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Kindred Souls

Finally got to reading the February 2011 issue of Writer's Digest. (with Nicholas Sparks on the cover, looking like he is daydreaming about pancakes) While going through the letters section I came across not one, but two people that voiced articles of concern that has bugged me since I started seriously writing.
     Who are these people? Jolene Shaw of South Carolina and Kerry Gans of New Jersey.
     What did they address in the letters section? The inconsistencies of the rules of writing and in the advice regarding submissions and queries.
     Shaw wrote about the double standard in writing; in this case switching Point Of View (POV) and the overuse of adverbs. She wondered why established authors get away with these no-no's while in every book/article on writing stresses the rule to edit out those errors and get rid of excessive adverbs. She mentions an author (not by name) that consistently commits these errors, yet is also consistently published. Shaw goes to say that she can't read the author's work any more, finding herself "critiquing every paragraph." I know what she talks about, as I have come across my own examples of  'how the hell did this get published.' I recall a book published by Cemetery Dance, the title I forget, but while the story was good the writer's no-no's abounded throughout the book. (writer's no-no's? Sounds like I'm talking about their naughty parts, Let me change that) . . . writer's shouldn't do's abounded throughout the book. The adverb abuse bordered on being Tom Swifties. I almost expected to come across lines like ; she got out of the chair upwardly. He openly opened the door. One just wonders.
     Gans comments about articles that give advice on how to write queries that will get noticed. Agents and editors stress keeping the query short-n-sweet, but Gans points out that in another article the shortest example of a query given was five paragraphs long.
     Here is my advice on sending cover letters, but really a warning; it's all a flip of the coin, a toss of the dice. Some eidtors want the short-n-sweet, some want to be wowed, others like a brief synopsis, while there are probably some who prefer hand drawn pictographs detailing the story outline. Put in your background? Leave it out? Really too much to worry about. Unless the agent/editor states how to form the cover letter ( "wow me", "keep it short, " "make me a puppet show!" etc ) on their website, I suggest keeping everything the short-n-sweet. If you don't know, stay short-n-sweet and just send your letter in.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
ajnamusing
Feb. 19th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Editors are from outer space. Or they are smoking something from outer space. That's why.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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what hell
barchiel1
Eldon Litchfield

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