3rd SR Crapometer #94

Dear Ms. Snark:

Please forgive me if Ms. Snark is not the way you prefer to be addressed. I considered the formal Her Snarkness and the casual Yo, Snarko. After much deliberation, I selected the middle ground. (yea well, the middle ground isn't always the right choice is it?--here's your snarl)


Dear Ms. Agent: (snarl)

Wry and utterly confident, Mason LaCroix must choose between wit and weapon when his semi-estranged wife and her mother are kidnapped—on the same day—by different thugs—for different reasons.

LaCroix transports valuable or sentimental items for wealthy clients. Life turns sour when a detective tries to relieve him of $1 million in bearer bonds he is delivering to a wealthy widow’s sister. What is already sour, curdles quickly when he agrees to locate the man who stole business plans worth a glittering ransom from his wife’s billionaire brother.
LaCroix is in a race where waves of adrenalin and fear may be the tsunami which destroys his customary confidence.

I'm adrift in an ocean of adjectives. Perhaps you'd care to send a life raft.

Complete at 79,000 words, Double Take, blends suspense, humor, strong female characters, and a quirky romance.

My humor columns appear in eight XXXX-area community newspapers.

Thank you for your consideration. May I send you the complete manuscript? (no-but you can ask me to read the enclosed pages)


First page---

The distinctive sound of a nearby gunshot splintering wood made me jerk. The second round jolted me fully awake and wary. After the adrenaline rush subsided, I realized I had left the television on in my hotel room. It was playing an old Clint Eastwood spaghetti.

I don’t brood about having been shot before, so my reaction surprised me. Caught myself absently rubbing the scar on my neck and wondered whether Caroline’s oft-expressed fears were in the back of my mind. The few scars I’ve accumulated nourish the root of her discontent. Which is why we now live in separate houses even though we’re married. I don’t like being apart, and I’m not sure she does either. But that’s where we are.

Shoved myself up on my elbows. Clock revealed it was 5:30 a.m. Reality wormed its way back in. Last night I had driven down from Seattle to Eugene. This morning my job was to pick up a million in bearer bonds from a wealthy middle-aged widow named Susan Allardyce. My task, mundane as it seemed, was to deliver them to her sister in Coeur d’Alene. (that's in Idaho for those of you looking in your Rand McNally)

The remaining slurry of adrenalin working its way through my system meant I wasn’t going back to sleep.

After my morning ablutions I donned my usuals, pale-blue oxford shirt tucked into khaki Dockers, and a navy sport jacket. I walked up Coburg Road to the intimate 24/7 plastic-and-chrome place where I’d had dinner the night before. Breakfast consisted of tea and rye toast, please, and don’t even think about pouring any orange juice from the pitcher in your hand, thank you. While chewing the toast, I gnawed on Dieter Lange’s comment that his client had sounded tense when she called to arrange transportation for the bonds.

Yawn yawn yawn.
Why you think it's a good idea to open with someone sleeping absolutely eludes me.
You're telling everything, showing nothing.
The premise of this novel wouldn't fly.

This is a form rejection.


srchamberlain said...

Good dog, talk about adding insult to injury: a whole paragraph about why she can't get your name right.

Notice how there's a strong correlation between people who submit crap and people who write "Dear Ms. Snark"?

There's a reason for that.

Anonymous said...

I have a few problems (I know about those problems, I mean the problems with the writing.)

1) Semi-estranged: Do you remember a novel and a movie Semi-Tough? Great Satire! It made fun of football. Is semi-estranged satire or does it mean some odd state of being not estranged and yet fully estranged.

2) "Wry and utterly confident, Mason LaCroix must choose between wit and weapon" - - James Bond is both witty and chooses nice, nice weapons. Why the choice betwee one or the other?

3 ) "What is already sour, curdles quickly" - - Things rot only once, however a bad situation can become worse (plain words, please plain words)

4) "glittering ransom" - - Do bearer bonds glitter? Is the ransom jewels?

5) "Reality wormed its way back in." - - Why? unreality was having so much fun.

6) "the intimate 24/7 plastic-and-chrome place where I’d had dinner the night before" - - - - oh, who cares, a greasy spoon by another name still smells like a greasy spoon even if it has roses on the tables. why use a great expression for a useless fact. We all know he ate breakfast.
An intimate place? What's it's name? Gord's Intimate Eatery?
Wesley's World of Pancakes?
Big Bubba's Pork Palace?
Pierre's Gastronimique and French Livery (we stable horses)?
Greasy the Greek's Slick Gyro's and Oily Onions?

McKoala said...

The mixture of telegramese and 'normal sentences' is jarring to me. That plus the fact that nothing much is going on.

Anonymous said...

The gunshot was from the TV. What the hell were you thinking? Just when I got sucked in, I find out it's the TV. Sometime I read these entries and wonder if people are just messing around and sending in crap they just made up seconds earlier. If these people are playing a joke, then they should be blackballed from the publishing industry.

Anonymous said...

^ same questions. And *yawns* no action...if there was some, I was too busy skimming over the rediculous show-offy adjectives to stop and notice...

Writerious said...

I hope the writer lives in the Pacific Northwest and understands the distances that the MC is being asked to travel. A car trip from Seattle to Salem takes 5 hours minimum (for my brother, anyway, who tends to be a bit of a lead foot), so to Eugene it would be about 6 hours at the least -- if traffic is light and you use I-205 instead of I-5 going through Portland. If traffic is stop-and-go in Seattle and Portland, and slows through Woodburn and Salem, add upt to two hours to the driving time. From Eugene to Coeur d’Alene -- hmm, I've driven from Salem to Coeur d’Alene in one long day. I'd give it at least 8 hours, including stopping for meals, if traffic is favorable, and if it's not winter and the Columbia Gorge isn't icy.

I'm also wondering about the believability of someone delivering $1 million in bonds from a wealthy someone in Eugene (a university town known for its arts center, its dense population of aging hippies, and the annual Oregon Country Fair, where you can see more naked hippies than you ever want to see), to a sister in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where the main industry is tourism of the fishing and hunting sort. That's going to take some explaining.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't get past the name.

LaCroix is the sexy but bad vampire from TV's Forever Knight series.

Or a type of Canadian soda.

Anyone named Mason (Dixon line?) LaCroix will have been beaten up a lot on the playground.

The other problem is I did not for a moment think this was written by a man.

If the writer IS a man, then I'm sorry, but you need to butch up, because the character ain't selling.

Please go read everything written by John D. MacDonald, Chandler, Hammett, Dick Francis and Ian Fleming and, what the hey, George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman novels. Your writing and character need testosterone!

By chance were you inspired by "The Transporter" at all?

When you have a gunshot in a book have a real bullet involved.

I'm harsh on this because my 1st book opened with a character waking up. Two years worth of submissions and rewrites went by before I changed the opening to something considerably more interesting. It sold.

If this is to be an action thriller, then please open with some thrilling action.

Anonymous said...

Yep, srchamberlain, an entire paragraph to explain why this particular writer can't be bothered to follow clear directions. The others I could believe were honest mistakes; this person is clearly saying, "I couldn't be bothered to read the rules," and saying it in a sly, Aren't-I-cute- tone of voice.

Anonymous said...

"Please forgive me if Ms. Snark is not the way you prefer to be addressed."

Dude. This is not a difficult thing to get right.

The point is, if you're contacting an agent, you ought to have done enough research about him or her to know what his or her name is.

You don't have to do very much reading, here, on this blog, to find out that 'Ms. Snark' is not the proper form. (Did you notice the snarling?)

It's like this: 'Miss Snark' is nobody's real name. It's a persona. A fictional character, if you like. The character's full name is 'Miss Snark'.

Now let's imagine you're contacting a different agent, out there in the real world, and her name is 'Judith Fistwaddle'.

Sure, you might write 'Ms. Fistwaddle'.

But you wouldn't begin your query 'Hey Jude'.

Dig me?

Sam said...

I think if you open the book with a gunshot, someone should at least get shot on the first page.

Jo Bourne said...

>>Pierre's Gastronimique and French Livery (we stable horses)?

Nah. But they sell foie gras.