Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've never claimed to be the sharpest sword in the stone tech-wise. I have not yet figured out how to tweak this blog so that comments can be seen without going to another page. So, for you guys who don't like to jump pages, I'm going to post one here today and will continue to do so until I figure out a more streamlined way to bring these good comments to your attention. The following is from a reader in response to the post about an author I now call "Abused Guy," the writer who queries me and lots of other agents EVERY DAY with the same query:

What is UP with the abused woman composer guy? I just today saw some slightly older posts from J. Lyons and J. Faust about this exact same query. And there are at least two more reputable agents who posted in the comments that they're getting the same thing.Where did he get the idea that constant badgering was going to work? I'm fascinated, yet repulsed.

I'm fascinated too, and often, p---ed off! I've deleted Lee W's query over 20 times this month. Someday, maybe we'll know the whole story. Until then, I keep my delete button polished and at the ready.

It's been a chaotic time here on Cricklewood Cove. Jon's dad is now under hospice care in Chicago and Jon returned yesterday, sadder but wiser about hospitals, docs, and the mishmash we call our health system.

I've been less than efficient in running our businesses in his absence and I apologize to all of you whose partials or manuscripts are in our possession. Next week we'll be better, I assure you.

Jon came back with several "airport books," those titles that you wouldn't buy ordinarily, but now that you're in an airport, well.....

I asked him about one by Lee Child that was tossed out of his briefcase. "It's not nearly as good as several of the partials we're considering," he said.

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? We are becoming extremely picky about what we take into our agency because the editors we pitch are so picky. Yet Jon said the protagonist in the Child book was like a bad, featureless paper doll. "There was nothing there that made me want to read on," he said.

I shouldn't be too hard on Child. (I've never read his books.) Jon had just finished the newest James Lee Burke novel and who can come up to that? But I guess the message here is to craft your characters well. Lee Child writes to a formula, but it's not a formula that resonates with Jon or me. Do you have a formula?


DebraLSchubert said...

Wow. I met Lee Child recently at the Backspace Conference. He is definitely a rock star in his genre, though I've never read any of his books. I don't think I have a formula exactly, but I do like incorporating humor when I write. I suppose that might be considered a formula. I look forward to hearing what your other readers say.

And, please know my sincerest wishes for peace, comfort, and healing are with you, Jon, and his dad.

Patrice Sarath said...

You can set your email to automatically delete "abused guy" using keywords, I think. You might be able to make his online queries go straight to your delete file.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Nope, no formulas! My stuff's always character-driven!

There is a place in the "settings" part of your blog - it's in the "comments" portion and you can click on how you want the comments to appear...I just went in and clicked things hoping for the best *laugh*

Carrie said...

Yay, that was me you quoted! Is it sad that I now really want to read the first chapter of the guy's novel, to see if the writing is as bad as I suspect it is? I mean, if the man had the talent and persistence necessary to improve his craft, he'd also have the ability to do a little basic industry research and discover what a stupid thing it is that he's doing, right?

No formula for me, either, I'm all about the characters... which does make it harder to say what the book is about! When people ask me that question, I want to describe the protagonist's emotional growth to them, when I'm sure they expect a short blurb of action.