"A Primer of the Daily Round"
by Howard Nemerov

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

from New and Selected Poems © University of Chicago Press
"Black Umbrellas,"
by Rick Agran

Black Umbrellas
On a rainy day in Seattle stumble into any coffee shop
and look wounded by the rain.
Say Last time I was in I left my black umbrella here.
A waitress in a blue beret will pull a black umbrella
from behind the counter and surrender it to you
like a sword at your knighting.
Unlike New Englanders, she'll never ask you
to describe it, never ask what day you came in,
she's intimate with rain and its appointments.
Look positively reunited with this black umbrella
and proceed to Belltown and Pike Place.
Sip cappuccino at the Cowgirl Luncheonette on First Ave.
Visit Buster selling tin salmon silhouettes
undulant in the wind, nosing ever into the oncoming,
meandering watery worlds, like you and the black umbrella,
the one you will lose on purpose at the day's end
so you can go the way you came
into the world, wet looking.

from Crow Milk © Oyster River Press.


Hello, our revered adviser Miss Snark:

What would you recommend to a writer in need of a good solid poetry fix?

I am totally digging your recent choices of poetry for the blog, and it strikes me that verse may be the perfect reading matter for an upcoming period of intense novel

Like a lot of writers, I avoid reading fiction when I'm writing, and usually end up using fluffy nonfiction for relax-o-reads. But now, inspired by your choices, I'm thinking some excellent poetry sounds much more inviting.

Problem being: I haven't read much poetry for years, so I'm clueless about what to choose, aside from Shakespeare's sonnets (my eternal favorites). Given the world-renowned
excellence of your taste, a recommendation or two from you would be worth gold and silver, and many buckets of the globe's finest gin.

Please accept my humble thanks in advance (and how about a virtual skritch behind the ear for KY?)

Don Juan by Lord Byron

Emily Dickinson-everything she ever wrote.

Parting company with an agent

O, most munificent, o heaven's gleaming ray, Miss Snark,

Agent X and I had a fantastic first six months together editing and re-editing and polishing my novel. We wrote or talked almost every single day. X was excited, I was excited, and then the manuscript went out. We went from muy caliente to meh after I refused to do a third uncontracted rewrite for a specific editor. I did the first cheerfully, the second grudgingly, and refused the third because no offer had materialized and I was fairly certain one wouldn't.

After that, X shopped the novel to a few other editors, and the first editor rejected it, but said she'd be willing to read it again if I went another direction. She didn't ask for a minor tweak- think "I like the characters, but could they be hired assasins on a secret mission instead of kindergarten teachers trying to start a union?"- but Agent X was hot for me to rewrite again. I refused.

And now, I think I'm getting dumped by the Silent Withdrawal method mentioned in your blog a few days ago- long silences (almost two months, now, more than a month last time) from X's side, and no reply to a single status query e-mail in over a week. Rather than sit and cry about it, I feel like I should make the break official by writing the termination letter specified in our contract, but I don't know what to say. I really value all the hard work X put into the pre-submission editing of the novel. It was a lot of thought and consideration for no compensation, and it made my novel so much better. Besides that, I'm uncertain about everything- maybe this is standard operating procedure? Maybe my expectations are too high? Maybe I should have done more rewrites?

So I guess I'm asking two questions: it's the right time to break up, right? And since I suspect it is, what do I say? What would you expect to see from one of your clients, if one of them were foolheaded enough to abandon you just prior to drowning herself in the Hudson River? (Where else could one go after Miss Snark, after all?)

Many thanks and sirloin niblets for KY

I find this fascinating. Your agent is all hot and excited during editing but when it comes time to actually buckle down and sell this puppy, after six attempts, s/he loses interest? How does this agent earn a living?

I like sitting around talking about plot points as much as the next person but it doesn't put sirloin on the poodle snout.

My colleagues and I talk about this syndrome a lot and a very smart friend of mine said "editing isn't agenting". I have to remind myself of this almost every day cause the lure of editing is it feels like work, and it feels like getting things done and it is those things for you but it's not for me.

It sounds like your agent loves editing and doesn't much like the suck it up and sell it part. Dog knows there are decades I feel the same way.

First thing is, you must call her up and say "hey, what's the 411 on this". Don't ask if she's lost enthusiasm. Ask specifically what her plan is. If she doesn't have one, that's a major clue that she's not going to be shopping this around much.

If you do send a termination notice, don't try to soften the blow. She's going to be unhappy cause she put in a lot of time. That's not your responsibility. You simply say that you've come to a parting of ways, her work is appreciated, and thank you very much for her effort.

Aren't you whatshisname??...pen names

Dear Miss Snark,

What is the protocal for submitting to agents if you're writing under a pseudonym? You have to have your own name on your mailing address for the SASE and so forth to get back to you, but the manuscript should have the pseudonym on it, because that's how it should be published, right? Or do you submit everything using your real name and then explain about the pseudonym after you've secured representation?

If you're JT Leroy, you just never tell anyone that you're really someone else.

On the other hand if you're Nora Roberts, you just put the new name in bigger letters on the cover of the book.

If you're using a pseudonym for non-elusive reasons, you just put Yours Truly, Brad Pitt (writing as Angelina Jolie) on your cover letter. You put Jolie/Sha Na Na Namibia as the header on your manuscript pages.

You will also need a one or two line explanation for why you are doing this. It can be as simple as "Google associates me with a bad crowd under my real name: Nicole Ritchie" of "I don't want my ex-spouse to know I didn't die in that yachting accident" or "no particular reason, I just like this name better than Sixxiou Queue". Pseudonyms are not a deal breaker but I will want to know your real name and why we're doing this in case you think you are Angelina Jolie or you are JT Leroy.


More on rejections cause it's Friday night

Dear Miss Snark,

(I was tempted to say, She who can't be surprised while touching her toes--after all you got me started on Jonathan Stroud.) (I'm not sure what that means but it sounds quite filthy ...is it?)

Anyway, on the day {No thanks means....?} and your comment area overflowed with the grief that rejection letters bring, I received my first full MS rejection.

My question is how much comment {if any} do you consider giving when turning down a full MS after requesting it--let's say it turned out to be one that after a couple of pages made you wonder how many gin-pails you‚d killed before you requested it. Do you have a stock letter with a one-line, slightly upscale version of "not right for me?" I'm thinking--hoping--that's what I got because my one line reason for finding my writing weak was the EXACT opposite of the advice and comments I've received about my story from readers and critique groups. Now I'm so confused I'm thinking about adding unfunny footnotes and increasing the word count to 357,982.03--maybe my hero could spend more time looking in a mirror too.

Warn killer Yapp that here in Florida we have a new invasive species taking over--a squirrel that's 3-4 times larger than normal and has really a nasty attitude. My dogs have started packing heat.

We're ok on the Florida thing...the idea that we'd leave the 212 leaves us both guffawing. Of course, I'm not exactly in the 212 when I write this, but yanno (tm/pp) we haven't left it psychologically. And we always pack heat....hatpins.

Now, to your question about rejections.

I go through cycles on rejections. For a while I'll write more than "you don't suck but this doesn't float my moat boat" and then some doofus will write back and tell me I'm a swill sucking swine kisser, and I'll go back to "thanks, but not right for me".

I do have standard language that I use for things that I thought I might like but didn't. When you get one of those, don't pay much attention to it. If I could get away with "no thanks" I'd do it, but even cold hearted reptilian Miss Snark can't do that after a partial. For any kind of accuracy from a statistical perspective, you'd need several rejections before you'd want to pay attention to anything. And you'd pay attention not to what is said but what isn't. If you aren't getting anything except our versions of "you don't suck" then you aren't coming close. If you're getting detailed comments, and an invite to revamp and resubmit, or just encouragement, then you're getting closer.

I've decided after the long run of comments on the rejection posts that there is no way to win, and lots of ways to alienate the snot out of people, so I'm sticking to "thanks for sending me your work and I'm just dang sorry I'm such a fool as not to like it, love KY". Printed on pink unicorn stationery of course, off center, and with a gin pail water ring stain. Just so you know you "might have been one that we liked alot but not enough".

You know, Whatsisname

Hi, Miss Snark,

I was wondering if you would be turned off by main characters with peculiar names that are easy to pronounce.


Elvis Cole
Jack Reacher
Jane Doe

I've give my left ..um...stiletto to have found THOSE character's creators.

Son of "just say no"

Sucked up from the comments column is this gem: Cancel My Account

It's an audio download file.
It's hilarious.
It meshs EXACTLY with what I know of AOL.

New Yorkers are Polite...hey, I read it in a magazine, it must be true

So, New Yorkers AREN'T hostile beasts?
Say it ain't so.

The Readers Digest did a secret shopper test for politeness.
A couple of facts they seem to have missed:

1. People are paid to hold the door open for you in this city. They are called "doormen" and in fact they are unionized.

2. "Thank you" is New York dialect for "hurry up".

3. When we help you pick up papers on the street we're picking your pocket.

and you'll notice, they didn't test the subway!

(Thanks to the "other MS" for the link)

Help me...I'm a pathetic loser

Most Snarksome One (and your Yapsome Dog, too),

I have much sympathy for the poor gentleman trying to avoid reading his uncle's novel. My question is, how do you deal with complete strangers who--even without the bonds of blood or friendship as an excuse--also try to get you to read their work. Or, worse, try to get you to help them make professional contacts even though you haven't read their work.

At a recent professional gathering, while the rest of us were content to sip our wine and pretend to talk about the craft of writing while actually whining about the business of writing, one gentleman showed up with his manuscript in hand, and tried to talk several of us into introducing him to our agents or editors. Protests that we hadn't even read his work fell on deaf ears; he was clearly prepared to whip the manuscript out at the slightest provocation so we could read it on the spot; and equally content to have us offer referrals without first reading his work.

Not only were the one-on-one conversations with this gentleman awkward; but the larger conversations, which he kept trying to turn from more interesting topics to the marketing of his particular story, were unpleasant as well.

Alas, claiming an alternate vocation wasn't an option at a function attended entirely by writers and would-be writers. Short of abandoning the gathering to seek out stronger drink, how can one deal with such individuals in a professional--or failing that, at least effective--manner.

And if there is no way to deal with such individuals, where does Miss Snark recommend we hide the body?

This reminds me of the heartstopping moment during the Q&A part of a presentation at the Small Press Center. A questioner asked E. L. Doctorow to read his manuscript (which of course he just happened to have brought with him). To Mr. Doctorow's credit he did not preface his response with "you nitwit" but implication is all. He simply said "no".

And no, sans reason, is ok. You are not obliged by mammon, god or poodle to read anyone's work. A person who breaches the decorum by asking for this, particularly if they are not picking up the "you nitwit" signals, can be given the cold shoulder. "No" is a perfectly valid response, and you do not need to explain yourself.

One on one conversations are concluded briskly with "please excuse me" and leaving him. Group conversations are more difficult but a complete change of subject "how about them Yankees" is entirely suitable. Failing that, of course, "excuse me" and leaving the group is ok too.

It's hard to do this cause we've all been brought up to be nice and helpful. It's actually very liberating to just say "no" and once you discover how fun it is, you'll find yourself saying no to all sorts of things. Drugs, sex, rock n roll...well..ok, yes is still my first choice on those.

PS You put the body on the Cook County voting rolls of course.

Listen to your ma, pleeease

Your Royal Snarkiness,
I want to put up a mini-site for my unpublished novel, The Book: A Novel with the basic query letter, an excerpt and some other stuff. I'm also considering putting up a bunch of the rejections and requests for menuscript pages et al, with the agents names taken off, since I think it might be interesting to visitors of my site. However, I'm worried that any agents who do stumble on the mini-site will see a bunch of rejections and that will be an immediate turn off. Is this worry justified?

What do you want to accomplish doing this?
I think you'd be insane to post rejection letters for a novel you're shopping.
It's one thing to do it after you sell it, but NOW?

Didn't your mother tell you to wear clean underwear everyday in case you were hit by a bus? Rejection letters are dirty drawers, I don't want to see them, I don't want to hear about them and I really don't want to know you've got them on.


Be Cool

Dear Miss Snark,

The Snarkives (hat tip to Miss Adventure!) reveal a three-month timeline for full ms submissions with a follow-up email. I sent a snail (with SASE) status query ten days ago on such a ms and as the silence stretches one day into another, am beginning to wonder if I should even want this agent to offer representation.

Can agents be enthusiastic about projects they left sitting for months? Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever offered representation on a project that required a status query before you read it? And if so, did you act quickly or stop to swill gin and ruminate a good long time beforehand?

I can't help thinking if the agent cared, I'd get at least an email letting me know the agent was still alive and taking nourishment.

Thanks much for all you do.

When you send me a project it's like when you look through a telescope, then turn it around and look through lenses from the other side.
From your side, it focuses on the ONE thing you're looking at, your manuscript, and it fills up the screen so it's all you see.

My side of the telescope is the reverse view: there are lots of manuscripts to be seen, and they are small specks, and all of them are on my desk and I think they reproduce at night.

Your query is your only baby. When it sits on my desk it's one of many. I've said before, and I'll say again, that responding to status queries is part of our job and it's a complete breach of etiquette to intentionally not do so.

However, as they say, fecal matter falls from the firmament, and some days it's a damn deluge.

I have indeed had projects that I'm enthusiastic about that I've let sit. This happens when my day to day stuff is overwhelming. Sometimes that day to day stuff goes on for a while and when that happens the LAST thing I want to do is try to read your manuscript.

I don't know if I've offered representation to people who've had to nudge me cause I don't keep track of that.

Whatever you do, hold on to your cool, don't assume the agent is an idiot, doesn't care, or is saying no via silence. You don't know what's going on with an agent and like you, we have lives, and sometimes they fall apart.

A is for Amanuensis

Dear Miss Snark,

Some may call me crazy, but I have offered to help my father find an agent. His day job as a lawyer keeps him pretty busy and although I am busy with my four very young children, I neeeeed to have a project that challenges my brain. Coming up with a diferent animal for each letter of the alphabet is not enough.

That being said, I would like to know if I should explain that I am sending query letters on my father's behalf, or if I should just write them and sign his name to them. Would an agent think a manuscript is not worth reading if the author is not willing to write the query letter? Or would an agent be interested in reading something that is good enough to make a third party willing to do the leg work?

Thank you for your opinion.

Both options ignore the correct course which is to write the letters, have him read and sign them. This is no different than what many admin assistants do each and every day. Killer Yapp in fact has an ongoing correspondence with the poet laureate about the place of doggerel in the literary canon; all letters signed by KY but composed by MS.

An agent doesn't give two shakes of an L is for lamb's tail who writes the letter. Content matters.


Cry Uncle..and let slip the poodles of Flatbush

Dear Miss Snark,

I would greatly appreciate any advice of words of wisdom you may have to offer regarding my current dilemma. My Great Uncle Glen, who hails from across the pond, sent me a bound copy of his manuscript months ago. It seems that in jolly old England the Daily Mail will print and bind your MS for about 20 quid a copy, my great uncle, who's pushing seventy-five, sent
them his 185,000 word MS and has now distributed six copies of the most God awful, mind numbing, stab yourself in the frontal lobe, hopeless drivel, around the world to torture various and assorted family members.

I, as you may have guessed, am the unfortunate recipient of one such copy.
Because of my recent attendance at a writer conference and a single agent's request to read a partial of my MS, my great uncle has somehow gotten it into his head that I have publishing connections. (Please pick yourself up off the floor, really, such unbridled hysterics are so unbecoming.)

I am currently trying to convince him otherwise by sending him pictures of my
hovel house, threadbare wardrobe, empty fridge, and overstocked liquor cabinet, I think he's beginning to get the idea and has consigned himself to receiving nothing other than a critique from me.

My problem is, I can not read the damn thing. It's awful, dreadful, the protagonist slaps his hysterical wife while she is holding their newborn in the second paragraph,
there are more typos than I care to record and to top it off, the Daily Mail has printed this TPO with eighteen words per line and forty-five lines per page managing to contain 185,000 words in 230 pages! I'll be blind by the time I finish.

Surely Miss Snark has had to deal with one or two of Grandmother Snark's MS's, what do you do when your family and friends expect
you to weigh in on their crap?

Welcome to my world!

"oh, you're in publishing? here read my manuscript" is the opening salvo in many a curbside skirmish that devolves into fisticuffs, emptied gin pails, and Killer Yapp requiring the services of a bail bondsman.

One does not ever EVER critique the work of a friend or relative in this instance. One smiles sagely and says "I would dearly love to read your work, and I'm so sorry I can't". Then you stop talking. Only the truly foolhardy will press you with "why" and then you say "my agent requires exclusives". Anyone witless enough to press further is met with "I'm sorry, I"m not able to explain further."

Under no circumstances do you deviate from this or you can expect to be 1. cut out of the will 2. cut out of the family hols 3. cut out of the family tree or worst of all 4. declared Uncle's literary executor.

Miss Snark does not announce her chosen profession at social gatherings for just this reason. There are several hostesses in New York in fact who believe Miss Snark is an ent-omologist based in Central Park. (double points to the first person explaining the joke)

Querying with revised letters from Mr. Evil

Dear Miss Snark,
I was just wondering how agents would feel receiving a query letter that they recognize as having been critiqued on a site such as Evil Editor. Assuming that you’d remember reading the original (maybe very crappy) query, would this put you off? Would you be curious enough to go read the original from the archives?

well, no, I wouldn't go prowling around to see old versions, I'd just look at what you sent. And I do get query letterss I recognize from the Crapometer. And from people who read this blog. I think it's a total hoot. I always feel REALLY bad when I have to say no to someone I know is regular reader here.

Bottom line: don't worry your evil past will haunt you.

Be An Agent!

Imagine you received a query letter from this guy.

His "sample pages" are at the top of the screen "click here to see an exerpt".

What would you say to him?
No bashing please, just put yourself in Miss Snark's stilettos and have at it.

(Thanks to Miss Hilarious for the email)

Rejection Central

Pulled from the comments column is this amazing site about all the rejection letters a short story writer received.

I'd be VERY interested to see which letter is best, or 'least bad' given no one wants a rejection letter in the first place.


No thanks means....?

Dear Miss Snark:

How much weight should authors put into the content in form rejections? Any
other information buried in there other than "no, thanks"?

You mean other than the NORAD defcon codes and tomorrow's lotto winners?


You'll go nuts trying to figure out if "not quite right for me" means "I left my heart in San Francisico so now I'm not taking anything west of the Pecos".

Tiptoe through the Snarkives

Miss Adventure reports from her cave that she is nearly finished with the indexing.
Canonization to follow.

This is your chance to take a look and see if we've missed anything that would be helpful.

The snarkives are here.

Miss Adventure's email is on the blog.
Or you may email Miss Snark if you care to write such effusive compliments about Miss Adventure that you need them relayed.

Fawningly yours...sorta

O Ace One,

During the past year, I've spent some time working in an Australian publishing house, and although query letters aren't really the norm in Oz (a very brief cover letter, a synopsis and sample chapters are more common) we're receiving more and more "true queries"

Since the number of query styled letters (some diligently including at least five sample pages, but others accompanied by nothing -- which is a little irritating, as our website invites the full manuscript) has risen, so too have the lengthy pitches, the random credentials and oh, dear Dog, the grovelling. I just can't get past the awful servile attitude that seems to be popular in these queries. I can understand writers being overjoyed that someone is going to read their MS but the sickly sweet praise and thanks just about turn me off the whole package.

Here is a choice (and sadly verbatim) extract:

"Thank you so very much for your time and consideration in taking the time to read my novel. I can be contacted at any time that is convenient for you on".. or "Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any further questions. Thank you very much again. "

I particularly dislike the ones that apologise for their manuscript, or for taking up said time.

Miss Snark, I imagine you'e used to sitting down at Snark Central, surrounded fawning toy-boys bearing palm fronds, gin pails and general worshipping. So, as someone who is surely used to lavish praise and grovelling, do you find it (insurmountably) annoying? Could you work with a writer so insecure that they feel the need to thank you ad nauseam for taking the time to look over their damn letter?

Thank you for listening O Most Glorious Person of High Repute, and thank you Magnificent One for affording me precious moments of your most valuable time,

Yours Undeservingly,

A Humble Snarkling.

PS. Thank you so much for your time.

Palm fronds and cabana boys? Geeze, I may have to move to Oz if that's what you've got down there (raucous howls of mirth at the idea of leaving the 212...but well...)

Anyway. Frankly, (and try not to scream dear writers) I don't pay much attention to that stuff.
I figure you probably got the wording out of some book and probably if you met me, you'd rip your ms from my carefully manicured claws anyway, so I just read your writing and ignore the fawning. It's not genuine, it's like courtly behaviour from the Court of St. Parsnip the Green.

Writers real sentiments are carefully concealed until the follow up email that starts "you muddle headed, addlepated twit, you call yourself an agent, all your taste is in your mouth"..and gets worse from there.


Miss Snark does Xena-phobic-Warrior Princess

Oh, Miss Snark,

I recently finished my YA novel and was all ready to start querying agents. Then I got a job in Ghana for the next two years (no kidding...I'm a teacher). How in the world can I try to get my book published from GHANA??? Should I just give up, or would a query letter from the wilds of Africa be an asset?

Dear Miss Snark,

Evil Editor made a comment the other day that made one of those question marks pop up over my head. I managed to get rid of it, but they keep coming back (usually late at night, keeping me awake with their eery luminescence and faint wood-burning smell).

Currently I am living outside the United States. Evil Editor mentioned in passing that he would consider that a strike against an author because the author would not be available to participate in book promotion. I believe you have also mentioned payment headaches
when dealing with authors not in the US.

However, I am not only willing to spend time knocking about the US flogging my work, I'm looking forward to it. Also there would be no problem paying me in dollars and I would pay my taxes in the US.

I assume these things aren't deal killers, but are they worth mentioning in a query letter to an agent?

Miss Snark gets out her atlas.
Miss Snark adds two clock widgets to her dock and adjusts them to Ghanian and Kiwi time.
Ah, the wonders of modern electrons.

I'm going to tell you the honest to dog truth.
I hardly read the stuff that comes in from overseas cause I'm just so unenthusiastic about the headaches associated with a client that far away. You'd have to write something REALLY great to get over that hurdle.

I do have clients in furrin lands, but they snuck off from here when I wasn't looking (in other words I signed them when they were in the contiguous US).

Some agents probably feel different. I KNOW I'm missing a bet so please don't write and tell me I'm an idiot for doing this, I already know that. But, it's the truth, sorry though it may be.

However, if you wish to persuade someone of your wonderfullness and you don't want to let the cat out of the baggage, get a gmail address and query with that. No give away .ca .nz .ghana suffixes to betray you. (or mac.com as one of you already has, smart lad).

If I loved the work I'd probably suck it up and sign you but it's high on my list of things I'm not eager to embrace.


O, Devious & Wonderful Miss Snark, (and his Royal Highness, Killer Yapp),

An agent asks for a first chapter to be included with a query. I just happen to have both the query and the first chapter. The one problem is that my first chapter is barely four pages long, and doesn't give a good feel for the story of the characters. I just put it first so I can start off with action.

Do I send these four pages alone, put it at the end of chapter two (where it chronologically belongs) and make chapter two chapter one, or just decide not to send to this agent?

I've searched the Snarkives, but didn't find a proper answer to this question (though, it may be there).

Please help me! (I tried sending Killer a tin of chocolate-flavored bones, but for some reason they won't go through with an e-mail.)

KY has his own email address. It is tuffmofo@misssnark.comma

Let's pause for a moment and consider the purpose of the writing sample you are sending. It is to put your best foot forward and snag the interest of an agent. Therefore, disregard page and chapter numbers and assemble your sample in the way that will best accomplish that.

I'm a devotee of early action. If you have my interest, if I want to find out "what happens next", I'll hang in there for character development and story. And if you're asked to send only one chapter a very savvy writer would make sure that chapter had about ten pages.

Remember, what you send the agent is not necessarily what will be the final draft. First things first: get my attention, then show me you can surf the word ocean successfully. After that we'll see what washes up on shore and drink mai tais with Annette and Frankie down at the Sugar Shack.
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too
my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the
cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently
to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?



Instead of an SASE (i.e., an envelop), is it acceptable to send an SAS-POSTCARD?

Sure. Just don't put "check this box" and offer four stupid responses like:

1. Not right for me
2. Really not right for me
3. Left me cold
4. Left me calling on Dog for an end to my suffering

I'm not a fan of the postcard cause I think they get lost more easily than letters, and there's less space to write anything if I'm so inclined (see 1-4 above).

The cost difference is fifteen cents per unit, so I'm not sure what the benefit is but I'm not going to sneer sardonically at a postcard. I save all that for "Miss Snark the Video Game".

Where Art Thou, Oh Crapometer?

Dear Miss Snark,

I am a newish snarkling and have never had the pleasure (breakdown of all that is sane and sensible) of submitting to the crap-o-meter. I hear it is on a summer/winter schedule and since summer is quickly approaching I wanted to make a request.

From all your amassed wisdom it
seems that the first page is an author's most important tool for snagging an agent. I like my query letter and have no idea about my synopsis, but it is my first page that I lay awake at night fretting over. I would love to see my ambiguous fears spelled out into something more helpful (Crap Crap Crap(or maybe not)). Would you consider convincing the crap-o-meter to eat first pages this summer?

Crap or Not Crap that is the question.

Lord(andTaylor) love a duck, y'all are just in a frenzy for Miss Snark to eviscerate the sweat of your brow. This is the fifth email in as many days pining for C'ometer. Are you guys all nuts or what??

Yes, it's summer. Miss Snark has her summerweight suit and Killer Yapp his straw boater. Of course, we both have sun specs; KY's are festooned with red hearts, Miss Snark's are red cat's eyes.

The crapometer left town as soon as the clocks sprang forward, but the NYC Film Bureau reports the crapometer is currently filming a documentary in a maximum security facility in an undisclosed location. Wrap up or jail break, which ever comes first, will be announced here as it happens.

Meanwhile, Elektra's crapometer picks up the slacker's slack, and I believe there are some other places that do this too. Throw yourself at Elektra and offer bribes.