Notes from 9/24/09 Writer’s Group

There is a great deal of advice out there on how to write a query letter for a novel, and precious little in useful facts. It is, after all, a completely subjective exercise. I’ve done a fair bit of research myself, and here’s the two sites I found most helpful:

Do’s: Nathan Bransford – literary agent – on how to get an agent. To save you a click – his “mad-lib” query template.

First I’m going to need these things:

[Agent name], [genre], [personalized tidbit about agent], [title], [word count], [protagonist name], [description of protagonist], [setting], [complicating incident], [verb], [villain], [protagonist’s quest], [protagonist’s goal], [author’s credits (optional)], [your name]

Don’t’s: For those who like their truth a little brutal, you can follow agent Janet Reid’s Query Shark (where you might eventually see my query letter). Reid critiques “sample” query letters sent specifically for that purpose (as oppossed to real query letters sent to her real agency).

I’ve stopped reading right here. […]

Answer three simple questions: who’s the protagonist; what choice does she face; what are the consequences of the choice. That’s ALL you need.

Not for those with squeamish egos.

Personally, I value the advice of agents and editors far more than the advice of teachers and authors. If your goal is to get through the slush pile – heed those who read that slush pile.

ASCII Codes for special characters

Alt+160 = á

Alt +130 = é

Alt +161= í

Alt + 162 = ó

Alt + 0252= ü

Alt + 163 = ú

Alt + 164 = ñ

Alt + 167 = º

Alt + 168 = ¿

Alt + 0193 = Á

Alt + 0201 = É

Alt + 0205 = Í

Alt + 0211 = Ó

Alt + 0218 = Ú

Alt + 0220 = Ü

Alt + 0209 = Ñ

Alt + 173 = ¡

§ couln’t find an ASCII number for this.

I inserted it from the dialogue box.

[Word to WordPress = weird typeset anomolies]

Not directly relevant – but too cool not to share: A pictorial tour of Odessa

The Encyclopedia of Ukraine on Nationalism. (And some “don’ts” of HTML typesetting).

Just who is Scott Turow anyways?

Three viewpoints on ghosts:

1- Van Alst “Spirit Investigators” answer prospective client’s FAQ’s.

2- Canadian kooks researchers who believe ghosts are misunderstood and that exorcisms are worse than useless.

3 – Mystical Blaze ( a New Age reference site) with a relatively coherent run-down on theories behind ghosts.

And a sidebar – a review of a role-playing game rules about ghosts. (This is a PDF, and may take a bit to load.)

And if you absolutely cannot eat another can of beans in this old trailer, here’s the Kingman Chamber of Commerce list of Restaurants.

Now You know