The Quill Awards...Miss Snark's version

Other than the stupidest name in the world, the entire Quills awards program is ...well...old old old.

Miss Snark has a much better idea.

Porcupine quills.

Nominate if you will:
1. The least helpful / least informative website by a literary agency

2. The least helpful/worst written book about writing you've read either this year or ever (indicate which).

If anyone selects Miss Snark's they win two tickets to The Quills' Awards Show.
Second prize is four tickets.


Anonymous said...

Least informative/helpful website by an agency:


Not only do three in-demand agents work in the same office now, but would-be writers have been salivating over it for the past eight months while "construction" on the site slogs on. Someone FINALLY put up some query information, but it says nothing of what these agents are currently seeking.

(This site is only least helpful for me because it's one I've been waiting on forever to see what develops. There are other sites- pages, more like- with just the agent's name and a phone number, street, and email address, as though future clients can just take their pick of methods to get in touch...)

Least helpful book: this is difficult. I've gleaned useful information from every book I've read on the subject. I guess I had a lot of !duh! moments reading Noah Lukeman's THE PLOT THICKENS.

Anonymous said...

I have no answers to either of these, Miss Snark. One, because I've given up the agent search, at least for now. My small publisher is fine for my current needs, found 'em all by myself. Not that I wouldn't LOVE to have one, it's just that my genre is repped by a tiny little bit of the agent population, none of whom seem to like me yet. And the only book about writing I've read lately is "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers", which I found fabulous.

No, I just wanted to say, thanks. This is a really cool site, and all writers should visit it. If nothing else, I've learned a great deal about what NOT to say in a query letter. And thanks for the laughs.

Kitty said...

I've never looked for an agent. I will be in the future.

I don't read how-to-write books as a rule because eons ago a writer friend told me to forget those books, that they were written by gasbags. And then Agent 007 highly recommended Pat Walsh's 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published, so I bought it and have thanked Agent 007 several times. Plus, I do have a tattered copy Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (1979) which I consult often. Those are the only two I've read.

Anonymous said...

Least helpful (though well-written!) book on writing was Rita Mae Brown's Starting from Scratch. You pretty much have to stop when one of the directives is "Own the multi-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary" And another, "Learn Greek and Latin." Admirable goals in life; probably not necessary to be even a passable writer.

Jamie said...

I've never read a bad book about writing, but I know where you can find them: Barnes and Noble has a whole table full.

Anonymous said...

In fact, the OED is a wonderful source for historical/romance writers- it traces the meanings of words to their source in Old English. It's not necessary to own a multi-volume edition of any reference book which is constantly being updated, though. An online subscription (free through most universities or public libraries) more than suffices.

Learning Greek and Latin is important only if your target audience is the dying breed of classics professors.

Doesn't Rita Mae Brown write cozy mysteries about cats?

Anonymous said...

My least favorite writing book is THE MARSHALL PLAN.

It should be entitled 'How to write Schlock and make Everyone Cringe'. God, that book was painful.

Worst website? Anything with an animated .gif somewhere on it. Seriously. Those are SO 90's.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Rita Mae Brown write cozy mysteries about cats?

Yes, and she also writes southern gothic lesbian lit- "Rubyfruit Jungle" was *the* book for babydykes to come of age to in the 80s.

~~Olivia said...

Worst writing book by far is the one by RWA members, "Writing Romances". As an aspiring writer, I thought this book would be a great do-it-all guide, from A to Z. Wow, it's from RWA. This should be fabulous!

When the first chapter was how to get an agent, I almost threw it against the wall. Shouldn't I consider an agent AFTER I've written the book? I want to write a novel. I need a roadmap. Is an agent the FIRST thing I sould be worried about? Uh, how about plot, characters, dialog, etc.

I scraped the book off the floor and flipped through the pages. The rest of the chapters were written by different authors and spewed vague fluffy ditribe about types of romances, research and the history of romances. Nothing about writing.

The sections on business and promotion seemed adequate, but I think I need to finish a manuscript first. Out of four stars, it gets zero.

Molly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Molly said...

Ditto on the nomination of Noah Lukeman's THE PLOT THICKENS. Useless.

I thought to give it away, but didn't want anyone to take this act to mean that I thought it was worth reading.

(MARSHALL PLAN also felt like a total retread, but maybe this is only because of the order in which I read it. Maybe it would have felt illuminating had I read it first.)

Least helpful agency site? The agencies that still don't have a website. Gah!

I was so happy when Irene Goodman FINALLY put up a website. Now if only Jane Rotrosen would follow suit.

We dreamers need fodder. :)

Mac said...

Easy. www.icmlondon.co.uk

Domain registered on the 03-Jun-1997 AD.

They are still 'busy creating their customer web site', the pictures can't load and the only links are to load some totally unrelated software !!!

OK - they tend to agent screenwriters rather than novelists, but that's still no excuse to be so useless...


Anonymous said...

I have to disagree about The Plot Thickens. I found his discussion of suspense to be highly useful.

The book I found least useful personally was Write Away : one novelist's approach to fiction and the writing life. That's merely due to a difference in working style, though.

Molly said...

Another entry in the by-now-familiar category of "Only has a splash page with a mailto: link" is:

Joanna Pulcini Literary Management

Miss Snark said...

That's Jennifer Weiner's agent. She's not giving you instructions on how to send her stuff for a reason. She's not taking new clients over the transom. IF you get an introduction from someone she represents or come from an editor she works with, sure. But she's limiting her slush pile for a reason.