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Sometimes there are exceptions to the wait-till-you're-finished rule. An agent asked me to query; I did, with an explanation that the novel wasn't finished yet and perhaps I should contact her again when it was. She asked for a partial and a synopsis (which I'm now scrambling to write) immediately. But the thing is, she knew up front it wasn't done; in fact, I told her I didn't know the word count either. She still wanted to see it. Wouldn't recommend this as standard procedure, however.

There are lots of rules I yap about here, and almost all of them have exceptions. Some of you may have noticed I edited your emails to take OUT the weird and unusual things you did before I post comments on the blog. I do this for a reason.

By its very nature this blog has to give general answers. First, it's written from my experience base and no matter how hard hell freezes over, I'm not going to become Binky Urban and have her experiences.

Second, I can't parse out every possible exception because I'm missing very critical information : what you're writing. I don't mean just category (although I often don't even know if it's fiction or non fiction) but also the quality of the work you do.

Third, quality itself is subjective. I sold a book today that 26 editors didn't buy. It's the same book for each editor and I know darn good and well some of them thought I was nuts for loving it. (ha on them!).

My answers here are the default setting. Expressed another way: they are the hump in the bell curve and cover about 60-80% of the situations you'll encounter.

That other 20-40% will be the exceptions. But it's like keyboard shortcuts: you gotta know what you're doing before you starting reconfiguring your system or you're gonna end up with a hard drive crash and the blue screen of death..never a happy place to be.


AzGhostWriter said...

Miss Snark wrote: Some of you may have noticed I edited your emails to take OUT the weird and unusual things you did before I post comments on the blog. I do this for a reason.

Sometimes she also fabricates emails for her own purpose. Like the comment about being a NitWit. She made up her own email to satisfy some ideals of her own.

Here's my email to her, which wasn't what she posted, and see for yourself:

Miss Snark,

I cordially invite you to visit my blog for a good laugh. Read the lawyers guide to simplified divorce and feel free to share it with your friends.

Now where in the heck did she get the idea I wanted or needed her gratitude for reading a simple thread?

Believe what you will of Miss Snark, but her version of "creative editorial" isn't always fact.

Feisty said...

Well of course she uses creative editorial powers. It's her blog, silly. She can do anything she wants. Besides, there's no promise on the front page that everything is true and by the book. What fun would that be?

Bernita said...

Az... Did you or did you not email her the question in that post about blogs?
If not, then did it ever occur to you THAT question was the nitwit question in question?
And why she doesn't spend time on invitations?

AzGhostWriter said...

I suspect there is a thin line between editing out offensive materials and making up stuff.

What's the magic word?


Oh yeah, I forgot it's her blog, her version of the truth, and your belief that she is a goddess? Okay. How refreshing to know that the truth belongs to the site owner. Is this a new American trend we can expect in the future?

Is this the agent you'd want representing you?

Bernita said...

Oh piffle, and pshaw.
"I wasn't upset or mad."
Magic words...

AzGhostWriter said...


Now that's a different thread. This one is about editing email for her blog. What she did on the NitWit thread was fabricate an email. I didn't write that one, but she referred to me in her message.

So, she made it up. Why couldn't she just post my original email and say, "No thanks!".

Easy enough question, don't you think?

Bernita said...

How do you know she "made it up?"
Do you think you're the only one who emails her?
She did say no thanks.
Isn't it egregious to assume that all of her post was ALL ABOUT YOU?
Seems to me you're working very hard to position yourself as injured and aggrieved.
Is this a new style Bookner technique?
Snot a prominent blogger like Miss Snark and generate trafic?

Feisty said...

Hey, I don't take anyone too seriously in this business. It's all subjective. And I'd have to find Miss Snark in order to potentially get her as an agent. And that's like finding a needle in a haystack unless I want to spend hours and hours researching, which I don't. I'd rather just read her blog and laugh.

I consider this blog humor with a touch of realism about the business. Does the Snark know it all? Nah. Nobody does. It's her own take on the silliness that is NYC publishing.

You can't take any of it too seriously. Really, you can't. If you do, it will eat you up and spit you out.

AzGhostWriter said...


Of course, I am not Inspector 11, how silly of me. Click my blog link and check for yourself. No, better yet, believe whatever makes you happy.

This thread is about editing email before posting to her blog. I think she should post the original email, and not massage the message from her readers, or concoct mail to make a point (and then reference a real person).

Is that so difficult to understand?

Word Verification: TruthInAdvertisment

Bernita said...

No, you're not so very difficult to understand...

AzGhostWriter said...

Thanks, same to ya! Have a nice holiday and stay out of trouble.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

We're fussing over whether Ms Snark edits our emailed questions... haha. Wait till we see what happens to our books!

Miss Snark said...

Az, you need to get a grip. The nitwit email was based on something someone sent me who has an aol account. Unless you have more than three email names that you send things to me, this wasn't about you at all. The exact email was posted as written.

I don't need to make this stuff up. It arrives by the bucketfull in my email box...about 120 a day.

Word verification: itsnotallaboutyou.

Mad Scientist Matt said...

AZGhostwriter, I can't even figure out how it is that you assumed that the email you sent was the same one she "quoted" in the "Nitwit question" thread. It doesn't even seem to be on the same topic as your question, and it isn't even clear if it is a response to a real question or just one she wants to answer. For all I can tell, the nitwit thread and your email may be unrelated. No need to be so touchy.

AzGhostWriter said...

Miss Snark,

Honestly, what I said in the NitWit thread stands. But I am Inspector John, and your message referred to Inspector 11, so am I confused or just stupid (don't answer that).

I don't need to get a grip because I suggested "Don't edit the email and post as is (without warranty)".

One last thingy, do you honestly believe I am upset or anger? Nyet! I have thick thick skin and you have my permission to blast me until I am all pinkish.

Oh, and btw, have a great holiday!

Cyclus said...

Miss Snark should not be obligated to edit out the peculiarities, oddities, and detailed backstory of a writer's inquiry just to get to the common ground of experience. This is the job of the writer, whether of fiction or nonfiction. If you can't write a simple, pointed email question, how can you get that first paragraph of the novel down just right?

AzGhostWriter said...


Forget the foray and concentrate on this simple premise. Do you know of any site, blog, or print media who edits correspondence from readers and then provide editorial comments? Maybe I am trying to save Miss Snark a lot of grief down the road, but this message isn’t sinking in because readers here aren’t getting the message.

I strongly suggest Miss Snark take a minute to think about this issue, consult a few scholars, and reminiscence about “editorial” policies.

Errr…a simple disclaimer (gee do I get paid for this legal service?) will save a lot of pain down the road.

Cyclus said...

Sorry, I haven't followed the initial exchange you had with Miss Snark. I got your email message as you reprinted it above, but you didn't provide her response, or how she edited your initial comment. But yes, for an op-ed editor to edit a submitted letter, then respond to a filtered version of it, I'd find that suspect. I just ain't sure Miss Snark did that. You are, it seems.

As for questions that include too much extraneous detail (and not many of them here do, perhaps a credit to MS's editing abilities), I recall a wonderful rule I ran across once on a piece of 1920s Canadian government letterhead stationery. It said: "Please confine your request to one idea. More than that gets confusing." Or something of that nature.

Wish I'd learned that long ago.

AzGhostWriter said...


Oh my, we are taking this to extremes. My original message is posted above. I sent her an email last night, jokingly, inviting her to read a post (which I could have sent in an email) as something to laugh and share with her friends.

This morning I wake up and read her reply about NitWit where she referred to me Inspector 11 but I am actually In-Spector John on my blod. Do you need to be a CIA operative to get the connection?

Ik spreek het Engels en ben niet stom! Ik denk Misser Snark omhoog e-mail maakte en dat verkeerd is.

Ja! Goede nacht,


Bonnie Calhoun said...

Yo!!!AZ...I'll give you the same advice I gave to Fran a couple of days ago....

If you want to take up this much space posting comments, go do it on your own blod (as you called it) and leave us to our fun with Miss Snark. We like her as she is!

Butt out!

That takes a lot of balls, buddy, to tell her what or how she should write on her own site!

Word Verification: itisherblogandshecanwritewhatshe wants

AzGhostWriter said...

Hey Bonnie! When did god make you snarky's little buddy? Please stick to the scriptures and leave real life to us heathens!

Word Verification: GodIsDead

P.S. You don't need to brown nose her, it's already obvious from your picture.

Anonymous said...


My word verification is: visitorstoabloghavealotofnerveorderingaroundothervisitorstothatblog

Shadow said...

How refreshing to know that the truth belongs to the site owner. Is this a new American trend we can expect in the future?

Of course, except that the future is now.

The rules, such as they are, of the blogosphere are the same as the rules of unregulated "free speech":

1. Anyone can say whatever they want (truth and taste pretty much be damned)

2. The only recourses anyone ever truly has are A. More speech (rebuttal) or B. Don't read it/listen to it.

For what it's worth, notice that Miss Snark hasn't bothered to remove any of your comments (as opposed to editing emails that apparently weren't even yours in the first place. If you think that the word "Inspector" is so unique that no one else ever thought of using it, you probably are a CIA agent -- in the Bush administration.) Right there she's showing more editorial restraint than a large proportion of other bloggers; probably for our amusement, because "amusement" is without a doubt Miss Snark's perennial word verification.

litagent said...

Omygod. Knock it off, all of you. Who cares if Miss Snark edits her questions or makes them up out of whole cloth? Really? The point is the ANSWERS, which are generally dead-on in my experience. When I have a different experience or perspective, I'll comment, but Miss Snark knows whereof she speaks, and she speaks in a humorous and entertaining way. What more do you want?

Miss Snark said...

This is surreal. Only now reading the comments do I see Az thinks "inspector 11" meant him/her. "Inspector 11" is a character from a commercial on television about underewear inspectors. You know, you buy undies and the little tag said "inspected by #11". Some clever account exectutive turned that into a commercial.

As for getting a link in an email, I get those all the time and disregard them. If you sent me one, I deleted and and, here's the important part: forgot about it.

This is really getting funny cause it's such a case of seeing yourself when in fact, you weren't even on the radar screen.

As for editing, get over yourself. Every letters to the editor column in the newspaper is edited for content and clarity and says so upfront. I do too. If you don't like it quit reading the blog and for gawdsake quit WRITING on it.

the chocolatier said...

I am reminded of middle school. -Sigh- I thought I had left all the 'he said/she said' drama behind.

Bernita said...

I think one more comment is in order, re : Az's insult to Bonnie.
"As...." is obviously an ellipsis.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Azghostwriter, that comment to Bonnie was uncalled for.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

I agree with Dave and Bernita.

Az - If you don't like Bonnie's comments or Miss Snark's blog, don't read them.

Bonnie is allowed to write whatever she likes, and if she chooses to be supportive of Miss Snark in a way you deem to be "brown-nosing", simply don't read her comments. Easy enough.

You're certainly welcome to your own opinion, just as everyone else on here is.

However, making derogatory, insulting comments is unprofessional and uncalled for.

Let's not perpetuate insults and sneers; instead, let's have healthy debates in a professional, mature manner.

In short, let's all pretend we're grown-ups. :D


AzGhostWriter said...

Miss Snark,

I do apologize to you and the readers here if I've said or done anything inappropriate. I concede to the fact that fiction is sometimes stranger than life.

So, I hope you'll forgive my intrusions and allow me to skip back into my lurk mode and just enjoy your site.

I consulted my horoscope and it said:

If you thought your words were potent yesterday, you'll be absolutely amazed at their effect now. You'll find just the right mix of perception and assertion to make every syllable well worth its weight.

I take this as a sign to finish the chapter I was working on yesterday.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Well, well, well...AZ....who's true colors are showing?

God Bless you my child!

kitty said...

Capricorn, AZ?

harridan said...

Wow, look at the stuff I miss when I'm off writing.

I must say, I emailed a question to Miss Snark this past week and she posted it as written. Was it because it was pithy and well written? No. It was just straight to the point about the topic I wanted her to address.

And really, the whole Inspector 11 thing... Miss Snark constantly makes reference in her post taglines of past and present catch phrases.

I'm surprised she hasn't used "Where's the beef?" yet. LOL

And one more thing, when Miss Snark decided to answer my email question on her blog, she instantly zipped off a return email to me to let me know it was posted. I hardly believe that this was a unique occurrence because I'm just a "fabbo" snarkling.

So I think this is her natural way of operating. Sometimes she answers emails recieved directly, sometimes she answers a question buried in the blogger comments, and sometimes she just makes a generalization based on actual emails on the same topic that have piled in her inbox.

But in this instance, she definitely states the Inspector 11 posting was an email quoted verbatim.

Personally, from my experience here, I take her word for that. The inspector 11 thing was no more than an unfortunate coincidence.

AzGhostWriter said...

The inspector 11 thing was no more than an unfortunate coincidence.

I just love unfortunate coincidence in fiction. Some of the best thrillers and suspense novels I've ever read had the element of opppss...wrong place at the wrong time premise.

This whole thread (plus NitWit) is a potential thriller for the clever writer (I'm not so clever) to exploit. Think of it. Blogger mistakenly insults a reader who stalks and terrorizes Head Mistress Floozy!

Floozy flees in terror and persuades clean cut copper that FlagpoleBoy is after her.

Okay, someone else take over for me. I need a smoko!

Toot Zein,

Brady Westwater said...

Now that the bullets have stop flying, it's safe enough for me to poke up my head and opine that I think Miss Snark read both emails,

She then specifically reponded to the one while using the Inspector referrence in the other blog as her inspiration for a very clever one-liner.

N'est-ce pas?

AzGhostWriter said...

Hey Brady,

Nice plot twist. Unfortunate coincidence and mistaken identity.

Imagine the possiblities for a great thriller.

Run with it!

P.S. Who was it that said there ain't no original story ideas anymore?


Bernita said...

Dennis Leary lyrics cued in...

harridan said...

Okay then, AZ.

Miss Snark's post was all based on your email. She had a point to make, and used you by twisting your email to her satisfaction. There was never anyone else asking for her to check out something on his/her site.

You are validated.

domynoe said...

Lawd. *smacks forehead*

~~Olivia said...

Oh Miss Snark, now I know why you turned on the comment moderation. That was an ... interesting thread.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to also mention that Miss Snark published one of my questions- unedited- and she also sent me an email, letting me know that the answer was posted.

So, if you don't get that, then I'd assume that the question you see posted is not yours, although it may be similar to yours.

And I must say, AZ, I think you owe Bonnie a direct apology, not just a blanket one to Miss Snark and "everyone else." You were completely out of line.

Janet said...

There seems to be a missing link somewhere. This discussion about edited messages appears as comments to

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