November 01, 2006

Miss Snark Likes My Imagery!

Buckle up--this is going to be a long post.

Okay, so there's this woman, Miss Snark, and she's a literary agent--those people who get publishers to publish your books. Once my novel is finished I will get an agent who will then sell it for an amount of money so large Kevin will be able to retire comfortably. Or that's the plan anyway. So Miss Snark is an agent who blogs anonymously (along with some other agent and editor bloggers) and she answers questions about publishing in general (and occasionally holds a contest or two).

At the same time, there's another "agent" named Barbara Bauer who is a scam artist to the extreme. In publishing, every scam comes down to one principal--you should not have to spend a single penny before your book is published. Excluding paper and postage, of course. But you should never pay a reading fee for an agent, or a "retainer," or a fee to a "special, recommended 'independent' editor," or a submission fee, or a printing fee, or an advance that you pay on the advance you hope to get, etc. The exceptions are things like professionally run conferences, some contests, and an editor you yourself research and select, not one recommended to you. But in general--no. Agents make money by selling your book, not by collecting money from you.

Anyway, Barbara Bauer is a scam artist. There are a couple of different resources on the web for aspiring writers exposing scams, like Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors. So after Babs and a few of her scammer friends put up a scamming website, Miss Snark and the other bloggers descended. Babs parried back with a podcast decrying the cabal of bloggers trying to ruin her career. It was actually quite funny.

At any rate, Miss Snark decided to hold a little writing contest based on that. The goal was to write a story in 250 words or fewer containing the following words:


You could use their real meanings or make them up--whatever you wanted. Of course I was up to the challenge. There were 50 entries total and Miss Snark singled out 17 entries for various awards. I received the, "Achievement in imagery!" award (along with one other person). My entry was #47 (reproduced below in case you don't feel like following the links). Go me! (most of the other 48 were also very funny)


Sally Strauss produced a noticeable hissing sound as she attempted to dislodge a piece of communion wafer that had become caught underneath her orthodontic appliance.

“Sally, can you please not dragoon your retainer?” her mother whispered through clenched teeth. “It’s disgusting.”

A few of the Rent-A-Mourners turned their heads to glare at Sally. She rolled her eyes, knowing that the disapproval she was getting was nothing like what her brother encountered at the door.

Heinrich Strauß wore a crisp paisley shirt and tapered jeans with zippers at the ankle. Born Jason Strauss, Heinrich changed his name in order to sound more Jewish. He quickly realized that wasn’t a good idea when the majority of Americans mistook the eszett for the letter B, but “Heinrich” had a nice ring and it gave him something to talk about at the cocktail parties he was hoping one day to be invited to.

Heinrich stood at the door of the church and handed out fliers for his new enterprise, The Cabal—a combination of Kabbalah study, evangelical Christianity, and Amway. The flier compared a Cabal meeting to “hanging out with Madonna, Pat Robertson, and that guy who cornered you in the elevator the other day.” He wasn’t getting many takers among the crowd whose purpose for being there was to attend the funeral of a highly respected school board member, but Heinrich was not to be deterred. He knew The Cabal would make him rich one day.

Posted by Shelby at November 1, 2006 10:41 PM
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