10.12.2006

is there too much of a good thing?

Dear Miss Snark:

You have a new, unpublished client. You love her voice, her characters and witty dialogue, the way she uses just enough words to paint a memorable scene. And, despite a couple of plot flaws, you've signed her up because the flaws can be fixed with a bit of rewriting.

My first question: Once this is done, will you then read the entire manuscript again?

My second: Does a re-read take away some of the magic? Would it, perhaps, make you less excited about the story (in this case, women's fiction) because you already know how it ends?

My third: Are you aware your name does not appear in my treasured Roget's Thesaurus, copyright 1975?



Yes.

No. The hallmark of a really good book (which of course is a given if you're one of my clients) is that I like being in the book, and with the characters so much that even knowing the ending doesn't spoil the experience.

One can hardly blame Roget for failing to mention Miss Snark in 1975. One hopes the 2006 edition has been perfected.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with this entry, but with all the photos now on the site I must ask. These are honest questions from a guy wanting an honest answer from the fairer sex. What do women actually find attractive about GC? If he weren't rich and famous would he be as attractive? To us men, he is just another old gray-haired guy.

DeadlyAccurate said...

Well, even though he's almost as old as my parents, I still find him fairly attractive, because the man positively oozes charisma. He has a beautiful, very real-looking smile, and I love to hear him speak; his voice is almost as lovely as Kiefer Sutherland's. And he seems to be a real smartass. I like smartasses.

Kate Thornton said...

There's so much to be said for old gray-haired guys, especially when the alternatives are all those fuzzy-chinned, pierced, funny-looking young guys. The self-absorption of youth is such a downer.

GC would still be attractive to me because that beautiful look says charm, humor, experience, patience, intelligence and dexterity.

Of course, I bow to Miss Snark's taste in men, but find Sean Connery and Ian McKellan attractive too. Rich & famous is nice - it's the famous part that makes them familiar - but not necessary. It's just that the attributes which make CG so attractive will also result in money & a certain amount of fame.

Anonymous said...

It's the twinkle in the eyes, the cadence of the speech, the way he moves. And the absolute certainty that in real life he has character.

Anonymous said...

I'll play dumb out of curiousity. Who's GC? Gary Coleman...somehow that doesn't fit with the description.

Miss Java said...

Kate, you have a much better shot at GC or Sean, considering that Ian McKellan is quite gay.

Unless, of course, you are actually a man.

Elektra said...

Eh, I'm a Colin Firth kinda gal. Or Hugh Jackman with the Wolverine sideburns...

michaelgav said...

As thousands of other old gray-haired guys begin to wonder . . .

Dexterity? I didn't have enough to worry about with the charm and charisma?

Kim said...

I have to admit, I don't drool nonstop over George. I do love his voice (it reminds me of real thick, black winter-weight velvet - very sexy...but I digress) and I do think he is every bit as dashing as, say, Cary Grant (And if you don't believe me, get yourself a copy of Arsenic and Old Lace. FAST.) There's something about someone who carries himself off as a gentleman - like he'll definitely hold the door for you and probably fix your coffee JUST the way you like it in the morning ;)

As for Sean Connery - OMG I could just listen to him talk for days! Give me a man with a burr or a brogue and I am one captive audience. I don't give a damn HOW much gray hair he's got. Like Kate said, I'd rather that than some illustrated man with posts sticking out all over his head and peach fuzz on his chin (ick!)

December Quinn said...

GC is very charismatic and charming. It's the devilish smile, I think...but I agree with Elektra, I generally prefer them a little rougher.


I don't really understand the question posted, though. If an agent didn't love the book enough to want to reread it, I don't think s/he would have offered to represent it. Isn't that one of the reasons why they need to really love a project to take it on?

I've read most of my books numerous times. I don't get tired of reading them.

I'm not trying to pick on the questioner, it just seems to me that all people who love books (which should include people who write them and people who sell them) love them just as much on rereading.

Ryan Field said...

Keanu Reeves is the same age as GC and the only difference is a bottle hair dye; yet Keanu is still considered "young". At least I can understand ALL of GC's films, but I'm still trying to figure out the time difference in Keanu's latest, THE LAKE HOUSE.

Anonymous said...

From the 2007 edition, due in stores on November 12th.

Main entry: Miss Snark

Part of Speech: proper noun

Definition: Nom d'ether of a New York-based literary agent who devotes much effort to educating mostly unpublished writers about how the business really works.

Synonyms: Miss ... Nitwit-scaring, gin-pail-wearing, Clooney-stalking, Yapp-walking, slush-diving, preempt-striving, e-query-shunning, Attila-the-Hunning champion of better writing.

Kate Thornton said...

Miss Java,

Yes, I know about Ian McKellan being gay - but he is still quite charming! I'm not a man, but as I don't really have a shot at any of them I like to keep him on the fantasy list.

Ya never know when you might meet someone sorta like the ideal ones.

Yes, it's the charisma. Dexterity is just a plus...

Anonymous said...

He's single.

Craig Steffen said...

GC == George Clooney

My guess (from the point of view of a heterosexual man) is that his face has a lot to do with it: strong jaw, but not chiseled.

And he's funny. Watch Ocean's 11 and don't miss the extra bits. Julia Roberts said that she was constantly having to keep herself from cracking up in scenes with him.

Finally: Miss Snark in 1975? She was undoubtedly a wisp of a lass in grade school at the time.

Anonymous said...

Hey michaelgav, At least she didn't list stamina. -JTC

Mtanz said...

Preach on Elektra! Oh Mr. Darcy. . .Mr. Darcy. Sigh.

Hugh Jackman's one of my faves too. Anyone for Johnny Depp?

And I agree with Kate: there's something to be said for a silver fox. Maturity, wisdom, and breadth of experience, just to name a few attributes.

Anonymous said...

Commenting on this entry (NOT G.C.):

The agent I signed with last spring called with some fairly minor plot changes. I revised my ms accordingly, sent it back, and a few weeks later, she offered me representation.

So, there you go!

S William said...

I agree to the second question. Really good books are fun to read again. As a fantasy guy, I love to re-read the Hobbit and the Magician's Nephew, but many tomes cause me to studder before picking up again. There are good reads, and then there are classics.

Kim said...

Oooo...

Hugh Jackman.

I like. I definitely like.

And, speaking of ER men - what about Goran Visnic? Tell me he isn't absolutely delicious... (sighs while fanning herself)

ophelia gone mad said...

George seems comfortable in his own skin. He may have insecurities or whatever but he seems to accept himself as is and doesn't take himself too seriously. He also seems to be kind. I find stable, kind men who are secure in themselves to be enormously attractive.

Just for the record, there are plenty of rich and famous men that the fairer sex wouldn't have on a bet.

Character trumps all!

B. Dagger Lee said...

What's so great about George Clooney? I can be the most objective here, as I'm a big old dyke.

First, he's hardly an old-gray-haired guy, although he is definately a man and not a boy. Can we agree that he is handsome?

Secondly, he's an active American citizen who has intelligent views on politics and is also a humanitarian (see his appearance before the UN on Darfur), this reveals sensitivity and compassion, a lot of women like that. He doesn't do the macho posturing a lot of guys do, and he seems to have a sense of humor.

Some of his most successful movies have been movies where he's getting the crap beaten out him (O Brother, Out of Sight, Batman) so he has a sense of humor about (his) heroism.

And finally, and this is where being a big old dyke may come in, he's Rosemary Clooney's nephew. Ya gotta love him for that.

yrs, B.Dagger Lee

Michelle said...

Ah . . . but don't forget that other all important "c" word:
confidence.

Hmmm, what's with all the brits? Mine is Clive Owen (not gray-haired by the way, although would add to his charm I'm sure). Then there's Colin Farrell, but I have a thing for nutty Irish lads. Just me.
Now, if GC had an accent, then I might pay more attention.

katiesandwich said...

Miss Snark is going to hate me now, but anon #1, I have no idea why most women are so nuts about George Clooney. I mean, he seems like a really nice guy, but as far as his looks, I'd say he's average. But Miss Snark, even though I'm not head over heels for GC, you might find it interesting to know that the Clooney family is from an area only about forty-five minutes from where I live, a town I have visited numerous times. And my husband remembers when his grandfather Nick Clooney (I'm pretty sure it's Nick) used to be on Cincinnati's evening news.

Anonymous said...

"The hallmark of a really good book (which of course is a given if you're one of my clients) is that I like being in the book, and with the characters so much that even knowing the ending doesn't spoil the experience."

And that, dear friends, is why you never submit your first draft. Always, always, always do at least one complete rewrite.

Chumplet said...

Sorry, Elektra...
Hugh must NOT have those sideburns. Reminds me too much of Trailer Park Boys (who I love, but not in that way).

Gaia Girl said...

Oh, my, yes, Michaelgav, dexterity. GC and dexterity... . Sean Connery and dexterity... . Oh, yes.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Snark is in Roget's New Millennium Thesaurus as a synonym for wheeze or snore.

Snark is also computer jargon and is defined thus:

n. [via the Michigan Terminal System] 1. A system failure. When a user's process bombed, the operator would get the message "Help, Help, Snark in MTS!" 2. More generally, any kind of unexplained or threatening event on a computer (especially if it might be a boojum). Often used to refer to an event or a log file entry that might indicate an attempted security violation. See
snivitz.

Snark is a mysterious beast invented by Lewis Carroll

Snark is an email avoider; a lackadaisical letter writer.

And then there is the ship ... See Jack London, The Cruise of the Snark.

A Snark is an unmanned aerial combat vehicle.

Snark is or was the name of a small press.

Snark is comic book collector slang of most puzzling meaning as in, "Which books from the 7/12 comic book week were you devoid of snark for?" It apparently means distaste, dislike, revulsion, or rejection.
---
Snark, [1] alternately, to chip one's teeth, snarl; insult with high art. Snarking, the ability to insult well. To go for the jugular, show no quarter. Hit and run abuse against which there is no real defense. To insult with pinnace. Snippiness. ( "Nick Nolte -- underplaying with just the right combination of snark and schmatlz")

Snark [2] The sound male goats make when they miss the target. Akin to "snort."

Snark [3] A literary agent who combines in her personality elements of most of the above. (She is not known to be related to any goat.)She gave her name to a little known Russian Vodka. It is said that drinking it is a test of manhood (even for Russian Women) on the Caucasus and that it is fatal to those who don't have "starker Geist; die Geistesstärke von 10 Männern."

McKoala said...

There's gray-haired guys and there's gray haired guys. GC's a gray-haired guy. Clear?

Mostly I think it's in the eyebrows.

Greta LaGarbeaux said...

The eyes, the smile, the dimple, all good. But it's that combination of smart-sensitive and class-clown personality that really nails it.

katiesandwich said...

I'm such a nerd. Somebody said something about GC and dexterity, and I was like, "George Clooney plays D&D?"

(For those of you who aren't nerds, D&D is Dungeons and Dragons.)

whitemouse said...

Sha'el? That was beautiful. :-D

Inez said...

Dear Anonymous:
GC embodies the realm of possibility.
That is all. That is enough.

Greta LaGarbeaux said...

Katiesandwich, re this:

"And my husband remembers when his grandfather Nick Clooney (I'm pretty sure it's Nick) used to be on Cincinnati's evening news."

Nick is George's father, not grandfather. He was indeed a TV anchor for many years; he was the one who inspired GC to make "Good Night and Good Luck" about Edward R. Murrow. Nick still writes a column for the Cincinnati Post.

TJ Bennett said...

Comment to the first poster: George isn't as old as he looks. He's only in his early forties, I believe. Seasoned is a good word for him. I based my hero in my third book on him. It gave me an excuse to spend hours staring at his photo pinned up on the wall above my computer: "Really, honey, it's just research!"

To paraphrase a comedian who was once asked why he had a thing for Dr. Ruth (!):

[He] knows how to do things. Things I want done.

Yummy.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

George isn't as old as he looks. He's only in his early forties, I believe. Seasoned is a good word for him.

When a butcher advertises meat "aged to perfection" he means it's old and he needs to get it out of his shop.

When an antique dealer says a dress is vintage, you better well look for the moth holes.

When you go to a vintage car show, the cars may be all shiny and new looking, but underneath the new paint, they're pretty much old, old, old.

When a real estate agent says a villa in Haute-Vienne is seasoned, she means it's a medieval ruin that bears no resemblance to a standing structure.

In Europe seasoning was originally used to hide the taste of bad food.

Looney Clooney is vintage, aged to perfection, seasoned, a museum piece if I ever saw one.... Say, does he like goats?