10.04.2005

What? No Bill Shakespeare?

Garnered from the slush pile, today's winner:


TITLE is written in the spirit of such books as Kerouac's ON THE ROAD, Milton's PARADISE LOST and Dante's INFERNO.


This has masterpiece written allllllll over it. Lucky me.

Sadly, I turned down three books that had the splendor of King Lear last week. It's a bad week for dead white guys. Sorry Jack.

If someone else calls your work Lear-like, ok. When you do it, my reaction is to blind you and throw you off a cliff.

29 comments:

Ric said...

Just curious.
Is there any combination of writers that could be put in that first sentence to pique your interest?

say..Nora Roberts and .....

or I've been channelling Agatha Christie?

or better the query should mention nothing of the sort?

Stephen said...

"Of Dean's First Disobedience, and the Beat Of that Unwinding Road, whose Mountain Curves brought Cool into the World, and all that Jazz..."

What could be more "high concept" than Milton meets Kerouac? :-)

Travis said...

Miss Snark,

Has anyone ever queried you with the promise that they write like Clive Cussler? If I were an agent, that would totally make my day.

T

Maxwell said...

But in the Beatles song Paperback Writer, "It's based on a story by a man named Lear..."

You're not telling me the Beatles didn't know how to word a query letter?!? Say it ain't so!

someone paranoid said...

I love the idea of writting in "The Spirit". It's like that classic "The Godfather Returns" or "The Stranger". I wish more books were composed via seance

Dave Kuzminski said...

Damn! Now I've got to restructure the query letter as well as find some place to store all the cookies and gin I was going to include. ;)

occasional_anonymous said...

I'm thinking that an examination of the similarities between Paradise Lost and On the Road would make an excellent thesis. Was God secretly using methamphetamine? Did Kerouac drive while blind?

Molly the Magnificent said...

But it was rejected on the merits of the writing itself, of course, and not on whatever grandiose comparisons were made in the query letter....

...right?

Miss Snark said...

The writer failed to send any actual pages of this mighty work with the query letter. His overblown opinion of his own writing was enough to win a prized "not quite right for my list" which in this case means "when hell freezes over you can still your ms for heat, cause I still don't want it."

Maxwell said...

If I had to pick the single most important piece of advice Miss Snark has given us, it would have to be:

"Get over yourself."

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Hmmmm...this is a very strange day. Dave whatever you do DON'T send Miss Snark cookies.....remember the roaches...she'll hunt you down and stick a stiletto...well you get the drift. And second...travis, that was a very odd comment, only because Torgo compared my recent synopsis to a Clive Cussler novel. (And at the time, silly me, I didn't know who Clive was...I had to go look up his work to know if it was nice or an insult. :-) Who are you travis (T)???

domynoe said...

Personally, I couldn't EVER compare my writing to that of an established author. I just don't see it as my place - and I need to get an agent interested in MY writing, my voice. Saying my books is like another author's or a combination of other authors doesn't achieve that particular goal.

I really wonder why a lot of writers don't research the "how to" end of things before they start doing. The information is out there, so why jump in without checking it out first?

Mac said...

>If someone else calls your work Lear-like, ok.
Well, here's one query letter where the writer has mentioned some previous work that the DA's office has recognised:

www.moviepoopshoot.com/delusions/images/july25/1.jpg

Is that the kind of thing we should be putting in our own query letters?

Mac

merlinsmuse said...

I'm a first time visitor and I have to say, I needed a good laugh.

I'm surfing the web, drinking a glass of red wine, which, by the way, is a great antioxidant, and I discovered this blog. Being a writer on the prowl for an agent, I stopped by and started to read some of the posts. I love your sense of humour and advice and plan on making this a regular stop in the future.

Thanks for sound advice offered in your rather unique manner.

Have a great day,
Cathy

Miss Snark said...

Mac, oh please.
Miss Snark receives communiques from her incarcerated brethren all the time. In fact, at one point she had a client in the hoosegow. You've not lived till you've been strip searched at Rikers Island.

E. Dashwood said...

"If someone else calls your work Lear-like, ok."

How about? "My daughter, Cordelia--who I cut out of my will, says my work is Lear-like."

BTW,Miss Snark, aren't you just a bit afraid that by posting actual queries, you will become unmasked?

Dave Kuzminski said...

Mac, that's very believeable. Here's one that's not. A little over ten years ago, I received a letter with a prison address. What's more, when I opened it up, it turned out to be a fan letter. Only problem was, the manuscript in question hadn't been accepted or published anywhere. It took almost two weeks to discover that a beta reader had lent her copy to her cousin who was in prison and had nothing to read.

Miss Snark said...

Mr Dashwood, are you concocting crazed queries and sending them out to everyone in the 212?

I'm sincerely hoping regular readers of this blog would know better than to commit some of these breathtakingly stupid mistakes.

E. Dashwood said...

Everyone needs a hobby.

Elektra said...

gasp! For shame! Miss Snark has...but it is too awful to say...it must be done...Miss Snark, our Miss Snark, has called poor e. dashwood by the wrong address! tsk, tsk, tsk.
Dave, I think that comment was the funniest one I've ever read.

E. Dashwood said...

e. is gender neutral. Miss Snark is guessing. But, as e. dashwood, I can take it sensibly and with reason.

Miss Snark said...

ok, you caught me. I've never read Jane Austen. I've never seen the movies. Will you all just faint dead away or have time to smack me around for my obvious nitwittery first?

Elektra said...

Ah, as proper Austenians, we shan't do either. We'll just talk about you behind your back...er...moniter

E. Dashwood said...

We'll talk about how many pounds you could bring to a marriage.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oh, eeeee, you have to be a man...no woman in her right mind (And women are right brained, by the way) would make a comment about how many pounds you could bring to a marriage.....busted dude!

E. Dashwood said...

Bonnie, another non-Austenite.

E. Dashwood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
E. Dashwood said...

Austen's books were about women holding out for a marriage based on love in defiance of marriage as an economic transaction.

Elektra said...

Except, ironically enough, Sense and Sensibility. I don't think poor Marianne ever did get true love. I always thought Jane Austen rather fancied Marianne as a sort of caricature of herself.