Sunday, April 19, 2009

#110-Revised twice

SECOND REVISION

Dear Query Shark,



The first time Megan tried to kill herself, she was in elementary school. By the time she was in middle school, she began to slip razorblades through her skin. Before she graduated high school, she manically shaved off her eyebrows. She refused to leave her bed for days at a time. She clung to friendships with people who did not exist. She had multiple suicide attempts. She developed a reliance on prescription drugs and an addiction to recreational drugs…



Yet, to her best friend, Angela, nothing ever seemed out of the norm.

ellipses continue a sentence, they don't break a paragraph. You're clearly going for dramatic effect here (which is fine) so I suggest you try it this way:


The first time Megan tried to kill herself, she was in elementary school.the reason I suggest breaking here is that the idea of a child suicide is pretty shocking

By the time she was in middle school, she began to slip
was slipping razorblades through her skin. Before she graduated high school, she manically shaved was shaving off her eyebrows.
The break here is to ease the transition from was -ing verbs to past tense -ed verbs.

She refused to leave her bed for days at a time. She clung to friendships with people who did not exist. She had multiple suicide attempts. She developed a reliance on prescription drugs and an addiction to recreational drugs…
yet, to her Megan's best friend, Angela, nothing ever seemed out of the norm.


Put Megan's name in again so we recall it easily when you move to the next paragraph.

INSIDE THIS PURPLE ROOM looks back at the lives of two teenagers: Megan – a rebellious outsider and diagnosed schizophrenic – and her unlikely best friend, Angela – an introvert who seeks normalcy, but who instead commits herself to the adventures, turmoil and instability that are the result of her most valued friendship.

Ok, right here is where you lose me. Megan doesn't seem rebellious to me. She seems mentally ill. Why does Angela stay friends with someone who is so clearly unbalanced? You can't just say adventures, turmoil and instability. Those are NOT attractive qualities, particularly to someone whom you describe as seeking normalcy (and let's not even get in to how much I loathe that word. It reeks of psycho-jargon to my ear)


The manuscript novel begins when Angela is a twenty-year old college student. She returns home to New Jersey for Christmas, though, despite the inherent cheer of the holiday, cannot celebrate. <---this after="" anniversary="" around="" br="" days="" falls="" her="" holiday.="" just="" megan="" of="" one="" rather="" revolve="" s="" strictly="" suicide="" the="" thoughts="" which="" year="">
This is bereft of emotion; it's so detached it feels like you're an observer. Angela is grieving the loss of her friend particularly at the one year anniversary of her death.

While the world around her prepares for Christmas, Angela forces herself to visit a psychologist, where she reflects on her life with Megan. Fueled by her more mature understanding of the inner workings of her childhood, Angela invites the reader to step past the manicured forefront of suburban culture. Here, the reader is able to witness the troubles that haunt today’s youth, the changing role of the American family and the frequently overlooked aspects of childhood mental illness.

This isn't compelling. This is a report. The reader doesn't feel anything. People want to connect emotionally; this fails to do that.



But more, the reader is able to witness the unbreakable friendship that existed between two teenage girls.

Right here in a nutshell is the problem: the reader doesn't witness anything in a good book. The reader is PART of the book. The reader is enfolded into the story right along with the characters. The reader should FEEL what the girls feel, not observe them.

The story is weaved together by a series of brief chapters, which consist of Angela’s fragmented memories of her life with a mentally ill best friend. It is by way of these recollections that she reflects on Megan’s disturbing childhood behaviors. Perhaps more importantly, though, Angela finally begins to reflect on her own adolescent habits. Namely, her tendency to interpret Megan’s increasingly upsetting behaviors as signs of her friend’s creative nature rather than what they really were – the early and complex signs of a troubled and deeply disturbed teenage girl.

I cannot suggest strongly enough that you write very simple declarative sentences in a query letter. Leave out every single extra word. Only when you have the bones -what you absolutely must have for coherence- can you add in what enhances rather the obfuscates the meaning.

Here's what I mean: A series of brief chapters connect the main episodes. The chapters are Angela's memories of Megan. These chapters show Megan realizing she saw Angela as creative rather than troubled. (and then, the problem with that is...what?)


I have worked closely on this project with (redacted) who urged me to begin to submit this manuscript. He is the author of more than twenty books and the recipient of the National Magazine Award (2008). He has described INSIDE THIS PURPLE ROOM as “honed to excellence… and is in my opinion as an editor and writer of many books, of publishable quality… [It] is well-written, moving, insightful, and wise – sorrowful but tempered with hope and very relevant to our times – and most importantly, a pleasure to read.”

Unless the agent knows this guy, the endorsement is meaningless. And "worked closely with" can mean a lot of things. You don't need anyone's endorsement for a novel.



I am a part-time faculty member at (redacted) where I teach writing. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing: Nonfiction and am a reader for the Literary Review. To date, my essays, poems and interviews, as well as chapters excerpted from my manuscript, have appeared in a number of literary and arts journals including (redacted) . Additionally, a chapter from my manuscript titled (redacted) was recently selected for inclusion in the anthology(redacted) . I have held positions with New York and New England based book publishers and have completed freelance projects for multiple companies and publications, including IN STYLE.



INSIDE THIS PURPLE ROOM is my first book-length work.



Thank you for taking the time to consider my writing.





Sincerely,


Still a form rejection.
-------------------------




FIRST REVISION
Dear Query Shark:


Megan is a foul-mouthed, cynical outsider. Her best friend, Angela, is a timid introvert who is willing to do anything her friend suggests. Together, these teenagers have dreams of escaping the limits of their dead-end suburban New Jersey town. But when the signs of a debilitating mental illness begin to surface in one of them, the two must struggle to keep their friendship alive amidst the obstacles presented by illness, growing up and growing apart – even if it means ignoring the disease that ultimately takes one of their lives.

If you want me to care about what happens to either one of these people, you can't sound like you're reciting events in a clinical review.


Inside This Purple Room invites the reader on a journey through childhood mental illness and explores how the unbreakable friendship between two young girls prevented either of them from ever accepting the disease that consumed their lives.

You just said that, only better, in the first paragraph, but you still don't need to say any of it.

At ages twelve and thirteen, Megan and Angela take part in somewhat clich├ęd rebellious activities: smoking cigarettes, skipping school, sneaking out, stealing their parents’ booze. But as the two prepare to enter high school, Megan’s behaviors become more disturbing. She slips razorblades through her skin. She refuses to leave her bed for days at a time. She manically shaves off her eyebrows. She clings to friendships with people who do not exist.

Focus. Start with the problem: Megan starts slipping razorblades under her skin. She refuses to get up for days at a time. She talks to people who aren't there. Leave out all the other stuff. It's just white noise.


Angela is terrified of loosing the only true friend she’s ever had. As a result of her fear, Angela begins to interpret Megan’s increasingly upsetting behaviors as signs of her friend’s creative nature rather than what they really are: the early and complex signs of a troubled and deeply disturbed teenage girl.





But Megan’s illness spirals out of control and leads to a string of suicide attempts, multiple stays in psychiatric wards, frightening delusions, a reliance on prescription drugs, and an addiction to recreational drugs. Angela must try to save her friend without breaking the trust of their friendship, while also attempting to hold onto her dreams of leaving her hometown.

Why does Angela have any responsibility at all for a teenager who is mentally ill? Would she have responsibility if Megan had cancer? No, she wouldn't. If she feels responsible, why isn't someone telling her she's not?

Even when Angela does leave to pursue her college dreams in a quaint New England setting, she is haunted by the dichotomy of her life: lively romps on the campus green one minute, calls from psychiatric ward payphones the next; the innocent pressures of final exams juxtaposed with the more urgent pressures of a friend who continues to threaten her own life.

lively romps on the campus green? What is this Tammy Goes to College?

A coming of age story of two young outsiders, Inside This Purple Room is narrated by Angela and is framed around three of her visits to a psychologist. Here, she returns, via memory, to her adolescent search for normalcy amongst a life defined by illness. In doing so, she finally begins to understand the truth of her childhood and the fact that the disease she watched control her friend’s life was perhaps really shaping and controlling both their lives all along.

You don't need to tell us the structure of the novel. In fact, if you're doing something like telling it in flashbacks it's probably better to let us discover that later.




I have worked closely on this project with (redacted) who urged me to begin to submit this manuscript. He is the author of more than twenty books and the recipient of the National Magazine Award (2008). He has described Inside This Purple Room as “honed to excellence… and is in my opinion as an editor and writer of many books, of publishable quality… [It] is well-written, moving, insightful, and wise – sorrowful but tempered with hope and very relevant to our times – and most importantly, a pleasure to read.”





I am a part-time faculty member at (redacted) where I teach writing. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing: Nonfiction and am a reader for (redacted). To date, my essays, poems and interviews, as well as chapters excerpted from my manuscript, have appeared in a number of literary and arts journals. Additionally, a chapter from my manuscript titled “Sunday Morning” was recently selected for inclusion in the anthology In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself (MW Enterprises). I have held positions with New York and New England based book publishers and have completed freelance projects for multiple companies and publications, including In Style.

Inside This Purple Room is my first book-length work. It is fully complete and ready for review upon your request.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

Sincerely,

In the end we have no sense of these characters. You're talking about them objectively, clinically. You're observing, not showing us.

A query letter needs to be enticing. This isn't.
It's better, but it's still a form rejection.



ORIGINAL
------------------------------------------------
Dear Query Shark:

“When people ask me how long I knew Megan was depressed, my answer often varies. Sometimes, I say a year, sometimes five years, sometimes forever and other times I say only for a moment, right towards the end. I try to place my finger on it. Attempt to sort through the mess in my head, carve a path through the clutter and find the minute it all came crashing down. That solitary second that would enable me to place blame, to find a reason, to understand how it all went slip-sliding away from me.
I try to remember the beginning of it all.” – from Inside This Purple Room


Don't start your query with a quote from the book. Never ever. If you want to include a quote (and I don't think you should) put it farther down in the body of the letter so I have some idea of what I'm reading.

To Whom It May Concern:

I'll just assume you're using this rather than Dear Query Shark. Agents LOATH "to whom it may concern" salutations. I'll take Hi Sweetums, or even Hey Nate Dawg, before To Whom it May Concern. You know who you are querying; use his/her name. Dear Reptilian Agent Who's Standing Betwixt Me and Fame is better than TWIMC.


At age twenty, Megan Elizabeth Kelly claimed her life with a bottle of prescription pills. One year later, her closest friend began a journey to put back together the pieces of both their lives.

She didn't claim her life. She took it. The phrase"claim a life" is used with things like illness or war or the action of a third party. When you use it here, it sounds pretentious.

My first book-length manuscript,Inside This Purple Room, chronicles the lives of two teenage girls and their search for identity and friendship amidst a debilitating and ultimately fatal mental illness that surfaces in one of them.

The fact this is your first book doesn't have anything to do with what you write next. Move that to the closing paragraph. It's not the most important thing to know.



Throughout Inside This Purple Room, the narrator returns, via memory, to her adolescent search for normalcy amongst a life defined by illness. In doing so, she reaches new insights about her youth while coming to terms with her blemished past; but perhaps, more importantly, she begins to find meaning from the pain of her experience that: “Sometimes, in the end, even love is not enough.”

"amongst a life defined by illness" misuses among. I think you mean amidst. Even then, can't you say this a bit more simply? Elegant writing is clean, uncluttered.

Use the narrator's name. Use specific examples.

Even love is not enough is a cliche.



The story is framed around three visits to a psychologist in which the narrator reflects on the memories of her youth that shattered in the height of crisis. Through these recollections, the narrator invites the reader to travel back down the familiar roads of childhood to experience a first-hand account of the pressures facing young girls today, the changing face of the American family and the increase and implications of recreational and prescription drug use amongst our nation’s youth; it is by way of these fragmented scenes that the reader begins to question, along with the narrator, if the rise of mental illness in our nation is something that is born or bred.

You're telling us the same thing in this paragraph that you did in the preceding one, and it's not more illuminating. It's all very general. Who is the narrator? What happens to her? Why will we care about her? Those are the questions I ask when I read a query.

You're also not talking about the story. It sounds like an op-ed piece. That's deadly in a novel.


Inside This Purple Room asks the reader to step past the manicured forefront of suburban American culture to witness an unbreakable friendship formed in the height of a dysfunctional childhood characterized by obsessive lies, manic hallucinations, emotional outbursts, exhausting psychiatric visits and disturbing patterns of self-mutilation. In doing so, the reader joins the narrator as she embarks on a passage to make meaning of the illness that interrupted her formative years, took captive her friend’s existence, and introduced them both to life’s painful realities during a time that should have been plagued by innocence.

You're awash in generalities here. The first sentence in this two sentence paragraph has 46 words. The second has 48. When I read a query and see this kind of writing, I know this is what I'll see in the novel itself. There's a place for long-ass sentences in books. Generally speaking it's not back to back.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, it is estimated that one in four adults – approximately 57.7 million Americans – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Similarly, suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-24 years. Thus, issues similar to those found in my text have touched the lives of many individuals in varying age groups.

All of which means nothing. The story has to come first. The story is the only thing I consider. If it helps illuminate an issue I care about (deeply) that's good, but didacticism doesn't work well in fiction.

Readers have a long history of interest in these topics, based on the success of both fiction and nonfiction texts such as The Bell Jar, Girl Interrupted, Prozac Diary and Prozac Nation, among others; however, to date, many of these texts have been crafted by individuals/narrators who have themselves survived private battles with mental illness. Currently, there is a void in the market for texts that explore mental illness and suicide from an outsider/survivor’s perspective. Inside This Purple Room fills this void, adding a unique voice and fresh commentary to the tapestry of illness narratives.

You're dead wrong about the dearth of books by outsiders:

Broken Glass by Robert Hine
Mad House by Clea Simon
The Normal One by Jeanne Safer
My Sister's Keeper by Margaret Moorman

and this is just a quick survey of Amazon with the key words "mental illness."

And you don't need this kind of comparison title search in a query about a novel. (Non-fiction, yes, novel no) Your story is yours.


Though sorrowful, Inside This Purple Room is also laced with optimism and, for this reason, I believe will be marketable to a range of audiences. The text was crafted with adult audiences in mind, however, may appeal to younger readers as well who will relate to the lives and circumstances of my manuscript’s two main characters.

Leave all this out. It's telling not showing.

The manuscript is 47,000 words and fully complete; at this word count, it is brief enough not to be cost-prohibitive to most publishing houses. I have worked closely on this project with (redacted) who urged me to begin to submit this manuscript. Kennedy is the author of more than twenty books and the recipient of the (redacted) He has described Inside This Purple Room as “honed to excellence… and is in my opinion as an editor and writer of many books, of publishable quality… [It] is well-written, moving, insightful, and wise – sorrowful but tempered with hope and very relevant to our times – and most importantly, a pleasure to read.”

Well, he forgot to tell you that 47,000 words is about half the size of a novel. You need another 13,000 words to get to the minimum word count for a novel, and you'd do better to double it.

And don't worry about a publisher's cost for producing the book. That applies only to book with photographs or lots of illustrations. In fact, a short book is harder to sell because publishers need to charge hard cover prices for what looks like a small book.


I am a part-time faculty member at (redacted) where I teach writing. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing: Nonfiction and am a reader for (redacted) To date, my essays, poems and interviews, as well as chapters excerpted from my manuscript, have appeared in a number of literary and arts journals. Additionally, a chapter from my manuscript titled “Sunday Morning” was recently selected for inclusion in the anthology (redacted). I have held positions with New York and New England based book publishers and have completed freelance projects for multiple companies and publications, including In Style. Though Inside This Purple Room will be my first major publication, I feel strongly that my fierce dedication to the writing process as well as my professionalism will make me a desirable client. And, of
course, I believe strongly in the potential of this project.




A coming of age story of two young outsiders, Inside This Purple Room investigates the often-ugly interior of the highly sought American dream. Through a series of relived stories, painful visits to childhood haunts and recounted memories, the narrator learns to understand the truth of her childhood, and, in doing so, begins to realize the disease that overtook her friend’s life, the one which she believed only existed for a moment in time, was perhaps really there, thriving and growing more powerful, and shaping both their lives, all along.

Uh..what is this doing here? It restates something you already mentioned and you've put it after what's essentially the closing paragraph.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work. May I send you a copy of the completed manuscript?

Sincerely,


This is too short for a novel, and I don't have a sense of who the novel is about. There's nothing that connects me to the characters, and thus I don't care about them.

Focus on the actual story. SHOW me what the story is about don't tell me how important it is.

This is a form rejection.

31 comments:

Buffra said...

The excerpt and the actual query intro (after the TWIMC piece) would be worth considering.

But, the rest of the query has WAY too many words -- and they are all saying the same thing. Each paragraph is restating the one before it, but without really letting me know why I should want to read the book.

Take out almost all the biography stuff, everything about the guy who looked at the book, and everything about how important the subject is....then add a bit more about the story and characters themselves.

DebraLSchubert said...

I'm baffled by the sheer length of this query. Everything I read says a query should be in the neighborhood of 250 words, not counting the bio. So many of the queries I've seen posted here and at other agent's blogs are far longer. I'd love to hear your opinion on this.

Sara J. Henry said...

Dear Janet - you make me laugh out loud, a feat few people have accomplished. (And I used to work at a small newspaper with a writer who was a stand-up comedian at night and once came to work dressed in a Gumby costume to cheer me up.)

Thanks for brightening our days. (Yesterday I plowed through Nathan Bransford's 50 queries, and I will say that all agents deserve a permanent gold medal. By the end I was nearly incoherent.)

MeganRebekah said...

I could barely get through the entire query there was so much there. The premise could possibly be quite good, but it was too hard to pull out.
I am always so shocked that people with these reported credentials and backgrounds can be so horribly off in their queries. Do they think they are so good that they don't do any research on query letters?

BuffySquirrel said...

"...dysfunctional childhood characterized by obsessive lies, manic hallucinations, emotional outbursts...and disturbing patterns of self-mutilation."

!

I've known people who were pathological liars, people who had hallucinations, people who had emotional outbursts, and people who self-harmed. But I have never known anyone with ALL those things.

Mystery Robin said...

This is a deeply painful subject for those of us who have lost friends to mental illness and suicide -- and as you quote in the stats, with suicide as a leading cause of death, there are many, many readers who will be in that group.

You don't need to overwrite to get the emotion across. You don't need to hit us over the heads with statistics and big words. Write simply, show us the characters. Make us care about the characters - even in the query - and the pain will come through.

This query actually distanced us from what should be a very painful topic, because there were too many words and not enough detail.

Good luck!

Christine H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nn Angel said...

I actually stopped reading the query at about the third or fourth paragraph because I was already getting the sense that I wasn't going to be reading about what the story was. I skimmed the other paragraphs to find I was right.

Tell me more about the characters and the story rather than why it's important. The subject matter itself speaks of the importance. But what speaks for this book and its quality is the query. Don't lose sight of the fact you're pitching a book, not a subject.

Alissa said...

Length might not be as much of an issue if this is being written for a YA audience, which is what I thought it might be at first, but then wasn't sure. From the tone of the query I got the impression that it might be one of those not very fun to read, preachy sort of YA books, which apparently there is a market for since they are always getting published. If the query focused on the specific story told in the novel this might have a chance.

acpaul said...

BuffySquirrel said: "But I have never known anyone with ALL those things."

I saw all of that and much worse in my clinical psych rotation in nursing school. And yes, mutliple problems in one person, or one problem causing multiple symptoms. Bipolar, for example, with full swings from extreme mania to deep depression.

All that said, this query reads more like a proposal for a nursing psych textbook than for a work of fiction. The paragraphs all said the same thing in a slightly different way and none of it served to advance the story.

I am also curious about the length of it. Isn't 1 page, 250 words, the norm?

morphine-moniza said...

This query is verbose without imparting any info about the story itself. I still know next to nothing about the main characters and the particularities of their story.

Is this a YA novel? The wordcount seems to indicate it is, though it's still pretty short. Anyway, if I'm not wrong, YA novels should try not to be blatantly didactic. Kids don't want to be taught, they'd much rather read for fun and glean whatever lessons they can for themselves.

One way to avoid the didatic vibe is by focusing on the story instead of describing it in terms of cliches and themes. So instead of describing what the novel aims to do, you could write about the plot and characters, focusing on the central conflict.

Taymalin said...

The list of symptoms aren't unbelievable, though it might be better for the author to pick a disorder and stick with it. This person sounds as if they're suffering from concurrent mood and psychotic disorders.

Most people who suffer from a mental disorder have an increased chance of also suffering from depression--though the severity and duration varies depending on the person. And medical treatments can also cause behavioral problems (such as cutting).

Though I'm not sure I understand what is meant by "manic hallucinations". And I would be interested to know what disorder(s) the author is trying to represent, and where they found their information.

Tay

Taymalin said...

I should also note that I'm not, have never been and probably will never be, a medical professional. Psychology was my undergrad major, and is a personal interest, but I'm no expert.

BuffySquirrel said...

Thanks, acpaul. Yes, I've known people with multiple symptoms, it's true. But not all those...guess my acquaintances have been 'lucky'.

Lumpy Dog said...

I sometimes wonder if the authors read every other query bitten by the shark before submitting their own. So many of the mistakes in this one could have been avoided just by paying attention to the 109 other examples.

Sad, because once your sift through this thing, there's a possibly interesting premise hidden in all that muck.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Is this supposed to be a survivor's guilt story? Or a story about a teen's descent into crazy while no one noticed? Because if it's the former, it's been done before and better. And if it's the latter, I think repeated visits to the psychiatrist, manic hallucinations, etc. would indicate that quite a few people noticed this teen had problems. Except maybe her best friend? What's up with that?

Taire said...

I like the survivor angle, and assume, as others have that it must be a YA. The pompous tone is very unlike a young adult, and insultingly insensitive. Poor girl. I have known a few.

Janet said...

Verbosity is not a virtue. There was so much flabby prose in this query that my eyes kept glazing over. The fact that the querier teaches creative writing makes me want to cry. How can he/she have so little sense of the power of well-chosen words?

May I suggest that the author join Twitter and spend the next month doing no other writing? There is no better place to learn how to delete excess words and get to the point.

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

Wow that was long...I stopped reading after the first couple paragraphs and just read Query Shark's comments. Shouldn't the entire query fit on one page?? This seems like 2 or 3 pages.

Amber Lynn Argyle said...

I found my eyes glazing over as I read. Always a bad sign.

myrebelcat said...

While I agree that innocence can often be more of a plague than a prize, I'm not sure you meant to write...

"...introduced them both to life’s painful realities during a time that should have been plagued by innocence."

We can be plagued by misfortune, unruly children, locusts and boils. We cannot be plagued by good fortune, well behaved offspring, bountiful crops, or good health.

What you've written here essentially translates into...

"...introduced them both to (bad stuff) during a time that should have been (also very bad)."

DHE said...

Newbie question, perhaps, but what does the illustrious Query Shark mean by "op-ed"?

BuffySquirrel said...

I believe it stands for opinion-editorial.

I would have thought the pathological lying alone would have driven the friends apart (speaking from painful experience....).

talpianna said...

"Op-ed" is short for "opposite the editorial page"--where opinions that differ from the paper's positions, and columns, appear in a newspaper.

WV: grmshr--what everyone is saying about the economy

(second try) WV: taxerofo--how to fix it

Janet Reid said...

as the two previous commenters answered "op-ed" is a newspaper term: people writing guest editorials generally promoting their particular viewpoint or opinion.

I find them short on showing, and long on telling.

I'd also add I find them mostly boring, but that's my prejudice in favor of story telling as persuasive device instead of hectoring.

talpianna said...

Ah, but, Janet--the editorial cartoons are on the op-ed page too!

WV: pramic--having to do with baby carriages

Ryan Hunter - Writer said...

Thanks for dissecting these queries. It's helped me better understand what I need to change in my own.

I think it's time to rework with some show and tell, minus the tell.

Jessica said...

I wonder if the author uses "narrator" in the query because the narrator is unnamed in the novel, although I believe it comes across as vague in this particular letter, as was pointed out. Could the Shark weigh in on the proper way to query a novel with an unnamed narrator?

Lanette said...

I'm surprised the writer has a Master's in Creative Writing. She sounds more like a psychologist.

This sounds like something I would really want to read, but if the query letters are a reflection of writing style; I'm sure I would set the book down early into reading it and not pick it up again.

Laina said...

Does "loosing" not bug anyone else in a BIG way?