Friday, December 22, 2006

Making A List...

Couldn't find a picture of a naughty Christmas Ho Ho so this Nick will have to do.

Those of us who haven't reached the temporary and superior safety of a contract with an agent or a publisher continue to be fascinated with reading the letters to Santa in situ, ie. Miss Snark.

Besides, Reganomics is too rarified for most of us.

Lots of requests for magic tricks yesterday.
Santa dropped off a few neat red wagons.
Two stood out that might make the office rounds - but not in a good way.
One involved X plus Y and a Z equals The End. Minimalism in extremis.
Another produced Killer Orgasms as a plot point.
God damned - or 500 years with a blow-up doll, I guess...

In addition to stock phrases, certain verbs, nouns and adjectives appeared in endless recitation.
shaken (by)
and: desires, mysterious, (the) truth, entire, suspicious, revelation, diabolical, conscience.

After a few hundred repetitions, these words take on a distinctly purple tone.
You might like to check twice.


Sam said...

Killer Orgasms?
I think I used that one in one of my books already....


Ric said...

Haven't gotten to the orgasms yet, but sounds like something right up my alley. :)

Didn't Jane Fonda do that? Barbarella?

I've only made 100 or so on the Crapometer.

What strikes me is how many demons, nasty devils, magic stuff, maybe just me, but I was unaware this was a hot genre?

Anyone else notice this?

Bernita said...

This one had them all dying for sex, Sam! Literally...

Paranormals are (were?) hot, Ric.

Rick said...

Ric - Yes, Jane Fonda in Barbarella. The baddie strapped her into a machine that pleasured his victims to death, but she blew out the fuses.

I don't know whether "dark fantasy" (horror 2.0, so to speak) is hot now or not - horror was very hot in the 90s, then very cold after publishers got flooded with mediocre stuff and published too much of it.

Like you I crapped out early on this Crapometer - after a while the lame stuff all blurs together ...

Amie Stuart said...

Orgasms don't kill people.
People do.


Bernita said...

It's easier to take in 20 entry bites, Rick.
Else, as you say, it blurs...

Made one wonder if the writer has a sex=death hang-up, Amie.
Or a seriously sore hand.

Ric said...


Amie, too!!!

Would certainly be a good way to go.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...I so agree with Rick. I don't even peruse the comment trails anymore! I just read the entry and Miss Snarks's comments.


There are a lot of words, including those on your list Bernita....that I will never use again.

This exercise is even more eye opening that her Crapfest last Christmas. Because these are shorter, more obnoxious words stick out faster!

Although further down in the trail Miss Snark had the "ingredients for a hook souffle" and I liked those ingredients better than the X, Y,Z thing!

God bless Miss Snark for this...and God bless all of you guys too!

Bernita said...

But's the women who die...and he's left feeling like a ... with a 500 year viagra over-dose!

They do, don't they, Bonnie?
One could use one or two but when whole queries are littered with the same verbies...

God rest ye, be merry...Bonnie!

Rashenbo said...

Only too true!!! :)

EA Monroe said...

Bernita, I forgot to tell you, but a dear friend of yours left a special wish for you in my Christmas stocking!

Bernita said...

Certainly had a redundancy effect, Rashenbo.

Thank you, Liz.
A very sweet thought.

Erik Ivan James said...

Hmm...I always find orgasms to be life enhancing...

raine said...

Ah, well, they do call it "La Petite Mort", yes?

Okay, you've convinced me. Heading over to Snarkville to view the slaughter, lol.

Scott said...

Hi Bernita,

Thanks for dropping by and wishing me a great holiday. Same to you. And God willing, I'll be able to have a new year that results in a finished novel.

Bernita said...

That was their original purpose, Erik...

More variety so far today, Raine.

Here's lookin' at ya, kid!

Dave said...

I noticed a couple things -
Hooks are advertising and marketing copy. Writers of fiction and poetry are taught avoid that style of writing. MFAs think it's beneath them to write marketing (and in a novel it's bad style). So what happens is that Miss Snark gets lots of Hooks and query letters that miss the mark. I went through this with PHD Engineers not wanting to touch equipment nad built equipment that failed. Whereas me, with just a bachelors, used to build experimental rigs that worked first time, all the time.

Writing pamphlets or factsheets is marketing and I had to do that as a job for a year and a half - (explaining science to non-scientists and making it interesting). I also got stuck with playing "ask a scientist" on the web site. You try explaining coal and energy to giggly teens, eight year olds and advising Mothers on science projects. It's fun.

Also, hooks require as much attention to the individual words as poetry. Most of the Snark entries seem to bomb out after a paragraph or two of hook and get tired, bored or impatient. I don't know what exactly, but they just defocus or use those shortcut words you are making a list of.

I sent an entry into the last crapometer and not this one. The hook part worked out OK. I did get impatient and lost the thread in the second half. However I write Sci-Fi and Miss Snark really does NOT represent Sci-Fi. Not that I wrote anything all that good, but she landed on it with both heals and had lots and lots and lots and lots of fun. (i can take it, I'm not fragile).

Bernita said...

Thank you, Dave.
Your de-construction analysis is always valuable.
Part of the problem may stem from a lack of distance from the plot by the writer.
Another problem may be the assumption that cliches are allowed in back-cover blurbs, particularly in stories of genre.
They may be, but what might interest a reader looking for a comfort read is not the same thing that will hook a weary agent.