Tag Archives: humor

Where Art Thou, Humor?

My Dear Hubby texted me: Going to Dick’s Sports, was there anything to get yet?

My response after trying on a dress this past weekend: a new a$$ for me.

Him: I’ll check in the rear of the store.

I love that man!

 

Bad Hair Day in Writing

The last time I got my hair cut, I was more specific than I’ve ever been. 

I don’t like how my long and short layers don’t blend.  It makes me look like a mushroom head.

I guess that means, cut the short shorter and leave the long, because now my layers are even more pronounced and I look like a mushroom head with a mullet.

My hair grows so fast, my bangs definitely need to be shorter.

The minute I walked out of the salon I had to pin them back because they were in my eyes. 

Please cut my hair so the back flips out, not under. 

Under makes me the spittin’ image of my mom and is extremely hard to flip out even with the stiffest hair spray and the hottest curling iron.  I aged ten years in ten minutes.

Bad hair is the lowest of the low.  It affects the time it takes to get ready in the morning.  It affects whether we will be crabby or happy when we walk out of the bathroom.  It taints everything we touch or do for the day.

Enter the bad edit.

The one where we start with a vivid picture in our minds of what needs to be done.  Fluff the character, trim the adverbs, smooth the plot holes, dry out unnecessary storylines, brush up the active verbs. 

When we are finished primping, we look in the mirror and…well…we took too much off the top, thinned out our plot, frizzed the characters to something unrecognizable and have a mushroom head with a mullet.  In essence, we have destroyed our manuscripts by being so focused and trying to do too much all at once.

Either that or we’re just crappy hairdressers editors.

I have a manuscript like that.  I took an idea and ran without it.  I regret it bitterly.  So much so that I haven’t even looked at it in two years. 

Have you ever given your manuscript a bad hair cut?  How do you rectify your mistakes?  Is it easier to start over or spend more time primping?

Query Bio Mistakes

While googling my name to see if I ousted famous rodeo star of his search engine slots I ran across an ad for a dating service in my hometown.  On it were three pictures of local singles wanting to hook up with local lurkers lookers.

One pic was of a handsome guy dressed in fancy duds and was likely taken at his BFF’s wedding.  The only problem?  His left side was cut off at the elbow and a feminine arm circled his waist.  Yep, Dating Genius’s pick-up picture had another woman in it.  Barely, but still…

In my writing world, the pick-up picture is our query letter.  It’s our first, and sometimes only, chance we get to land a first date.

We should look good–polished and captivating.  Hot in our tux with our hair styled just right and a crooked grin that makes our whole face light up. 

It’s easy to spiff up our pitch (though some might disagree), and it’s a snap to provide details–42k word,  YA paranormal romance titled You Know You Wanna Read Me.

But sometimes we get tripped up by our bios.  We forget to photo shop our pictures and leave in little details that usually turn off potential dates.

Biography Paragraph Traps 

We’re too handsome for words: My grandmother says it’s the best book she’s ever read.  Ever.  And Granny is the most honest person I know.

We’re drooling like a black lab after pheasant scent: I just wrote the end yesterday and I just know you’ll love it as much as I do, so please read it today and I’ll get back to you tomorrow, oops, that’s me calling now.  TTFN.

We’re Freud’s couch patients: I would be eternally thankful if you would just humble yourself enough to read my lowly book which you probably won’t like anyway because it’s been rejected by every other agent in the world.  But here it is.  If you’re still interested.

We have bigger egos than Arnold Schwarzenegger has biceps: Listen here, Mr. Agent, this is the best book you will ever read.  If you pass on it, you’re missing out on millions.  Millions, I say.  And I won’t be back.

We put the proverbial sock in our trousers so we look better than we actually are: My poem, Willy the Worm, was published in our fourth grade keepsake book from Mrs. Robbins.  I also wrote a letter to the editor of our local farm newspaper about the gestation period of elephants.  Please consider my murder mystery which has no poetry, worms or elephants in it.

We have the Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon Syndrome: My best friend’s, cousin’s, uncle’s dog was trained at the same facility as the dog owned by the next door neighbor of Suzanne Collins’ pool boy.  (Not that Suzanne even has a pool boy, but if she did, how cool would that be?  For me, not the agent.)

We’re hopelessly all brawn and no brain: Dude, call me.

We could play the leading role in a Stephen King movie: I noticed by the book on your nightstand that you like middle grade fiction.  And since your bathroom had an African theme, I can only assume that you will love my book which is set in the Serengeti.  Oh yeah, and all those old pictures in the photo albums beside your 60″ tv, the ones with your great grandma beside the horse?  Yeah, my novel has an old lady in it too.  And might I add that you looked hot at your sweet sixteen?  Anyway, for your convenience, I left my entire manuscript on your kitchen counter beside the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls (your favorite) and a pot of hazelnut coffee.  PS. I locked the door on my way out.

My advice to you is this: introduce yourself, simply and honestly with relevant information only

I’m an SCBWI member.  My article, “Into the Wild” was published in Boy’s Life (July 2010).  For the past seventeen years I have worked as a guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Each summer we take at-risk kids on a two-week trip where they can learn life skills and gain self-esteem.  These experiences are the basis for my adventure novel, Tales of a Teenage Screw Up. 

I look forward to hearing from you,

Bob Good Bio 

What other bad bio mistakes can writers fall victim to?  If you’re brave enough to answer, have you every made any of the above?  I have! 

On a BlogRoll: do you have what it takes?

The other day–in my spare time–I trolled my blogroll and commented on the blogs I follow.  As I continued down my list, it struck me that many of the bloggers are inactive or mildly active.  Some blogs have changed focus or been deleted altogether.

Besides being a product of the normal summer slump, I think part of the blogging blues stems from the message that writers must have a platform and a presence to do well in the sales department.  Years before our manuscripts are ever considered for publication we scramble around trying to garner a large following of potential book buyers–whether we want to or not.

We hop on the blogwagon, completely unprepared for the time and effort it takes to maintain a web presence of this magnitude.  Instead, we simply hear the message and, in one knee-jerk moment, we contribute our words to the ever-growing cyber monster, only to let them peter out when we realize what, exactly, blogging entails. 

Blogging has a personality of its own.  It is hard work.  It requires vigilance and demands a certain stamina.  Nobody tells us this before we sign up for Blogger or WordPress.  Nobody has a ready-made quiz to determine our blogability quotient.  In fact, the only handbook out there is a hodgepodge of words written by bloggers themselves. 

No wonder so many writers start a blog only to have it die an uncertain and painful death.

And so I bring you the dubious, most unscientific-est and completely unreliable blogability quiz: Do you have what it takes?

  1. Do you have more time on your hands than the lazy grasshopper?  IE, can you spare the hours it takes to blog and comment on other’s blogs?
  2. Are you more organized than a garden ant?   IE, can you balance your writing life and your real life without having your tunnels crumble?
  3. Are you more prolific than a rabbit?  Can you provide new and unique posts as  frequently as Mama rabbit populates the garden with offspring?
  4. Are you as regular as the sun rise each day?  Can you stick to a blogging schedule without fail, even if you’d like to sleep in for a change or hide behind the cloud cover for a day?
  5. Are you devoted to your blog like a mama bird is to her fledglings?  Will you feed it, nurture it and help it grow even through the worst storm?  Hail?  Rain?  Tornado?  Earthquake?  Life?
  6. Are you more social than a dolphin?  Can you cultivate and maintain relationships by hanging with other bloggers at their pad?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you may need to rethink your blogability quotient.  Still uncertain?  Answer the next two questions.

  1. Are you a caterpillar, dreaming of the day you change into a beautiful blogging butterfly, but doing nothing about it besides eating all the chocolate in the house?
  2. Do you have the attention span of a gnat with ADHD, zooming from one idea to the next to the next to the next…?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you undoubtedly should not start a blog.

All joking aside, what difficulties have you faced in starting or maintaining your blog?  What tips do you have to encourage longevity on the blogroll?  And by this I don’t mean how do you get a large following.  I mean how do you physically and emotionally manage the task?

To all the bloggers out there–active, inactive or newbies–I wish you the best as you navigate the ins and outs of blogging.