us that it would be better watched with the sound off. My teen son in the other room was appalled that I was watching such videos! Yeah. Beautiful rainbow. But please tell us that wasn't you. ;)

Francis said...

After a few requests and too many rejections I wrote a brand new query (with some feedback from the good folks of our favorite orange forum) and the new query got me 2 requests for a partial in three days! yay for the forums!

Also, I think it's disappointing that so many agents don't even provide feedback when rejecting a FULL ms... I understand a no feedback policy on queries, even perhaps a partial.. but a full? I'm a sad puppy.

Yes, I concur... synopses are totally evil!

Marycycle said...

Are so called "publishing coaches" or "book doctors" worthwhile? My book of my "adventure gal" sport tales will inspire others, like "Halfway to Heaven" mountain climbing author in CO. But a publishing coach says she can make me a "celebrity", build my platform, etc. before pitching book to agents. Too good to be true?

Claire said...

Pardon my random reflection:

I was supposed to devote today to my writing, but thus far, I've come up with nothing.


Motivation isn't enough to garner success. Only action will do.

The Oat Project said...

So does publishing really, still slow down in the summer? Does the "everyone leaves in August" still apply? Has the downturn in the economy and industry affected this? Thanks for your blog, by the way! I've recommended you to scads of fellow writers.

Becca said...

I'm trying to clean, even though I'm supposed to be editing and writing. Of course my motivation to write doesn't come until 1am, and by then, I'm too tired to concentrate.

Today is my day of doing things I've been putting off.

Livia said...

Is the rainbow guy on drugs?

Today my blog is exploding. Who would have thought that an article called "Will Self Publishing Make you Die?" would generate such strong reactions on either side? Okay, maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but still, as someone who usually writes calm, objective articles and gets calm, objective replies, this experience is rather new...

Phyllis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aspiring_x said...

ok, am i the only one who cried along with that guy? sure, my tears were from laughing so hard... but still!
was a pretty rainbow, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

slytherclawchica said...

I am completely stuck in the middle of my Flash Fiction Thursday post... ughh. But I just finished Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead yesterday and I'm in love with the series. Can't wait to get home and dig into Tuck! (oh yeah, and books for my Atlantic History class).

This summer has been really great, though. Made better by the Vienna Mocha Chunk ice cream sitting in the freezer. :-D

Phyllis said...

Did anyone catch this? I Write Like is a software that compares your writing to a database of famous writers.

I couldn't resist and entered an SF story. Apparently I write like James Joyce. That really made my day. ;)

Kathryn Paterson said...

Ha, Jaimie, I think I'm going to proclaim next summer the summer of George.

I finally had a breakthrough on a chapter I've been revising (well, two chapters I'm combining). But I keep wondering when I should start querying. Everyone says "send your best work," but if I did that, I'd NEVER query, because there's always something to change.

I'm also despairing at my slow drafting rate. Most people say I write pretty fast, but then I hear about someone publishing three books in fourteen months, or someone writing 4 pages in 45 minutes and I get very discouraged.
Must not compare myself to others. :(

Candyland said...

I just wanted to thank you (publicly) for replying to my email so quickly. You keep getting cooler by the second:)

Debi said...

@Reena Jacobs (1:03p) you crack me up.
That guy was having some kind of double-rainbow orgasm. There's living in the moment, loving the magic and then there's an experience that shouldn't see the light of YouTube day. (Hope he had a glove and a velvet cloth.)

Anonymous said...

Is that a soundtrack to a different video? He's having a better time at Yosemite than most.

Vincent Kale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vincent Kale said...

Trying to push through the last third of my WIP (while at work!)
I'm getting to some very exciting scenes I've been dying to see on paper for a while, but my hand never seems to write fast enough.

Also, if you liked the Double Rainbow guy, you'll love him autotuned and put to music:
So intense!

Kate said...

Today, I'm reflecting on the greatness of John Doe's 'A Year in the Wilderness.'

Can't. Stop. Listening.

Some awesome writing inspiration!

Kristin Laughtin said...

Awww, Vincent just beat me to the punch posting the autotuned version. I was scrolling through the comments and couldn't believe it hadn't made an appearance yet...and then there it was in the last comment visible at the time. HIGHLY recommended, although it will be stuck in your head all day.

Phyllis: I love I Write Like! Different passages from various works have gotten me compared to Edgar Allen Poe, Margaret Atwood, Raymond Chandler, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and *shudder* Dan Brown. I could see the Poe, Atwood, and Chandler likenesses in the passages I posted, but otherwise I was laughing or scratching my head.

Outlining is on my mind. Specifically, how to reveal the bad guys' motivations without an Evil Monologue or Evil Lab Scene or The Protagonist Just Knowing.

slytherclawchica said...

@Phyllis: So cool! Apparently I write like Robert Louis Stevenson. Guess I should read Treasure Island. ^^

Amorena said...

On my mind: Reading and Writing. Oh, and a long car ride and a long weekend with limited internet.

I see a double rainbow like that at least every few months. The Willamette Valley is gorgeous.

amethyst said...

Doing minor revisions to Book 1 of my series before printing it out for my 2nd Beta Reader (gasp!) and then back to Book 2 which is, in terms of length, halfway done, but needs A LOT of work during revisions.

For now, just the bones. Just the bones.

I love the Writing Life :)

Kathy said...

the Stieg Larsson books and their tremendous misogyny...worried it's going to set a trend in publishing (because they SELL!) and the violence will just get darker and more horrible....gotta keep pushing the envelope, you know...

Ishta Mercurio said...

Lee Ann, if you're ever going to pursue publication, then it will probably be worth joining a critique group at some stage. I've learned SO MUCH from my experience with my crit group about writing craft, and also about identifying what works and what doesn't in a manuscript. It trains your eyes and ears to recognize quality writing.

On the other hand, they take up a lot of time, which is a good thing to bear in mind.

Marycycle, the idea of a "publishing coach" curdles my wame a little. Your book sounds like it already has a fairly well-defined potential market, so if it's any good, then you shouldn't need to be a "celebrity" already before you pitch it to agents. And if it isn't that great, why not focus on making it better, rather than hiring someone to cover up your not-so-great book by making you seem like an amazing author? (I don't mean to imply that you're not a great writer, because if you're here your writing is probably fine; just that I don't understand what a self-respecting author would be doing with a "book doctor".)

I'd like to reframe The Oat Project's question: is there a slow time for the publishing industry? I have two more PB's that I've polished up and am ready to send out, and if most people's desks are currently more overfull with slush than usual, it would be good to know.

Stephanie: synopses can be tough. But at least you have a book that needs a synopsis. A good problem to have, no? I'm struggling to find time to write, with both my kids home all day and creating even MORE housework for me to do. I'm going to try actually writing out a daily schedule for my free time - hour by hour, when I do dishes, when I work on staining the window frames, when I water the flowers, when I write, etc. The hardest things are getting off my butt when I'm dog-tired (like now), and stopping writing when I'm in the groove because I know that if I don't, I'll be dead on my feet the next day. Anyone else have these problems?

Phyllis: I Write Like looks neat! I'm going to do that now, just for fun. Thanks for the link.

de la O said...

Actually hanging out with one of my besties, grateful that you responded to my question yesterday in your forum, and wondering how I can obtain the exhilaration like the rainbow guy without ingesting a foreign substance.

Stu Pitt said...

What kind of advance could Mel Gibson get today for an autobiography? I'm saying 2 million bucks.

J. R. McLemore said...

I'm working on a new novel about a young man who stumbles into working as a hit man for the mob.

While I'm working on this, I'm allowing my previous southern gothic novel to mellow in the drawer before I pull it out to edit.

Writing is non-stop.

Ted said...

oh my god!! Double rainbow!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN???

Dude, it means it's time to put away the bag of mushrooms.

Stacy and Carol said...

It's time to send another query letter for my children's ABC book. It teaches children at a very young age how important they are, self love, respect for the earth, connecting to others and so much more. I Dream of the day I receive a personalized response from an agent saying Heck yeah! I can see and feel your vision with your children's book series and the time is now!I've already been working on my writers platform and planning my super sized character costumes. Metaphysical/Spiritual children's books are booming.
Namaste everyone, Carol

J.J. Bennett said...

Yeah... Open thread. It's too hot to write. (110 degrees today in Saint George, Utah) Listening to an audio book in the A/C.

Carol Riggs said...

Yeah, Reena! She said:
"One day I hope to find an agent who's as enthusiastic about my manuscript as that guy was in the video." That is hilarious; amen to that.

Also, @Phyllis, I too tried the I Write Like site--apparently I write like Kurt Vonnegut (is this a good thing?) but Kristin L. mentioned what I had wondered--if it churned out diff results with diff mss. Fun site!

Anyway, I'm avoiding my novel for the moment and writing my latest blogsite post. A veer off from my usual writer's tips and makeovers...posting some links.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Post-I WRITE LIKE analysis:

Well, apparently my blogging style is most like the writing of David Foster Wallace, whom I am embarassed to admit I had never heard of (but I went straight to and looked at the first pages of a couple of his books), and I occasionally wander into Kurt Vonnegut territory. I think this means I write in long paragraphs, which I do, because DFW's writing is so much more poetic than mine and there is no justification for comparison. Still, a fun thing to discover.

And when I put in my favorite PB manuscript, it came back as being like J. K. Rowling. I WISH!

Thanks for the fun link.

Back to the grindstone.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

Supposed to be working on a revisions, a work-in-progress and reworking a synopsis (I'm with you Stephanie - HATE those things!)BUT am on vacation, so I'm taking a brain break. Blogging, finishing a Jodi Piccoult book and slipping in the WIP as snippets of time arise...

Anonymous said...

Too much, he had taken too much again. Seeing things, he had to be.
Sarah listened from inside the house. The doors locked. There were no such things as rainbows, muchless double rainbows. They were a myth from who knew where. She shook the almost empty water tin thoughtfully. To bad rain was a myth, it would be nice not to have to walk outside and face him.
He screamed excitedly again.
"Double rainbow".
Indeed. She'd show him what a double rainbow means.

Jaimie said...

Kathryn Paterson,

I write slow too! I should be revising right now, actually, not commenting, but such is life.

I like to think the people that write 4 pages in 45 minutes aren't writing very GOOD pages. Because I can do that. But it SUCKS. So I don't. Sure, that's not always the case (some people are better than I, obviously), but I think most of the time... it's the case.

Put out good work. Damn the time.

John Jack said...

Pick a story that generated big buzz in a favorite genre and tear it apart. Go at with forge hammer and tongs, with a sledgehammer, with a wrecking ball, a jackhammer, tweezers and magnifying glass, scalpel, electron microscope, MRI, CAT scan, the Hubble telescope, any and every tool ever invented.

When every word choice and syntatical unit from word to phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, section, chapter, whole can be explained, go back and dissect for what was left out, the gaps readers' creative vision easily bridges.

Then let a project in progress ferment for a while while assimilating and reacclimating to drafing and writing and rewriting and revision.

Be prepared to reap the whirlwind.

Anonymous said...

I was really worried for a moment that the guy with the rainbow was you and we needed to send the guys in white coats fast.

I mean, I love me a rainbow too, but I was getting heap-mud worried about our in house literary agent for a minute or two there.

Do take your off-time, Nathan.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dude in video completely off his rocker. Was he crying? That's messed up if he was. IMO.

As for what I'm doing, working on a contest lay out for YALITCHAT perturbed parent group. Then I will writing some more chapters for my current WIP. Since my other manuscript is with a Beta reader, so I have to wait for comments on that. One more revision and it should be ready to go. Yay.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Can you imagine being within earshot of "Rainbow Dude" when he loses his virginity!

Vincent Kale said...

Going back to Nathan's post from yesterday ("How do we know our writing is good?" and "Everyone in the world thinks they can write better than some published authors."), John Jack's above comment made me realize something.

When we read a published work, we're obviously seeing the fine-tuned, highly polished, best-it-can-be revision. We're not privy to that particular author's trials, edits, revisions, etc. We don't get to see that they originally chose the word "bright" and later changed it to "nuclear tangerine."
Perhaps those who haven't spent as much time in the writing/publishing world think it's as simple as typing up your idea to a certain word count and then you're good to go.

It's no wonder everyone thinks they can play with the professionals.

Jennifer said...

A friend discovered that video yesterday and we had such a great time watching it (repeatedly because we couldn't seem to stop), we coined the phrase, "It's a double rainbow kind of day."

I actually watched some of the dude's other videos (he's either constantly amazed or constantly high), and he has a rubber-banded beard which equated him to Captain Lou Albano in my mind and made my viewing experience even better.

Mira said...

That's a hilarious video.

I LOVE open thread day! Yay!

What's on my mind? Thank you so much for asking! I've been wondering about that too. Let's see, here's some random things I've been thinking about:


-- I picked a name! I picked the name for my MC. PERFECT. Yay!

-- everyone is entitled to a bad day here or there. Sometimes things are just plain hard.

-- everytime there's a T.V. show I love, and it ends, I feel such a loss. And then another T.V. shows comes. I find that I love the new T.V. show as much as the old T.V. show, but in a different way. Then, THAT T.V. show ends too, and a new T.V. show comes in IT's place. It sort of sucks and it's sort of cool that T.V. shows end, but then a new T.V. show comes and we love that too.

(On the slim possibility that anyone is still reading this post, just in case I was too subtle, I do want to confirm that I was using T.V. as a metaphor for life. Yes, I was.)

-- I have to take a class again in two weeks. Ugh.

-- I was driving along the other day and it hit me - no one is given an instruction booklet, and so life is a TRIAL and ERROR kind of thing. TRIAL and ERROR. That's right. By definition, we HAVE to make mistakes. That means there IS NO OTHER WAY then make lots of mistakes because it's a TRIAL and ERROR sort of thing. So, we're all off the hook.

-- I really like typing things in CAPITAL letters.

-- I played the 'who do you write like' game, and got Kurt Vonnegut. I was horrified and kept playing until I got Charles Dickens. Much better.

-- I'm just saying whatever comes into my head at this point, but it looks more impressive when I put it in bullet points.

-- I LOVE open thread day.

Okay, I'm done for now, but I think it's highly likely I'll be back.

Mira said...

Haste ye back - LOL. That was funny!

Erin McGuire said...

I'm surprised there hasn't been any blogging on the upcoming documentary about the children's book industry, with authors and illustrators-

Saw this the other day and was surprised no one else had blogged about it. It'd be cool to hear your thoughts!

G said...

I'm waiting, with a growing sense of doom and gloom, for my first draft to come back from a friend who is giving it a very thorough first read.

I don't think I can handle killer honesty, but I gotta if I wanna.

Anonymous said...

My thighs are hot. Whether this is because I'm writing erotica or because my laptop is burning up is anyone's guess.

Other Lisa said...

Dude, it means you're tripping...

Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu said...

My heart leaps up...

Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abc said...

Speaking of high (and the munchies), what is your favorite pig out food? (while writing, of course) What else would you be doing?

I like chips and salsa. Those natural style Tostitos are awesome! I'd say queso but I can't find good queso here in Iowa and I'm too lazy to make my own. I'm also kind of obsessed with Peanut Butter M&Ms.

Other Lisa said...

AHHHH!!! The auto-tuned version is the best thing ever!

Jared Larson said...

Ehh, is it just me, or is he having a rainbowgasm?

A Rose by any other name... said...

I'm pondering today...pondering, with a bit of dithering thrown in.

I am cowriting a memoir that is strung on a thread extending from when Linda Brown was contacted by an author interested in writing a biography of her father, to when said author completed a 700 page first draft, rushed it to print on Lulu and called it quits on the project.

Although Linda's memoir includes vignettes extending from 1947 to 2009, the bones of her tale are in the events that transpired in that 2003-2009 time frame. They happened as a direct result of her involvement in the research for that first book.

BUT Nathan once said that use of real names(football coaches, in that case, IIRC)is a memoir no-no. Soooo, what I am pondering today is how to disguise the character of the author.

We actually tried changing his name in some of the early chapters, but it feels like spitting in the wind. How do you blur the identity of the sole author of the sole biography of Thomas Townsend Brown?

I originally wanted to post this on the Ask Nathan forum thread, but thought I would give it a trial run here. Thanks for bearing with me to the end. Any one with knowledge and time enough to offer a thought on this?


gsfields said...

I was horifyingly drawn to the "I Write Like" link, but I was worried it would end up like the time I entered REO Speedwagon's "Cool Change" into only to find that my taste in music appearently includes the vast majority of Air Supply songs.

Could I handle that kind of analysis of my writing? I'm working on an action/fantasy novel that I hope will appeal to Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum fans. What if it told me I write like Judy Blume?

Throwing caution (and my ego) to the wind, I entered part of my first chapter.

I don't know who programmed that application, but he (or she) is either a genius or knows how to write code that strokes egos.

I'm a Dan Brown write-alike.

A Rose by any other name... said...

John Jack, Francine Prose's book, READING LIKE A WRITER is a good substitute for the exercise you suggest. Although it takes a certain well-developed level of artistic appreciation to enjoy a whole chapter on paragraphing! Beginners might not warm to it as easily as those who have been working at their craft for a while.


swampfox said...

I wouldn't be surprised if that guy was seeing double of everything!!

Andrea said...


I can't eat while I'm writing. But, when I have the 'munchies' I go for banana chocolate chip waffles, nutella on garlic naan, or chips & guacamole.

Have you had the pretzel m&ms? Or the coconut ones? Awesomeness.

Tahereh said...

"Have you ever seen a double-triple-vivid-rainbow shoot across the sky?"



fancy voiceovers.

move over, stephenie meyer, is what i'm thinking the double-rainbow man is thinking.

jennysanchez said...

At I Write LIke: David Foster Wallace, Raymond Chandler, and James Joyce....yeah, quite a way to slack off, avoid the edits I should be working on, and still feel great about it!

Ariel Swan said...

The I write thing is B.S. I think - but I am all over that double rainbow kind of day coinage.

Anonymous said...

I found that video to be hilarious until he said, "in my front yard..."

Then I was too green with jealousy of the dude's view to be amused any longer.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Stephanie -if you find someone who does, let's bronze them -or bottle it so we can drink it and be like them! teehee.

*laughing* at swampfox's comment! :-D

Instead of working on the next book, I'm googling things like: I'm a new runner, why is running making my arse bigger? you know, important stuff like that.

John Jack said...

A Rose by any other name @ 4:12 p.m.

I've sampled Prose's Reading Like a Writer at HarperCollins but haven't laid hands on a copy yet. The local library system has a copy but it's still making the reserve list rounds. I'll take a deeper look one of these days. What I read so far hasn't motivated me to buy a copy. "I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks." Shakespeare, sonnet 130

Seymour Chatman's Story and Discourse I'd buy after sampling online, and reading cover to cover through interlibrary loan, if I had two bills to rub together. Gustav Freytag's Technique of the Drama I didn't have to buy, it's a free online publication.

I'm waiting currently on interlibrary loan E.M. Forster's Aspects of Fiction, Forster of the proverbial, "The king died, and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then the queen died out of grief is a plot."

Ishta Mercurio said...

abc: have you tried pita crisps? YUMMO. I'm also a fan of tortilla chips and salsa, and also of ice cream topped with either peanuts and chocolate sauce, or maple sugar-coated almonds. Mmmm.....

Summer is such a great excuse to eat ice cream.

Ellen Faith said...

Plotting, plotting, and even more plotting. Plus a synopsis.

D.J. Morel said...

I'm thinking I should start my query: Have you ever seen a double rainbow and wondered what it meant?

Just checked YouTube and that video will soon hit 5 million views. The guy in it should get himself an agent toute de suite.

Down the well said...

What does it mean?

It means lace up your purple high-tops because the Hale-Bop space ship is coming to get you any minute now.

Kay said...

I just received the most hilarious interview answers from literary agent James Fitzgerald. His story about a cab driver in San Francisco was CRAZY.

Here's the link:

Debbie said...

My sister was just telling me about that video today, so thanks for posting it. I needed the laugh!

Katie said...

I am about to go to a conference as an intern looking for connections in the industry and while I'm excited to meet agents and editors, I'm nervous because I don't know what to say. What do you like to talk about with colleagues? What would you recommend someone asking if they were interested in being an agent or editor?

Kay said...

Is that Nathan in the video??

Anonymous said...

Today I gained a new beta reader, who usually hates everything he reads.

He liked my first chapter. A lot.

Today I gained hope.

-Jen Daniele

Jean said...

Just wondering about the depth of editing that agents do for their clients. Is the industry leaning more toward agents being the clearing house, doing almost all the edits before an editor ever sees the material? What if those edits aren't what the editor would eventually like to see?
Just wondering.....
Oh, Maker's Mark is in our house. Jefferson Reserve has a sharper edge to it.

shadytales said...

..and now I understand wht you live in CA and not NY. Thanks for the video.


BrownEyed said...

I wrote a spiritual fiction-piece on and got great reviews :D
So, bliss is on my mind.


treeoflife said...

I too think this "I Write Like" thing is bogus... I posted a non-fiction piece where I discuss investing in stocks, and it said I write like Dan Brown :P

Hmmmm... random writer name generator perhaps?

Robert A Meacham said...

" I write Like" David Foster Wallace.

Okay, that soothed my ego. Now all I need to do is it.
I am trying to finish my paranormal novel but I am only at 20k words and stuck at the moment.. said...

Revising my MS based on some minor-ish comments from my instructor. "Mere brushstokes," he says. I'm thrilled – two for two on heart-stopping compliments from pros. (Cannot post those here, or you all would shoot me dead dead dead.) After this round of changes, two phases of beta readers are ready for my MS. Manna from heaven. Cannot wait to hear what they think.

Phyllis, thanks for mentioning I Write Like! I entered chapter one of my MS and got myself a James Joyce comparison. It made my day, too. :)
My poems apparently compare to an author variety-pack: JK Rowling, James Fenimore Cooper, Isaac Asimov, Joyce (again), Stephen King, and Bram Stoker!

Have you guys heard about WriteOnCon? It's the first all-free, all-online kidlit writers' conference, coming 8/10. (
Once you register, you get access to the practice critique boards. Seriously – in four days, I made my query about 50X better. Everyone there has been FANTASTIC with comments. I've learned a ton, and the conference is still weeks away!

cheekychook said...

gsfield---Don't worry if that site tells you you write like Judy Blume, because it says she writes like JK Rowling.

swampfox---seeing double of everything---I almost snorted iced tea out my nose when I read that.

Andrea---I've been wanting to try the pretzel m&ms, but I can't eat anything crunchy for the next few weeks (dental drama,don't ask)...I did however see the commercial for them, and as much as I love the pretzel/chocolate combination, in all incarnations,I have to say this particular advertisement was...disturbing. Anyone seen it? Orange m&m says "There's no way you're putting a pretzel inside me." Then pretzel says "Listen, man, I'm not too thrilled about this either." Then at the end pretzel cracks his knuckles and says "Alright, lets get this over with." Really m&m folks? I thought the commercials with the flirty female m&m were bad enough, but this one was just kinda disturbing. I'm not opposed to sex in advertising, but since when did m&m's get all sexy, anyway? I mean the green ones, okay, but the rest of them?

(Nathan starts to reconsider whether or not "Open Thread" day is such a good idea...)

christwriter said...

I'm slowly coming back up from a ten-day graveyard shift stint (it's legal. I know it looks like TEN FREAKING DAYS OF WORK IN A ROW WITH NO BREAKS OMG WHY AM I STILL ALIVE would not be legal, but it is.) and remembering why trying to play professional author when you are so tired you can't sleep, let alone eat, is sometimes a bad idea.

Am I the only unpublished wanna-be who feels an INTENSE pressure to get this stuff done? Like rest can wait, I have to go do the fifteenth query revision. Haven't sent it anywhere. Have no idea if query is good or not. But it must be revised anyway, because my automatic assumption is that it still sucks. Because nobody has told me it doesn't. And nobody has seen it because I don't want to send something that sucks to a professional, because I will then be blacklisted for being an idiot and my query will be used for Eye of Argon-esque readings. And then there is the anxiety attack of worrying that the typo on page two that I probably missed combined with the weak verb I probably missed on page three will cause instant rejection. Because your first book has to be perfect and ... yeah, did I mention I've gotten about four hours of sleep a day for the past ten? I need a nap.

And I don't get one, because I have one more night shift to go before I can go home, comfort my traumatized cat and revise that problematic sentence on page five again (to "the" or not to "the", that is the question)

Lynn Mitchell said...

To the rainbow video guy...

Dude, it is time to get your meds changed. Yep.

Tricia said...

I love it we're all here instead of writing. Nathan, you my friend are a bad influence (and I mean that in the nicest way possible)

Okay double rainbow guy seriously is crazy pants! The song rocks.

I agree that we should enjoy things for ever missing snot on my hand hmm. Nope, don't think I'll ever miss that.

So I did the I Write Like and my MG fantasy came back as Jane Austen (maybe that's why I'm getting rejections.)

My thriller came back as Rudyard Kipling (Crap! I think I need to step up the pace.)

And my cozy came back first section Charles Dickens second part Chuck Palahniuk (Voice seems to be a problem with this one.)

Or maybe I shouldn't be trying to edit three manuscripts at once.

As for snacks, savory when I'm struggling and sweet for rewards.

I'm breaking out the chips and salsa and turning off the wifi.

wendy said...

What an amazing reaction from that man in the vid. He was hysterical - laughing and crying - over the rainbow. What does it mean, indeed? Did it restore his faith in a loving creator? The rainbow was really fabulous. Thanks, Nathan. :)

Word verification: catessio

wendy said...

Thank you for that great writing link, Phyllis! Making my way there at light spped!

wendy said...

That's amazing! The online software came up with Ann Rice for the person I write most like. I adore Ann Rice and it was she who inspired me to write my paranormal. However the excerpt I submited for analysis had no mention of vampire or romance, mainly a description of three people exploring the beautiful wetlands and bird habitat adjoining the town.

I think I now understand a little of what that man felt. ;)

But, seriously, we could only see the rainbow through a video lense, if we were actually there, we could behold its glory with all our physical and spiritual senses. Perhaps, we, too, would be overwhelmed. It's wonderful the effect great beauty has on the soul and the psychye, especially in a world like ours which can be over-run with negativity.

wendy said...

AnnE Rice *g*

Mira said...

You know, I love chatting on Nathan's open thread days, but occasionally, I like to ramble on talking to myself. This appears to be one of those days.

I'm trying hard to answer your question, Nathan, because I realized I didn't address it in my last post. I talked about what HAD been on my mind. I didn't say what was on my mind NOW.

I'm so sorry!

However, I wasn't sure what's on my mind, so I tracked it. I wrote down each thought and how many times I had it on my long drive home over the bridge. And here it is!

The truth! What was on my mind during my drive home for open thread day:

- Oh goody, I get to go home now!

- Dear God in heaven, why is every driver in San Francisco a doofus except me?

- I'm hungry.

- I'm really hungry.

- If I don't eat soon, I'm going to die.

-You're not going to die.

- Yes, I am.
- No, you're not.
- Yes, I am.
- No, you're not.
- Yes, I am. I will die, die, die!
- Fine we'll stop at a resturant.

- Oh goody, I get to stop at a resturant.

- Are we there yet?

- Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry
Lost count

-Oh thank God in heaven, there's the resturant.

- Okay, I ordered, where's my food?

- Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry.
Lost count.

-Oh good, my food is here, I'm not going to die.

- MMMMMmmmmmmmm. Yum, yum, yummy, yum, yum, yum. Yum, yum, yum, yum.
15 minutes

- Much better.

- Blech. Stuffed. Ate too much.

- Let's go home and play computer games.

- Oh goody, I get to go home and play computer games.

- Boy, this is a long drive home.

- Dear God in heaven, why is every driver in the East Bay a doofus except me?

- I wish I was rich.

- I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow.

- I wish I was rich AND I didn't have to go to work tomorrow.

- Why aren't my thoughts more interesting?

- Am I home yet?

- Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry.
Lost count.

- Oh goody, I'm home. I can play computer games.

- I have to do my chores first.

Lost count

Okey dokey, so that's what's on my mind. Thanks for asking Nathan. I'm off to play computer games now.

I LOVE open thread day!

Simon Haynes said...

I'm supposed to be working on my next novel. Instead I've just been food shopping and I've been wasting far too much time playing Mass Effect on my PC. My excuse? School holidays - I don't bother with the novel when the kids are home.

Anonymous said...

At least one person on this thread complained because an agent didn't give her feedback on her rejected full.

Your first step to becoming a pro is to get wise. Agents do not have time to give you feedback. If you're not a client, the agent is not meant to be your teacher, your writing critique partner. Take a class, get a crit group going, win a critique at a conference or charity auction for that.

Ink Spills said...

So ... has anyone heard anything about the google book settlement lately? Where exactly is that? It's disappeared from the news completely, and that always makes me a little bit suspicious.

SariBelle said...

Rainbow man is... nuts.

It means, Rainbow Man, that light is shining through the water droplets and refracting which seperates the "white light" into the spectrum of colours, the visible ones being red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. So take a chill pill and go look up rainbow on Wikepedia, or something.

Ok rant over.

I did I Write Like, and first came up with Shakespear. Huh? Really???

Then Kurt Vonnegut, then James Joyce. Interesting..

Nancy said...

Three things:

Who else in the world of blogging can post nothing but "Go for it" and get well over a hundred replies?

Did we ever successfully determine why bad writers think they're geniuses and good writers think they suck? I've thought of different variations of that question for years. Bleh, there seems to be no good answer.

Turns out 'I write like' a combination of Santa Claus and Ernest Hemingway? The gift that keeps on making publishers happy, one comma afer another, page after page. Wow, I really feel good today... :P Like, yeah...

maine character said...

Loved the video. Reminds me of my acid days. (Especially with the musical version lilting through my head.)

Haste Ye Back and Jared - thanks for the laughs!

A misinterpreted wave said...

I am excited that it's the weekend. I can work on my current poem, and play with my little girl without thinking about work. Yay for weekends.

Cindy said...

@Stephanie: Plug away, girl. I know you can do it.

@WhisperingWriter: You took the words right out of my mouth. Yesterday I looked up the hours to my local library. That's where I will do my writing from now on when my kids are home.

Nora said...


I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog. I don't always have time to comment on stuff but I've really enjoyed the information you post.
Just the other day you blogged about the future of book stores. I didn't get a chance to read the comments but I wondered if anyone thought about the future of libraries? I love going and browsing through "print" copies but I think that is headed for change as well.
Thanks for all you do.

Magdalena Munro said...

I am happy to say that writing is the last thing on my mind these last few days! I am cooking up a Brazilian feast for a dinner party this weekend and am doing nothing but living in the kitchen! My husband is also in the thick of conversations with agents re: scoring a big film which is creating a buzz in our house like it's Christmas. It feels great to take a break from writing! Finally, I failed to congratulate you and your client regarding RPT; it must be a great feeling.

Amanda C. Davis said...

I found a dead bluebird on my porch yesterday but didn't get rid of it because it was gross, and now I'm worried that today it's only going to be grosser.

And by "yesterday" I mean "Tuesday".

Karen McGrath said...

I think the rainbow guy had a completely proper and genuine emotional response. Why do we think he's on drugs??

Sad state of affairs, it tis - we are so jaded.

I am editing and writing. Not in that order and not as enthusiastically as the rainbow guy.

Now if I had a double rainbow to edit/write well then, it would be a different story. Where's my pen?

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Novel revision - it's a lot like how yeast reproduce - by splitting - two (smaller) chapters where once there was only one!

Benefits - the narrative arc (rainbow-style) leaps out in a shorter chapter! You can work on the PTQ (Page-Turner Quotient) much more easily! Really fine-tune the transition from one chapter to the next!

Cons - It's really stupid, but as a poet, there's something satisfying about having 10 chapters, each around 10,000 words...that is, they're more stanza-like than chapter-like...rather than having 20 chapters, and some are 4,200 words in length, and others are 3,500, or maybe hit 5,000...can't stand it...

Also, doing a poetry reading tonight - all menstrual poems! Of course, I get my period - I think they call that poetic justice, Aunt Flo style...

Marti said...

Here's an interview with rainbow guy (which is almost as good as the original video) Good even if you have a slow computer, much of it is transcribed.

I guess the video has gone "viral" now. No doubt thanks to our dear Nathan *grin*

Terin Tashi Miller said...

Nathan: thanks for the double rainbow! I love them. Most I ever saw were in New Mexico.

@Whisperingwriter: Jacquelyn Mitchard has such a place. One Writers Place, on Cape Cod, available for those in need of solitude to finish or even start writing.

I'm currently proofing my second novel. I think JohnO's advice is great. I am not a fan of writing either synopses nor query letters. Got spoiled when I was younger by an agent who asked for neither and read my manuscripts through rather than having some less-experienced staffer be the first filter.

That said, I'm seeing the benefit in both query letters and synopses to the writer, to help as he suggested spot weaknesses...

K. M. Walton said...

I saw that video after Jimmy Kimmel tweeted it and my mouth hung open...wide. The guy had obviously just toked on his pipe filled with wacky.

He's pretty crispy in the interview as well. Classic.

p.s. I know another video that made you smile :)

abc said...

I appreciate Double Rainbow guy for who he is--in all his naive wonder and awe. I mean to say, I love Double Rainbow guy for giving me joy!

I Love you Man!

Andrea: I'm trying to wrap my head around nutella on garlic naan. Both are good, but together? I also have not tried coconut or pretzel M&Ms because I cannot seem to move past the peanut butter variety.

Ishta: I have also failed to try pita crisps. I really need to branch out more.

Anonymous said...

How many authors have you turned down who have gone on to commercial success with other agents?

Gillian said...

Thanks Nathan, everyone, for all of it. I needed a little community time today. As usual, it has been a something-from-every-food-group kind of day on the thread.

Anyone else getting ready for the SCBWI LA convention?

Also preparing for a writing intensive.

So much to read.
So much to write.

Is that the double rainbow, Nathan?


nona said...

i've seen double rainbows only in Ireland and New Mexico. Cool!

Anonymous said...

Just concluded the physical,logistical part of my fourth move in three years. I am still writing and attempting to edit and revise my second manuscript. Each time I sit at the computer and read and revise.I am more discouraged.Will i ever learn the craft of writing?I tell a damn good story but does it stand out?
Is it great? Will anyone ever read any of my novels except me?
Haunting questions and doubts creep in silent,insistent and overwhelm the solitary person in the late night/early morning hours.
Mr.Poe,Scrooge and many others have been haunted during those dark,lonely,hours.

Ganz-1 said...

Have a scene in my head, it's great, everything is there...

the only problem is I just don't feel like writing!

*Goes to watch TV*

Em-Musing said...

Thanks for the gift. Practicing pitching for upcoming RWA National conference. :)

Mark said...

Great discussion. I was referred here by Eric at 'Pimp my novel' another great publishing industry blog. If you're interested in what a fellow writer is doing to market his latest thriller, check out my blog at

Anonymous said...

During the first minute of the video, I envied the man's enthusiasm. I don't know that I've ever felt that kind of awe for anything, let alone a double rainbow. By minute two, I began to be glad of that.

Snarky J

Sheila Cull said...

Dear Precog writer, just keep writing and good job!

Jenn Marie asked what it means, but we're not supposed to know yet. I don't think.

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