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Subject:Gobsmacked
Time:10:36 am
Current Mood:Whee!
I am in a State.

Not only have links to some of my posts appeared on Absolute Write, but someone as high up as Victoria Strauss checked them out.  People READ my rants??

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17222280&postID=115076185033909216

:faints:

:recovers:

Now my good bud p_n_elrod is doing links to my humble blog and blabbing about what I thought was a private converstion.  Letting people know I've got a keg stashed in my fridge--the very idea.  Now they'll all want some!

I'll get you for that, you freaking bitch.  What flavor of chocolate do you prefer, milk or dark?

But--we ALL know its st_jb's fault!  Put down that beer mug and take a bow.

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Subject:20 Worst Agents List
Time:10:40 am
Current Mood:PO'd & slugging

Looks like a lone de-ranger has disrupted the world of writing.

I'm glad this has happened.  It's something that needed doing so we can see how vulnerable we are to having our tidy little lives screwed up by one shrill voice howling in the gale.

Barbara Bauer of the Barbara Bauer Literary Agency has been a naughty girl.

She made a threatening phone call to someone even dumber than she is and got Absolute Write (temporarily) shut down.  (For the moment.  Some good people are working hard to fix that.)

As one of my fav writers has posted, this is her Pearl Harbor.

And we all know what happened to the attackers after Dec. 7.  The forces of democracy and free speech martialed themselves, went forth, and did some serious ass-kicking.  (Even as you read this more people are spreading the word.  Feel free to be one of them and repost this list and links on your own blogs.)

Not that this debacle is in any way comparable to the human tragedy above.  No way.  

But Agent B has pissed off a number of very powerful people and damned-well better have another job to fall back on than her singing career

Her life as a scammer cheating unwary, hopeful writers out of their hard earned cash and dreams is OVER.

I suggest something on a farm since she's so good at slinging manure.

So like many others who are offended by what she's done I'm posting THE LIST.

Nuts to you Barbara Bauer, scam Literary Agent!  (And the REST of the losers with her, too!  BB may be the one making the biggest stink, but don't forget the rest of the sharks.)

THE 20 WORST LITERARY AGENTS LIST  (going down in flames)

Below is a list of the 20 literary agencies about which Writer Beware has received the greatest number of advisories/complaints over the past several years.

None of these agencies has a significant track record of sales to commercial (advance-paying) publishers, and most have virtually no documented and verified sales at all (book placements claimed by some of these agencies turn out to be "sales" to vanity publishers). All charge clients before a sale is made--whether directly, by levying fees such as reading or administrative fees, or indirectly, for editing or other adjunct services.

Writer Beware recommends that writers avoid questionable literary agencies, and instead query agencies that have verifiable track records of sales to commercial publishing houses.

Note that while the 20 agencies listed here account for the bulk of the complaints we receive, they're just the tip of the iceberg. Writer Beware has files on nearly 400 questionable agencies, and we learn about a new one every few weeks.

  • The Abacus Group Literary Agency
  • Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
  • Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
  • Benedict Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
  • Sherwood Broome, Inc.
  • Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
  • Desert Rose Literary Agency
  • Arthur Fleming Associates
  • Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
  • Brock Gannon Literary Agency
  • Harris Literary Agency
  • The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
    -Children's Literary Agency
    -Christian Literary Agency
    -New York Literary Agency
    -Poets Literary Agency
    -The Screenplay Agency
    -Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency, formerly Sydra-Techniques)
    -Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
  • Martin-McLean Literary Associates
  • Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
  • B.K. Nelson, Inc.
  • The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
  • Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency, Simply Nonfiction, and Michele Glance Rooney Literary Agency)
  • Southeast Literary Agency
  • Mark Sullivan Associates
  • West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

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Subject:Been away and busy
Time:07:55 pm
Current Mood:pooped and cross-eyed
I've been editing again. Nasty habit. It never fails to put me off writing.

Need to get over that, since I'm also a writer.

Anyway, the stories were from published writers who were apparently wholly clueless about how to write a short story.

What did I learn about writing a short story in the 7th grade?

Something about plot, character, mood, and at some point toward the end--usually on the last page--it all comes to a satisfying conclusion.

Being the product of my home state's admittedly awful education system one might expect other 7th graders in other states to have soaked up a better take on the art of the short story.

Maybe that's true, but I guess I was the one who paid attention in class and figured out how to do it well enough to end up editing the dang things.

Anyway, I am to the point of going postal on what seems to be an endless parade of non-characters, meandering plotlines, and climaxes as bland as a tofu sundae minus the chocolate syrup.

These people are supposed to be highly experienced at telling stories--one of them won a pretty damn prestigious award for a recent novel. Now I'm wondering who I have to sleep with to get one of those myself if the story I read was a typical example of his or her work.

Maybe it was a small deadline or that they just can't work in the short form. Some people can't and there's nothing wrong with that. 

However, a few got VERY huffy about the edit job.  How DARE anyone find anything amiss with their utterly perfect labor of love??  Jeeze--I've seen better reactions from angst-driven pre-teens on Fanfiction dot net.

I'm not the only one on the project--there are other editors up the food chain from me.

That is scary--knowing that I'm getting the stories AFTER they've already passed over the desks of at least two other editors, and I'm finding tons of terribly obvious stuff they've missed. 

Donno about you, but when an editor finds a great big honkin' hole in any of my plots and points it out my first reaction is to FIX it, not defend it.  Ditto for wandering story lines, characters who serve no plot purpose whatsoever, flat characters, and lame endings.

I'll continue to mark 'em as I see 'em and leave it to the others to break the glad news to the writing divas.  

Ahhh....screw 'em--I'm gonna take their writing jobs away.

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Subject:Moron of the Day
Time:08:28 am
Current Mood:Pissed off
I realize I'm in a sticky area taking on fanfic, but this writer got right up my spout.

A would-be writer posted a Lord of the Rings fanfic as an ORIGINAL work and is trying to sell it on Ebay. 1.75 for 5K words. He or she is just too GOOD to post it on fanfiction dot net, apparently.

I've nothing against fanfic unless it's of my own work, then I get postal. The law's on my side for that, so don't bother me with arguments to the contrary, I will defend what I personally own. Subject closed.

That said--the one important point all fic writers know is STAY OFF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER'S RADAR!!!

Not something you can do on Ebay.

Yes, I'm sure people sell their old and new fic in print books on Ebay, but they tell people it IS fic--THIS person is passing it off as his original I-made-it-up-on-my-own fiction. (Yes, right, you're using orcs and set it in Gondor and that's original, yuh-huh.)

I've got more respect for Professor Tolkein and his heirs than that; it pissed me off.

Just to be fair, though, I sent the moron a mail on this. I was polite and took the road of "Is your future writing career worth losing for 1.75?" If the heirs took action this really could go to court. At the very least the person loses Ebay membership.

I hope he or she will listen and take it down. You can't make money on fanfic, trust me on this. You can't make money on truly original fiction unless your name is Rowling or King or Steele, etc.

Besides--1.75 was robbery; the writing sucked.
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Subject:They just get dumber
Time:06:09 pm
Current Mood:grumpygrumpy

Right.  My last posting was a rant about an utterly awful pro writer whose work I had the misfortune of editing.

I said I wouldn't be reading any of his/her books, but I was wrong.  I DID flip through several at a bookstore, just to give this person the benefit of a doubt.  Perhaps the story was written on a bad day, perhaps this person is a better novelist than a novella writer.  Going through a number of titles, reading random sections of description, dialogue, and character interaction would give me a better idea of the writing.

I worked HARD to keep an open mind; I wanted to like this person's writing.  Yes, difficult to believe--those who have met me may laugh, but they know I'm brutally honest on everything, starting with myself--I made an effort, wanting to be fair.

It lasted for about 3 lines into an action scene where a hero is saving someone.  The hero fails then falls into a fit of raging, fist-shaking woe-is-me ANGST, cursing the fates for causing harm to another soul when the freakin' hero SHOULD be getting the wounded to an ER.  The fallen was just knocked out, after all.  Tear your hair out later, moron, DO something! (Or so went my mental shriek.)

Having read better versions of this sort of thing I've little patience with literary characters chewing the scenery, but I KNOW certain tribbers to fanfiction dot net would be all over this one like a cheap suit.

I went through another book, then another, and they all had the same simplistic, one-dimensional, emotionally distant writing.  Instead of leading a reader to feel the hero's emotion, the writer hocked up a line drawing of the hero looking emotional.  It's a fine point and good writers don't do that.  (Hint: SHOW don't TELL, dammit.)

With a little workshopping the whole thing might have had a turnaround producing characters I could believe in, but it ain't gonna happen.  The writer is lazy or doesn't know any better or doesn't care, the checks are fine, thank you for asking.  Certainly I know first hand that the editors with that house aren't going to rock the boat by suggesting the writer improve in the craft.  I compare it to enabling an alcoholic.

It gets better--the other night I was at a writer's workshop and bitched to a friend about this person's clear inability to pass 5th grade English.  I let slip the name of the writer.

Shouldn't have done it--the friend is one of the fanatic followers of the series.  She adores it, she reads the fanfic set in the author's universe, thinks the sun rises and sets on the gorgeous hero, all hale the writer for inventing such magnificence!

Ugh.

When I raised a point against the poor quality of the writing she made excuses for the writer, shrugged it off as unimportant, (WTF???) ignored me entirely, and took up talking loudly at the cat, which was rude as by now there were other writers trying to hear my cautionary tale.  (See if I invite her to trib to anything I edit, dammit.) 

As the wonderful Jim Butcher wrote, her feet are wet and she can see the pyramids.  (In denial, folks.)  She loves this writer and is not happy that I am pointing out the emperor is nekked, and the view stinks.

So my conclusion that the writer sold his/her soul for fame and fortune still stands. The fans are finding delight in a literary McDonald's burger (a cold and soggy one at that!) when there are Wolfgang Puck feasts out there for the same price.  Or worse--THEY CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

This was a major thing for me as a kid.  I read a LOT, but I noticed that the writing was better in some books and downright awful in others.  Early on I began sampling the first few pages to make sure the writer wasn't going to waste my time.  When I began writing myself, I made certain the ones I imitated were *good* writers, not the hacks.

My friend reads the hacks and thinks that level is just fine, and she should aim for it in her own efforts. It's SO much easier than learning to be a better writer, after all.  Arguments to the contrary ain't working.  I figure she's headed, smiling the whole way, to the mediocrity of an e-house, but sadly, sadly she just might make it into print.  If that best-selling hack is what the print houses want, by gawd they have an never-ending supply of submissions hammering on their doors.

It's discouraging when I work so hard to not waste a reader's time.  I am a slow writer, I like to think I'm damned good at it by now, but stuff like this takes the wind out of my sails.  Or sales.

Time for a bucket of gin.  I will be better in the morning.

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Subject:More Writing Wrants
Time:12:34 am
Current Mood:crankycranky

Dear gawd in heaven.

I just finished an 11 hour marathon of editing a novella for a story collection.

The story is by a (NOT kidding here) New York Times bestselling writer.  He/she makes tons more money than I, has thousands more fans, is considered a **Name** in the industry, and has a shelf of titles in every bookstore in the country.  He/she has that rarity called "Clout."

However, he/she can't write.  At least not in this story.  I've never read any of his/her novels.  After this bath in fire I never will.  He/she can't write, I say again.  In fact, the writing bloody STINKS.

I can't and won't name names, so I come here to anonymously (and safely) rant in the cyber wilderness and perhaps some struggling neo won't make the same mistakes as this one.

The autopsy of a badly executed story:

Passive voice.

Fragmented sentences NOT put in for effect.

Sentences ending with prepositions.

Unbelievably flat characters.

Unbelievably moronic characters put in as comedy relief.

Plot holes/lack of continuity.

A sex scene that reads as though written by a virgin.

Cliche descriptives that I've seen in nearly every novel in this particular genre.

A hasty, ill-considered, and massively predictable conclusion.

No real climax (despite the sex scene).

And ^&*%ing viewpoint shifts!!!!!

I hate those like I hate cockroaches.  I want to kill them all dead, dead, dead.

I have read better stuff from a fifth grader failing English class.

But I did my job, gave it my best shot, and kicked the edited story upstairs to the senior editor, along with nearly 4K words of suggestions on how to make the damn thing readable.  I don't know if anyone will pay attention to me or if I'll get fired for my honesty.  This writer may be above listening to constructive critique and blow it off.

After all, this writer is a Name, has money, fame, etc.

And I don't know why

But--- I have a theory: recall, if you will, a TV series from a few years back called "Good Vs. Evil."  It was snappy and clever and told us why the undeserving and untalented were rewarded regardless of their ineptitude--they'd sold their souls to the devil for earthly gain.

That HAS to be it.  It's the only explanation.

Okay, so I'm not on the same rung of the publishing ladder as this writer, but at least my immortal soul is still my own.

So far.

 

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Subject:Writing Wrants
Time:03:38 pm
Current Mood:pissy

Today I bought a couple books at Walmart.  They've got that discount and all.

One was a romance collection with a Lois McMaster Bujold story in it.  I will buy anything with her name on it, 'nuff said.

The other was romance with an unlikely plot about a female assassin during the Napoleonic era.  Not my normal cuppa tea, but the writing was above average so I did some damage to my plastic.

The one I did not get was a vampire adventure kind of thing set in modern times.

The writer lost me two paragraphs in because her viewpoint character for the opening, a supposedly cool to the max, sexy male vampire, is planning to check his favorite blog sites.

Okay, that just threw me (rather WTF violently) right out of the book, and I couldn't drop it back on the rack fast enough.  It told me that the writer likely checks HER favorite blogs every day, maybe several times a day.  Writers often live solitary lives and enjoy the company of other voices in their head.

It told me the writer--who might have a good story to tell, I'll never know--thought it was cute to have a vampire possessing the normal computer vices of the 21st century.  It can give the reader something with which to identify.

Well, here's a clue, youngling--I don't want to read about something I do all the time.  I wanna read about something I don't do all the time.

If that vampire had been in a dark alley about to deliver storming justice to a really deserving bad guy--well, I don't do that sort of thing, so it's interesting to me.  But a vampire waking up, yawning (thus the writer's sub-conscious introduces us to her own pedestrian life) and thinking about doing this or that when he gets around to it violates Larry Niven's 3rd rule for writers:  It is a sin to waste the reader's time.

You want to write an opening that will distract a reader from the pedestrian, not validate it by straining to say, "Hey look, cool kick-butt vampires LIKE my boring life!"  Maybe they do, but I won't read about 'em.

"Write what you know" can be a big fat load of crap.

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Subject:A free writing course!
Time:12:09 am
Current Mood:wowed
It's on the level and it covers stuff that I already know, but dang, the writer put it together so freakin' well!

http://williamsullivanadvertising.com/joeedkin/wfcb_basics01a.html

Yeah, yeah, it's for comics. Don't turn your nose up. Writing is writing, whatever the venue. One of the best books that's helped me for novels and short stories is about film scripting.

Go. Enjoy. Learn. Write.
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Subject:Touched By Dragon Poo
Time:08:44 am
Current Mood:Pissy, but getting over it.

Well, have to take back my thought about the venom cock writer being a patronizing, misogynist male with sick sexual issues. Found a site with her pic. Female, unless it's a Photoshop retouch job. (bcwriters.com/wordworks/2003/fallwinter/speculative.php)

Sooo, she's a patronizing, misogynist FE-male with sick sexual issues. (Any angle you look brutal circumcision followed by under-aged sex with an animal is just wrong.)

In the article she "confesses" to being a genre writer, compares it to coming out of the closet.

WTF?  What is so freakin’ WRONG about being a genre writer?

(We have the most fun, BTW.)

I do NOT care for this jerk's attitude. She declares her love of the genre, then attempts to amusingly defend her feelings to the lovers of mainstream lest she offend *them.*

Jeez--get OVER yourself, Cross. No one gives a damn.  You had some short stories published, then something with small press and then somehow hit the lottery win with a trade put out by a big name publisher--who must have collectively been on crack when they bought your trilogy.

Go ahead and read her piece, but her patronizing 'tude is annoying.  It's the s.o.s. we get from slumming mundanes who think they understand genre.  The only enjoyment I will ever derive from anything concerning her writing will be the lovely crevette 's forthcoming review of the venom cock book.

Not that anyone might care, but I've not seriously gone near a mainstream book in decades, though I'll dip in just to see if things have improved.  Most are just BORING.  Or badly done.  They tend to deal (in a clumsy, overworked 1950’s way) with the same old issues again and again, issues that genre writers deal with using much more entertaining, sprightly writing.

Oh, yeah--if you personally dislike her book, send a letter addressed to ROC telling them why.  The other message to send is to NOT buy the book.  It's like changing the channel on a show you don't like.  VERRRRRRY easy.

If you're curious, then get a used copy off Amazon or eBay.  Those don't count as royalty sales for the writer.  There's no need to encourage her.

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Subject:The "Venom Cock" Book
Time:10:37 am
Current Mood:Pissy

I'm looking forward to crevette 's review of this one.  We must all thank her for taking a hit for the team.  I read--skimmed--the sample sent out by the publisher and found the infamous venom cock combo--which some claim is NOT there, dammit, it's NOT!

Yup, it's there.  Three times in one paragraph, even.  Speaking as an editor there's no way I'd let a writer get away with that kind of repetition.  :snorple:

I read some bits to our Friday night TV watch group until the screaming for me to stop got too loud.  I really did try to share more, but members put hands to their ears and sang "la-la-la."  Things fully stopped when one of them distracted me with something shiny.  Apparently I'd been possessed.

In conclusion we decided facing down a train full of Dementors was preferable to reading more of the sample, as at least after you've had your soul sucked out by e-vul critters the delicious David Thewlis might offer you chocolate.

Some people are defending this "first" novel, playing the "read it for yourself " card.  Nice idea.  But research, little ones, research.  The author, under another name, has at least one other mainstream novel out (you have been warned) and  from the writing style of both (if one can call it "style") it is my opinion that the author is probably a man.

So instead of a shiny, hopeful neo offering up her tender heart in a first effort novel, we could well have a dirty ol' MALE perv obsessing on penises, kiddie sex, and other things one does not generally discuss over the dinner table with the family present.

As for reading it for myself first, nuh-uh.  Life is too short for me to waste additional time over something like that.  The sampler was enough.  There are too many really GOOD writers out there with books I know I will enjoy.  If I want a gross-out I will investigate the various bio-warfare experiments fermenting in opaque plastic containers in the back of my fridge.

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