Friday, May 05, 2006


When I first determined to do something with my writing rather than make up stories in my head and keep them there, I devoured any bit of info/advice/anecdotes about the craft of writing like a man starving in the desert. I checked out every possible writing book my library carried, ordered some keepers from Amazon, cruised the writing section of Barnes & Noble every chance I got, and generally read everything from Stephen King's On Writing to Julie Beard's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Your Romance Published. Not to mention all the time I spent cruising the internet for anything I felt could help me become a better writer.

And I discovered the blogosphere. I bookmarked a dozen or a hundred writers' sites that I found most useful and visited them religiously, hoping to suck these people for any microscopic morsel of wisdom I could get.

I've culled my list of regulars down to less than twenty, simply because bloghopping had become my newest, biggest time suck and I couldn't afford such a luxury if I actually wanted to do any real writing.

But I've discovered the next level. I've graduated, so to speak, on to the next step in the writing/publishing process. I've discovered editors' and agents' blogs.

(Well, maybe not graduated, as I still find the advice of published writers invaluable. Would this be more along the lines of co-majoring?)

Specifically, I've been hanging around Miss Snark's place, and through her Evil Editor, who has become one of my first stops of the day. Too, I've found Pub Rants which is both entertaining and educational. I know there are others out there, but I'm trying to start slow and build up. I don't want to end up like I did before, spending 6 hours a day trying to visit all of my favorites.

I've already learned so much just reading the advice of these people in the know. Mostly, I've learned that there are a lot of people out there who really don't have a clue. This never seeks to shock me.

I mean, I know that editors and agents reject pretty much 99.9% of the stuff they get. I've always found that so discouraging because I imagine that out of the 99.9% that they reject, at least 90% of it is actually pretty good stuff. If those people couldn't make it past the threshold, how in the world do I think I have a chance?

But when you read some of the examples that these folks post to make their points, you see that they do receive a lot of junk. People who have no idea how to write a query or who have horrendous spelling and/or grammatical errors in what they send. I always felt curious in a "duh" sort of way when experienced writers would remind wannabes of the importance of spell check. Did people really send in badly spelled queries such that it warranted addressing? Apparently so.

Anyway, I'm having a blast lurking around these editors and agents. Kind of like hanging with the cool crowd, if I were invisible so they couldn't give me a look like I was a nasty blob of gum on the bottom of their expensive, hand-made Italian shoes. I keep quiet, I read everything, and I learn. As a bonus, I also laugh. A lot.

Perhaps this is because I'm not one of those on the hot seat, having my own query ripped to shreds. I do offer thanks to all those brave enough to let Miss Snark and Evil Editor take a stab at what they've done because I'm learning a lot via their mistakes.

And you can better believe I'll never take for granted the spell check advice.

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