Thursday, May 8, 2008

From the Weirdness Files

I get a lot of emails. Most of them are Viagra spam, a few are from people I actually want to hear from, and the rest are queries. The queries come even though I posted a notice on our website that we're not accepting them. Apparently nothing stops them. I don't generally enjoy being a jerk so I try to answer the queries politely, even though it's just going to be a rejection without considering the content. The one exception is the query I get every six weeks from the same guy. I responded to him politely the first three times, but now I just delete his emails.

Yesterday I received a query that I suspect is going to join the queries from the every-six-weeks-query-guy. The only way I knew it was a query was because it said "query" in the subject line. The first line of the email started with "Chapter One." It then proceeded into – you guessed it – chapter one. A quick scroll down showed chapters two and three, in which I caught glimpses of "Hitler" and "Jewess" and, at the very bottom, an email address. And that was it. There was no actual question or information about the rest of the book – so it appears someone sent me the first three chapters of their manuscript, accompanied by their email address. They didn't ask me to publish it, nor did they even give me their name. The person sent me three chapters of something I don't want to read, without addressing me directly; I don't really feel compelled to reply. Does that make me a jerk? Maybe. I guess I'll just have to live with it.

I wonder why someone would think it's enough to send three chapters of their novel and nothing else. I mean sending just that, without even prefacing it with some kind of greeting or explanation of what they're doing. Do they really think anyone would have the time or inclination to read such a long email (this thing was thousands of words long) and then email them to ask about it? There was no synopsis, so you'd have no idea of the remainder of the story – where it was going. Even if I wasn't already working on two long over-due manuscripts, I wouldn't be interested in this one. It just confuses the hell out of me as to why someone would think I would be interested in reading the first three chapters of their novel, and then tracking them down to find out the synopsis of the book, and who they are, etc. It just seems bizarre.

As to the two manuscripts I am working on, well, I am working on them. Office Max ought to give me a frequent customer discount – one of them is looooooooong (Louise!) and it takes more than a whole ream of paper just to print one copy of it. Gillian's manuscript is very nearly done. Once she sobers up from testing all those Prohibition Banquet drinks recipes and finishes the new opening (told you I'd get you back for being mean the other day, Gillian), then I will be ready to start tinkering with getting rid of all the strange numbers she put in it (don't ask). After that, it will be a piece of cake until we get to the part where she wants to strangle me. That always happens near the end. Then it will be ready for the world. And it will, of course, be wonderful at that point!

For some reason, with Louise's book, it's the title that's the difficult part, and I don't know why; the book is excellent. But I have a plan. I'm going to Houston next week. That means I have a long plane flight. I am, to put it mildly, a nervous flyer. To deal with that, I normally take a minimum of three books when I get on a plane. The reason I do that is because it increases the odds that I'll have at least one decent book in which to absorb myself when one of the plane engines dies, or when the wing of the plane appears to be hanging drunkenly perpendicular to the ground, or the as-yet un-thought of disaster is announced by the pilot. This time, however, I'm only going to take one book in addition to Louise's manuscript and I will stick strictly to thinking about the manuscript until the disaster strikes. Then I will turn to the book because I wouldn't want to taint the memory of the manuscript with my feelings about the disaster. But until the disaster occurs, and I have no doubt that it will because it always does, then I will be a captive audience to thinking about the perfect title for the manuscript. Note that I have a positive mental attitude about all this. I am positive that there will be some sort of disaster. I am also positive that I will survive it. And that I will come up with a good title for that manuscript by the time I get off that plane. They don't call me Pollyanna for nothing. Actually, they don't call me Pollyanna, but what the hell!


gillpolack said...

I didn't write that new opening under the influence of alcohol. I was just unable to assess if it did the job because of the influence of alcohol. I will entirely understand if it needs to be redone...

Suddenly it's really obvious to me why I'm not usually a drinker.

Doubtful Muse said...

I didn't suggest you wrote it under the influence of alcohol! In fact, you'd better not have. It was the email you sent that was under the influence of alcohol. Or rather, the emailS.