Here’s why it’s good to pay attention to the collective meaning of the words you write and choose to string together. It’s headline time. Which also proves that it’s imperative that you NOT piss off your editor, otherwise s/he might let your words stand as they are – which, in the cases below, prove to be hilarious!
STATISTICS SHOW THAT TEEN PREGNANCY DROPS OFF SIGNIFICANTLY AFTER AGE 25. -> Huh, ya think?
COUNTY TO PAY 250,000 TO ADVERTISE LACK OF FUNDS ->Makes perfect sense, but why wouldn’t it? We’re talking the government, money, and decisions right?
MISSIPPIS’S LITERACY PROGRAM SHOWS IMPROVEMENT <-No it doesn’t, unless this Headline was printed in the Washington post.
ONE-ARMED MAN APPLAUDS THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. <-Um, how is that possible?
CONDOM TRUCK TIPS, SPILLS LOAD. <- I got nothing to say to that.
PSYCHICS PREDICT WORLD DIDN’T END YESTERDAY. <- Phew! Wiping brow here, because you know, reading that I could have been dead and didn’t know it.
This is my favorite:
ARMY VEHICLE DISAPPEARS AFTER PAINTED WITH CAMOUFLAGE. <-Hokie doodle! Who painted that masterpiece? Da Vinci?
How many times have you read something and thought: Hang on a minute? Or, done the old head scratch, wondering how that made it to print.
M. Who obviously spent too much time this week in various doctor’s office waiting rooms – reading old magazines.
It’s Blogapalooza! A chance for you to meet some exciting authors and aspiring authors AND score some exciting prizes. All you have to do is read today’s post then visit the 7 bloggers below and read their entries, and try to find the common phrase used in all eight. NOTE: It WILL be a phrase, so single words like “the” or “and” don’t count! Once you think you have it, email it to email@example.com and you will be put into the running for a great gift “basket” comprised of prizes personally selected by the eight bloggers. A random drawing from all correct entries will be conducted one week from today, with extra entries given to those who choose to follow all eight of us! Here are the other seven participating blogs:
SO ARE YOU A SERIAL SLUSH PILE REJECT???
Don’t be bashful, you can admit it and, now that you have, let me just say there’s more of us than there are of them. Who’s them? Why, they’re the ‘chosen few’ who skate through the slush and land with ankles shaking on a patch of thin ice, otherwise known as an agent/editor’s desk for further consideration. But enough about them – let’s get to us.
Here’s some query and submissions do’s and don’ts that any practical writer can understand.
DO: Address your query to the right person and spell everything that follows correctly.
Example: Dear Ms. Smith,
DON”T: Submet gleering problims or mispel names.
Example: Deer Ms. Sm8th. (They might presume the ‘8′ is silent but why take the chance?)
DO: Introduce yourself in a professional and normal manner
Example: I’m seeking representation for my erotic urban fantasy, A Time For Lust Stations.
DON’T: Be crazy or overly familiar with this unknown person.
Example: I just finished this sucker and it’s a real pisser! Check out page 43! That backdoor ain’t in a house! *wink* *wink*
DO: Detail a nice, clean and understandable synopsis.
Example: Drillwella is a eighteen year old nymphomaniac, who gets lost on the way to The Lust Station.
DON’T: Be confusing with the details.
Example: Drillwella, nervously sets out on the rapid car fleeter and watched the driver, the engine sweep, and The Wish-Making Dandelion Picker, while she thought about Willhedome, waiting at the distant lust station, with it’s white rooms and furry beds.
DO: Present some story question that hints at conflict.
Example: Drillwella abhorred Willhedome, so maybe being lost in the worst part of the galaxy in fear of her life, had an upside after all?
DON’T: Be predicatable.
Example: Drillwella eventually finds her way to The Lust Station and has hours of glorious sex with Willhedome. ACK!
Hmm.. When you look at it like that, it seems like it should be pretty easy to become a ‘them’ instead of remaining an ‘us’. Keep in mind that every agent/editor is different. Each one has their own pet-peeves and you’ll never be able to pinpoint or remember them all. So my thought? Since there is no rhyme or reason – fall back on the basics. A neatly typed, correctly spelled and properly structured introduction with just a hint of writer voice applied, will go a long way in impressing a bleary eyed agent/editor.
So, my last do and don’t?
DO: Submit clean and well organized pages, with a great story that leaves the person you’re targeting with additional questions at the end of their read.
Example: Drillwella hurriedly turned the corner and sighed with relief when she spotted The Lust Station. She stepped off the curb and would have stumbled, if The Wish Making Dandelion Picker hadn’t caught her.
“Careful,” he hissed close to her ear. “You’re smarter than I thought…”
DON”T: Be boring or too precise.
Example: Drillwella hurriedly turned the corner and with a sigh <- you ended here because your 50 page limit was up. Really? What a missed opportunity. No one said that you had to submit your work verbatim. Let’s face it. Do you think an agent or editor will call you on this? I don’t.
Therefore, I’ve decided that each submission I put together from now on – is going to be it’s own little package. I’m going to forget that it’s three chapters of a whole, and look at it like this is all my target audience will ever see of my work. And, with that in mind, I will ask myself. Do these pages pack enough of a punch to hold the reader’s attention? Do they leave them wanting more? Is the end part of the submission engaging enough to make an audience member, who may be on the fence over this project, curious to see where I’m going with it?
Oh, doing these things won’t guarantee that you’ll be published or represented, but they may just get you one step closer to plowing through the slush to reach that precarious ice patch.