As a writer I’m always looking for that word, that phrase, that has an accompanying visual like no other.  And yesterday, I found one.

First I have to say, if you need a jolt of inspiration, imagination or perspiration, spend some time with three older gals.  I did, and man, let me tell you.  Hilarious!  Here’s the conversation at one point.

Old gal #1(OG1): “You know they’re living together.”

OG2: “Who?”

OG1: “Maryanne and Dennis.”

OG3: “Really?”

Me: Blink, blink, because not only do I not know who this couple is, I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass that they’re shacking-up.  Let’s face it, they were teenagers when the Mayor of Paris asked: Table for 100,000 m’sieur?   To Hitler when he entered the city in WWII for cripes sake.

OG1: “Yes and there’s a rumor that Ruthie is going to stay over occasionally for a Manage triage.”

OG2 & 3 say at the same time: “No!”

Me: “Manage what?”

Three pairs of eyes blink at me.  I blink back.  Waiting.

OG1: “With the kind of books you write, I would think you’d know what a threesome is.”

Me:  Still blinking.  Then it hits me.  “Manage a trois.  Not triage.”

OG2: “What’s the difference.”

Me:  Seriously?  “Healthy participants.”

OG2: “You think they’ve got the aids?  It’s rampant in the elder community.”

OG 1&3 gasp.

Me: blinking and doing the WTF thing over and over – really fast in my head.  Crapatola!  The last place I wanted to be stuck playing broken telephone was with a group of old  hens who have just enough marbles between them to be dangerous.

*waves* love you guys! :D But they do make me sweat because you never know when one of those WTF moments will pop out in the mainstream.

Or, when one of their newly turned phrases gets to me.  Really.  Think about that phrase: Manage triage…what a freaking visual!

Riley. *shakes head*

“No.”

It’s true.  I really believe this, but then, my version of creation – if God were female – would be that earth was created in five days instead of seven because, well, women are more efficient than men and besides, they wouldn’t have taken a whole day off to rest afterward.

So there I am thinking about the concept of no.  It’s such a small word and yet, spoken in the female vernacular, it translates big-time in many different ways.

Again for the sake of this being my version of creation, my messenger angel will be called ‘Express Male’ and he’ll look like Brad Pitt (in the part of Achilles in Troy) and he’ll um, have wings, for no other reason than I believe that they’re quirky, and any self-respecting angel should sport them.  Now, my female deity?  Hmm.  Think a cross between Heidi Klum and Pamela Anderson with maybe a little Selma Hayak thrown in for good measure – I’d probably go with the circumference of her  hips. <- killer in: From Dust Till Dawn .  Seriously, I think the snake played that part for free. :)

Here’s the conversation after earth’s been around a while.

Express Male enters the heavenly gates and seeks out God: “The mortals are at it again I’m afraid.  They want to start another war.  Should we let them?”

God without blinking: “No.”

“Got it.  They also want to strip the land of raw materials to make toys to play with.  Should we give them carte blanche to do that?”

God unamused: “No.”

“Well, Mother Nature’s pretty pissed about this.  She wants to flood the Eastern seaboard.  Should we let her?”

God, rolling her eyes. “No.”

Express male makes notes and then prepares to leave, but just before he walks off, he spies the post script at the bottom of the page.  “Oh, one more thing.  Politicians are seeking permission to do their own reality T.V shows.  Should we allow them?”

God blinks rapidly, clearly at a loss. (Personally, I don’t know why she’s surprised here. I knew we were going to hell in-a-hand-cart the minute American Idol made it to season three)

“Can I take that as a yes?”

God gasps.  No!”

“Got it. May I go now?”

God undoes her heavenly hair clip and slowly lets down her ethereal curls.

Express Male see it and swallows.  “No?”

God smiles.  “No.”

Hey, shoot me.  It’s my version, isn’t it?  Besides, tell me who in their right mind – even a God – could turn down Brad Pitt, with that hair and those biceps given the opportunity to wield some power?  Although, now that I’m calling up a visual the wings are kind of awkward. 0_0  Meh!  This is fiction.  I’m make them disappear.

Now what? *insert me looking at the ceiling, walls and floor* Where the heck was I going with this?  Oh, yeah. No is a powerful word.  Maybe if we weren’t afraid to use it once in a while we’d actually get something  worthwhile done.

M.

Heck no!  First because, hello? she’s the devil and she’s supposed to be ornery  But second, she’s got all dark clothes.  You know, the fire and brimstone smearage going on, so why bother?  Geez, as the devil, I guess she could command some poor sap of a sinner to do her delicate’s for her.  Yeah, she could lounge on a craggy, shorn off cliff, with fireballs busting all around her, while she picks the pieces of hot pepper from between her teeth with the triangular thing on the bottom of her tail. <-what is that, btw?  An arrow gone wrong?  while she bides her time until said soulless person has finished her ironing for her.

Soulless? Wait!  Am I in hell? Isn’t this how I feel every freaking Saturday morning?  Man, I thought the heat I was feeling was from hot flashes – who knew?

M.

Does anyone else hate laundry as much as I do?  Hmm.. maybe I can parlez this heat into a believable fever.  Do ya think The Boy would know the difference?

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 mikewood_3@yahoo.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:

http://chrisbwritin.blogspot.com/

http://mikesshot.blogspot.com/

http://joannastjames.blogspot.com/

http://eviebalos.blogspot.com/

http://meganbostic.blogspot.com/


http://lynneawest.blogspot.com/


http://thejourneytowardpublication.blogspot.com/


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.

M.

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