Monday, September 27, 2010


I jumped on the query super highway. I went blazing, speeding, and didn't wear a seat belt. Not only was I not securely fastened but I didn't check the engine. To summarize, I wasn't prepared.

My MS wasn't ready.

Form rejections, mixed contest results, unbiased CP feedback, I took in all in.

The opening to my novel, By Grace Alone, has been re-written. I am  knee deep in re-writes to reflect the changes. I'm having a blast.

To be honest, I haven't felt this good since I finished my first draft.

Recently, I've been meeting with local writers.  Cyber connecting is great. You're here reading this. However, something can be said about getting out their physically to meet your peers.

In a discussion group today a chat started about the Query process. Well, my hand goes up like Horshack, waving and oooh oooh ooohing.

A few comments later, I gulp.

The number of fellow writers who vented frustrations about LITERARY INTERNS made me nervous. Apparently they are more common than we think.

Our QUERIES most likely are read by INTERNS before ever getting to the AGENT.

Now, I am not sure how that makes me feel.

I am NO Agent or an Intern. I will not presume to understand how many queries they see and how many are just plain awful.

But we work really hard and we now depend on interns?

Some may not even have enough life experience to connect with our work. Their taste decides whether we get into the VIP club- the Agent's desk.

All our hard work in the hands of someone we DIDN'T query.


On TWITTER one of these interns complained about PROLOGUES and how they are unnecessary.

The debate on them is vast and oh so deep. Been there, argued that.

My MS has a one page prologue.

Before you chime in, here are some NYT Bestsellers with Prologues: The entire TWILIGHT series, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, ANGELS & DEMONS, THE DA VINCI CODE (The Bestselling book of all Time),  A BEND IN THE ROAD (Most Nicholas Sparks novels), James Patterson's THE SWIMSUIT (been on the NYT BS list for a couple of years).

I start a chat with this intern. A polite one, seriously. I ask why do WE aspiring writers hear how much agents hate PROLOGUES and yet I keep reading them. Reading them in works that are very successful. Said intern asks what books have them and I list the above. Her response, all good stories but TERRIBLE WRITING.


They are all in my library. They were great reads. Love them. Won't let people borrow them. The TWILIGHT series is my kids. Haven't read but seen the movies. I know, I know. I'll read them sometime. But back to my rant.

Terrible writing? TERRIBLE WRITING?????????? I keep going back to this. How terrible can they be if millions of people have read them, loved them, and HOLLYWOOD even made them into movies?

Now, they're not Literary snooze fests or Pulitzer Prize winners. I know that. But I am a commercial fiction reader. Very proud of that.

Who is this INTERN to say what makes TERRIBLE WRITING? I mean to say that actual successful authors are TERRIBLE? I wonder if she's passed on any GOOD STORIES for the agent she works/interns for. I mean, she could have just said that they weren't her style or what she looks for.
Why do I feel like Doogie Howsers are looking at my work? I mean look at Neil Patrick Harris. Look at what life experience did for him. I want the NOW Doogie reading my query, or the AGENT I should say.
But to say these FELLOW scribes are terrible, especially looking at their success...Then I hope I am TERRIBLE too. Just as terrible a they are.

I wonder how many interns passed or will pass on mine?

This business is SOOOO SUBJECTIVE.

The scary thing is, AGENTS need interns. The business is that insane. Agents would NEVER get to ANY queries without them. It still makes me uneasy. The economy sent many editors packing. Publishing houses no longer help groom their writers, they want you ready to go.

So, I shake my head and pray somewhere AN ACTUAL AGENT reads my work and is drawn to it. That a publisher believes in it. And that readers will LOVE it.

BTW, this intern later was on a social media outlet chatting about the queries she was simultaneously reading, liking, passing on, yada. All while continuing to chat on said social media outlet. Chat about queries, shots and drinking games. Yup. How much concentration is going on there? I guess there is so much terrible out there she is forced to drink and read queries.

I shake my head and refuse to let the idea of these interns solely holding the future of my writing career in their hands.

Like I said. I am feeling pretty damn good. Not gonna let this ruin my mood. Plus, DEXTER IS ON!

Need my homicidal fix... BTW that's not an intern in my sofa. Pinky promise. LOL.


  1. Query Synopsis Partial Full. Just submit the first three without a prologue or any mention of a prologue. If that page(s) is going to up your odds of an auto-reject, why send it until those odds have been whittled to your favor? After all, they ask for the first three chapters.
    I think of the prologue as part of the beginning fluff, like acknowledgements and table of contents - I wouldn't send those.
    The odds of me writing a prologue are pretty slim. If my story had to have one - I wouldn't submit it until after my hooky beginning and solid grasp of creative grammar had already won them over.
    Hell, it's possible that the assistants have assistants at some of the busier places - why risk your career to a newbie's probably parroted opinion? IMHO - of course.

  2. I love my prologue and have received wonderful feedback. It's part of my book.

    I keep reading book after book after book with prologues in them. Yet we hear that agents hate them. Really? I see no proof of that based of the NYT BS List. When I went to my library last night I looked at those books. The PRO made a huge impact on the read.

    This intern is NOT with an agent I queried. Not at all. I just happened to see her comment somewhere in cyber space about prologues. When I asked why are WE as aspiring writers told agents hate them yet I keep reading them. She challenged me to give her a list of some of those NYT BS. I did and her respose was good stories, terrible writing.

    That floored me because HER opinion that they were terrible writers was so ridiculous. Esp as an intern.

    Prologues will not make or break you getting signed. Look at Dan Brown, Stephany Meyer and so on.

    If your story and voice shine through, than the PRO is all semantics.

    Prologues can hook and have a solid grasp of creative grammar. IMHO.

  3. This really wasn't a post about the Pro debate, like I said been there done that.

    This was about the comment that some of these NYT BS are terrible writers.

    That just absolutely floored me. I'm sure the agent she is working for wouldn't mind a cut of those sales.

    What kills me is that these very young interns hold the key to our careers in their hands.

  4. i read somewhere that stephen king thinks that stephanie meyer is a terrible writer. but then i've heard people say that SK is too long winded. So there you go. all i know is that when i decide to query it'll be with a chant of 'don't hold your breath,' lol...this is a cockamamy world!

  5. When is a person the most arrogant in their life - 20 to 25 yrs of age.

    I studied a martial art and before we were actual black belts we were black belt with a red stripe. The red stripe was a warning signal to us - we were dangerous at that time - we had some knowledge but no wisdom. When the wisdom was attained the stripe was removed.

    That's an early 20's person - they're done with school - feeling all smart and educated and that they are they only ones with a brain.

    A red stripe should be attached to their cellphones and not be removed until they have attained wisdom.

    What is all this about - of course a young arrogant know-it-all is going to think and "old" writer didn't know how to write. That old writer is not now - and if it isn't now - it's not worth anything - in their estimation.

    So yes our beloved manuscripts are in the hands of babies - and that just sucks!

  6. I think prologues are fine if they carry the tone of the book and don't seem completely disconnected from the rest of the story. The prologue should flow into chapter one seamlessly, IMHO.

    As for what makes TERRIBLE writing vs FANTASTIC writing, well, I'm still trying to figure that out, LOL! It IS a subjective biz. I also know I've learned a lot and am completely embarrassed by the crap I tried to query two years ago. However, it allowed me to start the journey of growing as a writer.

    But lemme tell you, if I don't get requests off my most recent WIP when I go to query it, then I'm gonna be really flummoxed. Just sayin'.

  7. Kris, just proves this business is very subjective.

    Anonymous, Warning labels or red stripes. Love that idea!

    LB, Prologues must serve a purpose and continue the voice. I totally get that. My latest re-write if it doesn't get me signed, I will move on to the next book and revisit this one later.

  8. I've yet to hear of an agent who doesn't use an intern. And if you do hear of one...would you please start a website with a list of their names? I'm sure we'd all like in on that closely guarded secret.

  9. LOL - it wasn't a pro debate. It's just that there are assistants who may use their own opinion more than that of their employers. We keep hearing of all these things agents don't like to see, so why include them until the agent has decided to see the whole package? I'm sure there are gatekeepers of all ages and experience levels that we need to get by - maybe a curvier route is the answer.

  10. I get the idea of with holding, tis tempting. I've received feedback about cutting part of my pro but people seemed to like it as a whole.

    I do get if it's a mixed bag cutting and presenting after being signed. I'd feel like I was cheating though. Old-school Catholic guilt!