Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playlists for Writers

You know how Stephenie Meyer thanks her favourite bands on the acknowledgment pages in all of her Twilight books? Yeah, me neither. Anyhoo, other totally unrelated things (probably something I read in The New Yorker) got me thinking about what my favourite bands/songs to write to are. While most often I need silence to write, sometimes -- depending on what type of scene I'm writing and what stage in the writing of it that I'm at -- I'll crank up my iTunes player and weeeee! off to the races. Here are some of my current favourites and what I'm writing when I listen.

Break-up scenes:
"Kill" Jimmy Eat World
"Sabotage" Beastie Boys
"Try" Blue Rodeo

Get-over-him scenes:
"Power" Kanye West
"Sweet disposition" The Temper Trap

Falling-in-love scenes:
"Friday I'm in love" The Cure
"I will follow you into the dark" Death Cab for Cutie

Generally sad scenes:
"Teardrop" Massive Attack
"Hallelujah" Jeff Buckley

Funny scenes:
"Me and Julio down by the schoolyard" Paul Simon
"Let the cool goodness rust away" Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah

While editing scenes:
Anything without lyrics -- the Chocolate soundtrack is my current #1
"Wish you were here" by Pink Floyd is great, too

Although I always have to go back and fix things up when music is involved, I often find that a song or two is great for moving things along and setting the emotional tone of any scene. (It also helps block out the construction noises courtesy my perpetually unsatisfied neighbours.) What are your favourite songs to write to? Or do you use music at all?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A bad day for Franco

I'm feeling a bit desperate today. For some reason this always seems to happen on Thursdays. I'll spend my lunch hour trolling the Internet for agents I haven't yet queried and tips from people who managed to break in while I'm just breaking out. (Seriously, I'm getting anxiety zits like a 13-year-old boy.)

Normally, this very low day would be the perfect one on which to rant about James Franco and his book of short stories. After all, the thing did just come out the other day. But I'm on the edge of feeling sorry for Franco. The bastard is getting horribly sour reviews. You know that smell of cantaloupe when it goes bad? Not the actual flesh, but when you stick your nose in that little depression and take a whiff and you know that you missed out on something that could have been really good? That s#i% fills my nose when I read one of his reviews.

"... after finishing "Palo Alto' one feels the urge to not so much review it as grade it. And not highly."

Sorry Franco. But a bad review is still better than no review at all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FFS - you saw it here first

So, NBC's Writers on the Verge program never wrote me a letter of rejection, which I found very annoying. Obviously I didn't get in -- the program started a few weeks ago, FFS!* But just an e-mail, a form letter, anything at all would have been appreciated. It's these kinds of rejections that are the worst. The ones that tell you just how low you are on a list of priorities. At least the WB had the courtesy to send me a rejection in the mail. Oh yeah. I didn't get into that program either.

Anyhoo, since I'm tired as hell of only writing bad news here, here's some good news!

These two white chicks** got in to Writers on the Verge!

I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait for another boffo season of Cougar Town and Army Wives!!

* = for fu#%'s sake
** = yes, I know I'm a white chick, too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Burned before reading

The following is a path to rejection so bizarre that I had to share it. Pay attention to the dates. They make this &#it matter:

May 11, 2010

Dear Id,

Thank you for sending us the query below. Please do send the complete manuscript if you can. A Word attachment would be just fine. It will take 2-3 months for us to get back to you. We are considering manuscripts for fall 2011...


Associate Editor
XXXX Books

I forgot about that e-mail. Time passed. A trip through Europe happened. A new job was gotten. No manuscript was sent. Fast forward to...

August 26, 2010:

Dear Id,

My apologies in taking forever to get back to you. I would like to take a look at your whole manuscript for A Happy Armageddon. You're welcome to send it to this email address in a doc format. I will get back to you some time this fall.


Associate Editor
XXXX Books

Time passed, personal problems arose, a re-write began. More problems. No trip to Europe. No manuscript was sent. Fast forward to...

October 7, 2010

Dear Id,

Thank you for your query back in spring of this year. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.

Unfortunately we don't think A Happy Armageddon is a good fit with our list at this time. We are once again overwhelmed with professional submissions for our annual award for an unpublished novel or story collection, and it is difficult to make the necessary decisions. Editorial judgments are subjective and often wrong, of course, and I wish you all the best with your writing.


Associate Editor
XXXX Books

I'm pretty sure that this qualifies as a new low.