5.21.2006

Cluster died for your sins?

Greetings, your snarkfuliciousness,

I finished my first novel a year ago and have been doing research and rewrites ever since. I have everything I need except a compelling query (been scrapped and rewritten two dozen times). Given my genre novel's youthful, gritty (dare I say, edgy) tone and voice, I'm stuck on a word.

In the synopsis bit of the query, clusterfuck works so well, as it accurately portrays the amount of danger the protag is in, and is an obvious clue to my sopranos-grand-theft-auto-esque dependence on vulgarity. I feel there's no reason to hide in the query the language I use all throughout the novel's dialogue. And while I only want to use that one word, I understand this is a business letter.

Can of worms, hornet's nest, powder keg, big lot of trouble, ect.. doesn't have the impact I'm looking for.

Is it the height of insanity to cuss in your query, or will it merely separate me from agents who wouldn't want to represent my potty-mouth work anyway?

I appreciate what you do for us obsessive, clueless writers, and I don't mind being a nitwit, because I can depend on others to straighten my ass out.

As you can see from the two preceding posts, you're not even in the running for Nitwit of the Day. Maybe tomorrow.

At some point some one has to read the novel so if clusterfuck is the word of the day, might as well use it up front. And if an agent is horrified/offended and chagrined, well, you've saved them from reading this horrifying/offensive, dare I say it edgy, novel. Besides I'll take a novel that uses cluster fuck any day of the week before I'll look at sensitive coming of age novel or someone doghelpus battling their personal demons.

If you've been working on your query letter for a year, you need to get off your ass and get this thing out in the world. You wait too long and clusterfuck is going to be the name of some celebrity's offspring and you'll be as edgy as Grandmother Snark's purple mohawk.


(My spell czech wants to change clusterfuck to cloister; I'm not sure what that says about Firefox.)

17 comments:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

you do have to be careful with swearing--like Ms. Snark says, it can date you.

C. Redding said...

When did clusterfuck go out of date?

Anonymous said...

How 'bout SNAFU? For you non-military folk that's situation normal, all fucked up.

Anonymous said...

And the winner for best . . . (blogger name?) is . . .

sex scenes at starbucks

That should be the title of a book.

tlc said...

Clusterfuck shows up in enough romance novels that I wouldn't worry about it. :-) I was at a romance conference in Denver a year ago, and the shutle driver between the airport and hotel was an ex-marine, all of 21 years old. He was so excited to have a bunch of writers at the hotel, so I asked him if he'd mind clarifying something for me. He turned redder than his hair (gotta love those light, freckled complexions) when I asked him to explain the difference between a clusterfuck and a goat fuck.

overdog said...

As a relatively new snarkling I still have archives to peruse, but I do miss Miss Snark over the weekends. It's good to have you back, fangs bared and funny.

Anonymous said...

Clusterfuck in a romance novel? What romance novels you been readin'?

The mind boggles.

:-\

Anonymous said...

Clusterfuck? Goat fuck?
WTF are those things? Okay, I've been hiding under a rock, but HUH?

kis said...

If you really want to know if your query is ok--and if you get your rocks off being ridiculed in front of an audience--why not send the letter, clusterfuck and all, Evil Editor's way? Knowing him, he might know some even more vulgar terms you could use in your query--as well as *about* your query, your book, and the publishing business in general. They don't call him evil for nothing.

Speaking as one whose life is one huge clusterfuck, I have no issues at all with the word.

Kis ;)

Anonymous said...

"...when I asked him to explain the difference between a clusterfuck and a goat fuck."

So what'd he say?

michaelgav said...

"When did clusterfuck go out of date?"

That everyone is still using it is part of what pushes it toward cliche. Goat fuck, on the other hand, seems fresh as hell. I wonder what else might work. Gnu-fuck? Yak-fuck?

Or how about yakshit to replace apeshit or batshit?

kis said...

How about fuck-stick? That's what my three-year-old used to call fudgecicles. It has a universal appeal, as well as a gutteral kind of resonance.

"let's blow this fuck-stick stand."

Anonymous said...

"Clusterfuck is going to be the name of some celebrity's offspring "

ROTFLMAO

Time for a new keyboard.

tlc said...

Well, after he stoppede choking and blushing, he gave me examples of each, and according to him, a goat fuck wasn't nearly as bad as a clusterfuck. He gave me another acronym, which of course escapes me at the moment. REMF? I also spoke with a former FBI HRT operative (still can't see HRT as anything other than hormone replacement and my brain won't register hostage rescue without a conscious effort -- really made his book an interesting read, though -- anyway, he said the more accurate term is goat rope. There's lots of "military themed" stuff on the romance shelves. Suzanne Brockmann is one example.

Captain Bizarre said...

How do you solve a problem like this? Well, I think the spiel checker has conceived an immaculate solution: cloisterfuck is a perfectly reasonable, if somewhat conventional replacement for clusterfuck. Indeed, I think cloisterfuck sounds superior to clusterfuck in every way. Perhaps it has nun of the history of clusterfuck, but try saying cloisterfuck a few times in hushed, reverent tones - it really is habit forming.

jude calvert-toulmin said...

> If you've been working on your query letter for a year, you need to get off your ass and get this thing out in the world. You wait too long and clusterfuck is going to be the name of some celebrity's offspring and you'll be as edgy as Grandmother Snark's purple mohawk.

snigger :)

Xikky said...

Ha ha Miss. Snark, you are one funny lady. Your blog helps to relieve some of the pain of battling a hangover, here in the North of London Town.