Monday, September 22, 2008

Let's Review

Q: I heard about your blog at a writer's conference this weekend. I'd like to send you a query but I absolutely do not want it posted. Can you guarantee that?


A: This blog does not post queries that come to my agency. Ever.

This blog posts queries from writers who address them specifically to Query Shark and are asking for the query letter to be critiqued.

Two entirely separate things. Queries to the agency are not fodder for this blog unless they are resubmitted by the writer and addressed specifically to the Shark.

Any questions?

79 comments:

Kel-Bell said...

Yes, I have a question, several in fact:

What really caused the fall of the Roman empire?

Do you think a book of fashion tips from Boy George would sell well in the midwest?

and what IS the meaning of life?

Ben said...

What really caused the fall of the Roman empire?

Low ratings caused Fox to cancel them.

Do you think a book of fashion tips from Boy George would sell well in the midwest?

Maybe.

and what IS the meaning of life?

The answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42. Unfortunately, since no one knows the question, it's hard to say if this is equivalent to the meaning of life or merely a corollary.

Oh, and bagels.

Bonnie A said...

I thought Frankie mouse and Benjy mouse had ascertained that the correct question is, in fact: "How many roads must a man walk down?"

jnantz said...

I thought that was a secondary question they made up because they knew they'd never get the original, but I could be wrong.

Robin Connelly said...

If you say, something along the lines of "Send a partial" on one of these critiques is that the response you'd give? Or do you really want the author to send that partial in?

talpianna said...

And while we're at it, what's the capital of South Dakota?

"Send a partial"? Sharks have three sets of teeth as it is; what does Janet want with our used dentures?

talpianna said...

Speaking of Douglas Adams, this from today's news:

New "Hitchhiker's" author announced

Children's author Eoin Colfer has been commissioned to write a sixth installment of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series. Mostly Harmless, the last Hitchhiker book, was written by its creator, the late Douglas Adams, 16 years ago. Now the author's widow, Jane Belson, has given her approval to bring back the hapless Arthur Dent in a new book entitled And Another Thing... Eoin Colfer, 43, is best known for the best-selling Artemis Fowl novels.

"My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series," said Colfer. "But on reflection I realized that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams." He added: "I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books."

Bonnie A said...

How depressing. I need a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

datinggod said...

good lord, your blog is awesome, insightful, and dang seriously hilarious. you make me want to be a crime story writer, just so that i could query you, perhaps have a little of that hilariousness flung my way :) but i alas, i am not. and so i shall comfort myself knowing that i can still read your blog posts where you oh my god just tell it like it is. because you do, don't you? and that's just fabulous . . . wow.

The Rejection Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Rejection Queen said...

Man, I am soooo flipping pissed at these literary agents right now!!!

talpianna said...

Bonnie, I'd settle for a really good cup of tea.

Bonnie A said...

Talpianna,

(sigh) I suppose you're right. Having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick only helps temporarily.

But, seriously, only Douglas Adams is (was) Douglas Adams!

talon74 said...

I agree, I don't see how anyone could possibly replace or even come close to capturing Adams' wit.

ChrisEldin said...

*whines at kel-bell* 'But I wanted to be the straight man'
:-)

LOL!

talpianna said...

I agree about Adams, but I'd have picked Terry Pratchett or Tom Holt if someone HAD to give it the old college try.

I haven't read the Artemis Fowl books, as they didn't seem to be the sort of thing I'd like.

JS said...

Colfer is very good, actually.

Terry Pratchett is dealing with finishing his story arc while he's still well enough to work.

Tom Holt's humor is so different from Adams's that I can't imagine how that would have worked. Holt is always a bit wistful, whereas Adams was jolly and cynical.

We shall see what we shall see. I loved the Sebastian Faulks James Bond book, so I am feeling hopeful about series continuations at the moment!

Zoe Winters said...

I think this is a very classy policy.

I think so many people have determined that "being snarky" gives them the right to be an asshole and it has made some writers skittish.

BuffySquirrel said...

Come back sharky!

talpianna said...

Buffy, I think to get her back we'll have to strew someone's entrails in the water.

Shall we take a vote?

Thomma Lyn said...

Come back when you can, Shark! We miss you.

BuffySquirrel said...

Good plan, tal. You start!

talpianna said...

I'm a relative newcomer here; let someone else nominate the entrail-donor. You know whom you won't miss.

Carley said...

Come back Sharky! We miss you!

Sheila said...

Maybe, if we all chipped in together, we could hire that Mariachi band from the Swiffer commercial to sing "Baby Come Back" outside her office.

Or, maybe we can just keep asking nicely. Either one.

talpianna said...

Oh, where, oh, where, has our dearest Shark went?
Oh, where, oh, where can she be?
She's been MIA since two weeks after Lent!
Let's feed her an author or three!


Won't you come home, dear Sharky? Won't you come home?
We've moaned the whole month long.
We know we've failed you, Shark dear, we've let you down,
All that we wrote is all wrong!

Remember the night that you walked out on us,
Taking nothing but your three rows of teeth?
Yes, we know we're to blame; now, ain't it a shame?
Dear Sharky, won't you please come home?


WV: authar--I think it's trying to tell me something...

BuffySquirrel said...

*throws tal in the water*

Sorry, tal, but it's for all our sakes!

(word ver: gonest)

talpianna said...

Interesting question: In a wrestling match between a squirrel and a mole, just who would throw whom in the water?

Tune in tomorrow....

WV: rurno--anti-android protest?

BuffySquirrel said...

Sqrls have certain advantages over moles. They can see. They can move quickly. They can climb the mast! lol

Dig your way out of that one tal ;)!

talpianna said...

O Squirrelly One, have you taken a good look at my talons lately?

http://tinyurl.com/5lfwbn

BuffySquirrel said...

Hmm.

Maybe we could sit down and talk about this?

Belvoir said...

So, this blog is dead, abandoned now, right?

I understand J is very busy, but it's going on 2 months now without a peep about when she might be back. I appreciate her wisdom, critiques and advice. But not even a word to let us know what's up?

"Think.. so little of me.."- Cole Porter
:(

talpianna said...

Buffy, I'm sure that between us we could find someone else to toss in the water--a larger critter with lots more juicy entrails....

WV agrees with me: gasho

BuffySquirrel said...

If we give bonnie a. a pangalactic gargle-blaster, she won't be able to put up any resistance.

Hint hint.

Bonnie A said...

Ha! Good plan--but, alas, no juicy entrails!

talpianna said...

Buffy, better give her two of them--we are very small mammals, after all.

Bonnie--I'll bet we can find some juicy entrails once the subject (you) is opened for dissection--I mean DISCUSSION!

WV: erabill--Since when did WV get all feminist and political?

BuffySquirrel said...

No, no, wait! If we can discover the secret of how bonnie functions without any entrails, we can be rich! And pay someone to write our queries :D.

Marian said...

I miss Query Shark.

:(

talpianna said...

Marian, I think I hear her coming now....

http://tinyurl.com/6yk8gh

BuffySquirrel said...

Come back Sharky!

Larry B said...

Time to de-lurk, please come back, we miss you!

DCS said...

It's been two months. Janet has jumped the Query Shark.

walkie-talkie said...

do you want fries with that

talpianna said...

Perhaps threats would work:

Janet, if you don't get back here and post something, I SHALL SING AGAIN!

Want it in Latin? Cave canem!

BuffySquirrel said...

Cave mole!

talpianna said...

Canem is not only the accusative form of the noun canis, it is also the first person singular subjunctive of the verb meaning "to sing"--so it does mean "I may sing!"

The Latin for your response would be Cave talpam!--or, since it would be addressed to all, the plural form Cavete talpam!

BuffySquirrel said...

Does this mean I have to give my Latin O-level back now?

talpianna said...

Ess-yay.

BuffySquirrel said...

Did someone turn Sharky into SOUP?

talpianna said...

Naw, she's just busy eating Republicans.

jnantz said...

Shane? Come back Shane, come back!!

BuffySquirrel said...

That's SHARK.

talpianna said...

Shane, Shark, Little Sheba, what's the diff? Janet has left the building.

I propose that we describe her adventures away from us, one paragraph at a time--sort of a cross between Moby-Dick and Lassie, Come Home.

BuffySquirrel said...

Sharky clicked the "close" button on Blogger for the last time, her teeth clicking together in exasperation.

Ungrateful small fry. She'd find some minnows out there who would appreciate her genius.

Having closed down the waterproof iBook, she swam...

talpianna said...

...up the Thames and entered the secret underwater entrance that led to MI6 and her other life. She stripped off her wetsuit, shook her long hair free to tumble over her voluptuous shoulders, and headed down the corridor that ended at her lab and office.

"Q!" cried a voice behind her. "Where have you been? M has been looking for you all over the place!"

"Personal business," she replied in an icy tone that did not invite further inquiries. "What is the problem?"

"Ernst Blofeld has invaded the blogosphere! SMERSH is holding Evil Editor hostage and forcing him to critique all the NaNoWriMo entries as soon as they are posted!
007 is missing, and I just fetched T for 002, and he's gone as well, leaving 001 as the loneliest number. 00W has locked himself in the armory, threatening to shoot anyone who comes near him. I locked the more deranged agents in the panic room, but L has broken loose! You have to do something right away!"

"I'll be in the lab," said Q calmly. She was shaken, but not stirred.

talpianna said...

Just a news update: I think Janet has been missing because of family problems:

At the age of 5, my son Jayan had a routine set of dental X-rays that showed a disturbing fact.

The X-rays revealed that he possessed not one, not two, but three sets of front teeth. There were his baby teeth, his permanent teeth and in between, an extra set. A bonus pair, if you will.

I reacted the way any parent would upon discovering their child has an extra body part:
I freaked. “He has what?!” I yelled at my husband, who had taken him to the appointment. (Having a general fear of dentistry, I avoid going whenever possible.)

BuffySquirrel said...

Poor kid. Hope it can be sorted out easily!

talpianna said...

Of course, among sharks it's normal.

How about another paragraph?

Poor Janet! She has failed to learn Crusie's First Law: Never, never, NEVER leave your minions to play unsupervised.

WV: ityro--Actually, I'm fairly experienced...

Janet Reid said...

Unsupervised?
Hardly.
I've got my eye on y'all.

BuffySquirrel said...

Eeeep! Shark eyes!

*faints*

(word ver: dewor -- that's what I'm afraid of! dewor! help!)

talpianna said...

*grasps Sqrl firmly by tail and hauls her back out of Shark's reach*

http://tinyurl.com/6ofqxx

VW:rushin--I guess I'm just a fool for love...

BuffySquirrel said...

Thanks, Tal!

Think I'll stay out of the water in future....

talpianna said...

Hey, Janet! Made you look!

WV: testypet--accurate description of the Mole

Now if it had been the Sqrl, it would have been tastypet!

Avily Jerome said...

This is my first time on this blog- I'm really loving it! Thanks for all your tips, Query Shark!

Some day maybe I'll be brave enough to send you mine...

Thanks!

BuffySquirrel said...

Somehow I don't think you mean tasty quite the way I'd like....

talpianna said...

Buff, I was think of you from Sharky's PoV.

Let's have the next paragraph of Moby-Dick, Come Home.

WV: druce--- Belonging to comedian Carey

BuffySquirrel said...

The lab was knee-deep in sea water. Again. Just her colleagues' idea of a joke. She made a mental note to chum up with them later.

While the pumps whirred, she studied the CCTV feed from the armoury. 00W seemed to be assembling some kind of...she peered closer...robot? It had legs AND wheels. She snorted. No fins! How dangerous could it be?

walkie-talkie said...

i am glad that i am not the only one who has lost their mind.

you ladies are cuckoo.

real nuts.

Maybe she works for Santa. She is a little busy right now...

find a new savior.

maybe one that doesn't drink.

talpianna said...

She whirled as she heard footsteps behind her. L was creeping up, his eyes glaring, a demented grin on his face, and a Biretta, aimed at her heart, clenched in his fist.

Q relaxed. L really was a doofus. How much damage did he think he could do to her with a cardinal's hat?

WV: strogs--now those could really hurt you!

BuffySquirrel said...

Leave us alone! We're creating.

Alexandra said...

I walked in on the wrong conversation.

BuffySquirrel said...

There once was an agent named Shark
Hit queries all outta the park
Was nobody's chum
Left blood where she'd swum
And all her poor minions went 'Fark!'

jeanoram said...

We know you are busy working hard and furious as agent fabulous, but we really do miss you and your chomping on us aspiring folks. It's educational and fun!

Please, could you chomp a query or two over the holidays for us?

Please?

Thank you!

Belvoir said...

Things That Have Happened Since September 22d:

Oh nothing, really.

talpianna said...

Hey! That was Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday, wasn't it?

WV: sulawing--We're going to court to force the Shark to post.

Julie Weathers said...

Excuse me, why didn't anyone invite me?

talpianna said...

Julie, it was an open invitation! If you're not too delicate to participate...

BuffySquirrel said...

Ah, so that's the secret. Crappy limericks!

SAVanVleck said...

Ben, even though I am 70 plus comments past you, I just have to say: "You obviously do not live in the Midwest."

Where I live, the first response would be, "Boy George WHO?"

The second would be, "Yeah, Right!"

While, and I speak only of where I live, Boy George's fashion may be an improvement over sleeves ripped off and straw cowboy hats, I doubt they would accept his fashion tips.