Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cloudy with Chance of Slush

I really shouldn’t laugh at this. Especially considering the spate of butt-ugly query letters I recently sent out. (I don’t know what I was thinking; temporary insanity.)

But it is.

In particular, this gem:

My 318,000 word novel may seem like it starts a little slow, but after the first 100 pages or so it really picks up steam, so I hope you will be patient and not be distracted.

Hey, a SQUIRREL! Cool….Oh, hang on. what were you saying?

Reminds me of why I rarely critique/beta novels anymore. Back in the day, when I was naive, I would read anything. More often than not, the first chapters were okay, being the part on which the author lavished the most love. Later chapters getting progressively worse, meandering journeys (literally, since I read fantasy), that went nowhere fast.

Highlights included a long and lugubrious vampire novel, largely devoid of ... uh, vampires, and a religious tract masquerading as a Lord of the Rings clone. The latter featuring a screechy, self-righteous heroine who was supposed to show the hero the way to salvation. If I had been the hero, after a few minutes with that bitch, I would have gotten me hence to a titty bar for some primo debauchery.

Anyway, one exchange with a writer went like this:

Me: “There really isn’t a strong sense of plot. The characters seem to wander from one cute conversation to another, but no one has much of a goal. Or if they do, they seem to forget it rather quickly.” (The undiplomatic but true assessment would have been more like, “This reads like Grandpa Simpson tells the story of The Lord of the Rings.)

Writer: “Yes, I know the first 100 pages are a little slow. That’s because I’m trying to establish the characters and the setting. But I think you agree it gets faster by page 150, correct? Knowing what I am trying to do with this story, do you still think its slow? Perhaps you might reconsider your assessment.”

Me: ...[Thinking, “By page 150, I wanted to carve my eyeballs out with a spork.]

Seriously? What difference does it make? I’m not an editor or an agent. (Not that you should be asking them to reconsider, either.) I’m the beta reader. You asked for my opinion. I gave it.

Now shoo!

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