Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I passed the forty mark on my query send-outs for HARDCASE, my first person POV thriller. Years back when I was reading Ms. Snark’s agent blog while trying to get a clue as to what would interest an agent, it seemed an impossible and humorous task as I read all the stuff authors should never do. There seemed to be an insurmountable number of items that doomed new authors in general to forever be submerged within the horrible agent ‘Slush Pile’. I read the words ‘craft’, ‘cliché’, and ‘concise’ so many times they began to trigger my barf reflex.
A little time passed and other agents began sharing their likes and dislikes with us, including POV, adverbs, dialogue tags, begin in the middle and end in beginning (or something like that), no this… no that… no… well, you get the drift. These revelations amused, confused, and defused a multitude of writer wannabes like me, I’m sure. I couldn’t have been the only one reading new releases breaking each and every ‘No-No’ and yet getting into print just the same - and selling.
A little more time passed and I noticed writers I myself had followed for many years making public statements not only about politics, but about other writers. The most mystifying was Stephen King deciding to grade the writing ability of Stephenie Meyer. He claimed to understand the attraction to the stories but he claimed - ‘Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.’ To a rube like me if an author manages somehow to climb the literary Mt. Everest of not only getting their material published, but also selling millions of copies along with generating a string of Hollywood movies, that author’s writing might not be pleasing to King or one of the other Gods of the written word, but so what? There are many writers out there who write ‘series’ type books I enjoyed immensely, but when they’ve forayed away from the series I disliked their efforts. It didn’t mean they couldn’t ‘write worth a darn’. It meant only that I didn’t care for the story. I’ve read all the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovitch, but her efforts outside the series have put me off from reading anything else but the series. It had nothing to do with her writing and everything to do with the story. Anyway, we had entered a new era of celebrity critique.
A little more time passes, and here we are in the middle of publishing Armageddon with Amazon creating a self-publishing tidal wave. Agents, writers, publishing houses, and book stores (however many there are left) feel the heat building up to an inferno. It is possible this may mean a brave new world for storytellers. It more than likely will mean a lot less money for a whole lot of people. It may also mean a closer look at submissions with storyline higher up on an agent’s agenda. With my new handy-dandy Kindle I’ve been trying out a lot of free samples from many well known authors. I admit to being confused as to what the agent saw other than name recognition, and I was very happy I hadn’t plunked down cash for it. It wasn’t that the well known writers had forgotten how to write. I just didn’t like the story. In conclusion to this blog thesis, writing form is all well and good, but in this day and age of large free samplings an author better have a story. :)