Right. There’s a reason you’re staying trunked, old short stories. Don’t try luring me with your siren call again. I love you for what you are, but you belong to a specific time and place. There you will stay, a memory like the rose at the Beast’s chateau.

And then there’s Wiscon inspiration, which has resulted in a mostly plotted on commutes and walks werewolf story. As I work on the trolls, if I need a break, well, there it is.

So, Frankie’s project, and back to trolls.


Wiscon Panel: Tech Tools for Writers

Tech Tools for Writers
Panelists: Morven Westfield, Caroline Stevermer, Kellie Jones, and S.N. Arly

This panel focused on technical tools for writers, so there was truth in advertising. A variety of things were discussed.

1. Note books: Both Morven and Kellie displayed their new little netbooks, tiny computers that look like toys. Kellie’s looked like it could belong to some sort of PlayDo set. Morven’s was ran through the x-ray machine twice at the airport, because she supposes they didn’t know what it was.

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Conversations with Agents

Actually, this is a post more for agents than writers. I know that there are a few of you out there reading this. This post really is about agent etiquette when meeting authors. I don’t mean any old author that you’ve never met, or an author that’s sent you a query that you’ve rejected. Rather, I’m curious about your interactions with authors from whom you’ve requested partials or fulls.

Say you’re at a convention. An author stops up to thank you for considering their work.

At Wiscon, in the course of two years, I’ve had three encounters with agents who have requested partials and fulls of my manuscript (two fulls).

One agent looked at me vaguely, didn’t know who I was, and I quickly said thanks and good bye. I felt like I’d confused her. She’d had a full of my book.

One agent was very busy entertaining her friends, and took my brief thank you, I think as an invasion, even though I had been very polite. I don’t think she knew me. She’d had a partial.

The final agent found me via my name tag, and instigated a very hearty conversation with me, apologizing for having my book so long, and being both complimentary, but critically helpful. She talked about the agent business quite a bit. I tried to be human, she was human. It worked out. She instigated the conversation. That impressed me. She still has a full.

I understand that you get so many manuscripts you can’t remember everyone. I teach maybe 80 students a semester, and I can’t remember most of their names a year later. I have the advantage of faces with my names to boot.

Here’s the crux: Is it common for an agent who has requested more material from you to not recognize your name? How about the full manuscript? What is the professional etiquette?

I have to tell you, as a possible client, I’m very impressed by politeness in agent communication, regardless of whether an agent has asked for my work or not. I’m surprised that agents who requested partials from a client wouldn’t know them. If I were considering hiring someone, I’d probably remember their name.

Publishing is an unusual world, where things happen in terms of epochs. It took me a while to understand that part of the culture. I’m out to understand other parts as well.

What should be the behavior of an agent in the wild in regard to people whose work they’ve solicited? In your humble opinion?

And writers, what have your experiences been?

Curious in Iowa

Wiscon: Sunday Readings and Just Desserts

I guess what the world really wants out there are links to panel descriptions. The spike I had in visitors yesterday! It sort of doubled the ordinate line on my stats graphic.

Well, that’s what they’re there for…to be read. Hopefully, also, to be of use. There are a lot of panels for people JUST starting out, but I’m always glad when I run into a panel that helps people who know what they’re doing sharpen their skills.


Writerly news: Now Point River is off to submission number 2: Glass Fire Magazine.


This entry is to wrap up Sunday at Wiscon. I felt kind of link happy, so click on through.

There was our reading: Nightmares in Pleasant Dreams.

Let me tell you about our authors.

Catherine Cheek writes exquisitely textured short stories, and makes exquisitely textured art. She shared an excerpt from her novel in progress, which featured mages in a trailer.

Ellise Heiskell read for her very first time at our Wiscon reading. She was a little nervous, but read a delightful and subtle piece about a woman who grew delightful and subtle wings.

Shira Lipkin read several short poems and pieces, all with a twist (of lemon, of cinnamon, of vanilla).

And of course, if you didn’t know me, you wouldn’t be reading this far.

After that, there was the editor thing, which is detailed in my entry The Reveal.

Because that happened so early in the afternoon, I was able to see a reading at Room of One’s Own.

Catherine Lundoff read from her mid-life werewolf novel, which captures small towns pretty well.

S.N. Arly read a charming story about a vampire teddy bear.

Melodie Bolt read dark, but strikingly beautiful poetry.

And finally, my Good Samaritan, Martha Allard, read a strong UF piece about angels and demons.

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The Last of the MayNo Troll Words

Just weighing in to celebrate the finish of amassing some word count on the Troll story. I just finished my MayNo verbage, and a tad over today.

I’ll be working on a couple of short projects very briefly, and then return to this. I’m pleased with my progress, in terms of getting to know the characters, and getting a bit more organized.

It is hard, however, to enjoy writing crappily. Even if you give yourself permission to. I live for the moments that have clarity and style, in spite of themselves. Ah! Early drafts!

50035 / 50000 words. 100% done!

Next Up: Frankie’s Project

Wiscon Panel: Synopsis: A Necessary Evil?

Panelists: Sylvia Kelso, Kelly McCullough, Caroline Stevermer


The gist of the synopsis panel was to help writers learn about the varying kinds of synopses that a publisher might ask for.

Many writers are often confused by the variety of terms a publisher might use. What’s the difference between an outline and a synopsis? What about a hook? What about a pitch?

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Wiscon Panel: The Etiquette of Self Promotion

Panelists: Nayad Monroe, Catherine Lundoff, Madge Miller, and Marianne Kirby.


We’ve all been there. I was there this weekend. At my Saturday night party, I was introduced to a male novelist who kept invading my personal space. He sidled up to me, with his agenda. “I would consider it a personal favor,” he said, “if you would buy my book.” I didn’t. I just felt…oily afterwards.

What’s an emerging novelist to do? Certainly, you want to promote and sell your book, but how far is going too far? When are you underselling yourself? What is the correct balance.

Since I was up (the married to Mr. Morning factor) I went to the panel The Etiquette of Self Promotion. It was a good panel. Here are some of the things that panelists talked about.

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And They’re Off

On my way to the post office to send those 75 pages and the outline to the editor.

Substance will now settle back into the long limbo of the submission process. 🙂

Next: More verbage on the troll story.
Then: Frankie’s project
After: Strangely enough, a short story that’s been working itself out in our commutes. I blame Wiscon inspiration.

Keep those lit candles, crossed fingers, and four leaf clovers coming!

If you could break a bottle of champagne on her as she launches, that’d be fine too.

Gotta go buy stamps.


Wiscon Saturday

School started at Kirkwood, and yesterday and today were chalk full of five minute conversations. I’m hoping for some time to cut lose today on some projects.

But before that, let’s talk about Saturday at Wiscon.

Of course, you know from The Reveal post two entries back that I was apparently schmoozing on Saturday morning without even knowing it. After I left Martha and wished her luck with her editor meeting, I ran off to the Farmer’s Market for breakfast.

I had my usual delicious wheat muffin, and this year I walked the market.

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