A flash of light burns around the edges of Stan’s peripheral as he runs toward the nights black lit emptiness. Don’t look back, don’t look back he tells himself, but the overwhelming feeling of anticipation and regret, strangle the reason from him, and he turns. Stan sees a large being floating in the air with a sword glowing as bright as the sun itself; winged and blazing, he looks upon the last sight his eyes will behold as he turns to a pillar of salt.
The first book in my new series, The Key Masters Chronicles, is currently being edited, so, in the meantime, I have been looking for an agent. Well, the other day, I tweeted a question to a few of my friends, some of whom you may know, Kevin Hearne, Jay wells, Delilah Dawson, all authors of really great books. The question I asked was: what are the “do’s and don’ts“ of writing a query to an agent. Well, Delilah gave some great advice and Kevin said, “What she said.”
So what did she say, you ask? Well, she said, go to QueryShark. Then read every query. Every single one. Her advice was so emphatic that I felt compelled to see why she was so passionate about this site. Well, let me tell ya, being a software engineer by trade, I often get paid to write in short unconcise sentences. Part of writing code is using combined words to complete an algorithm. This algorithm does not speak in complete sentences, it says things like ‘new Book = MyBook.By.Author’. So it doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. It understands, go get the book by some author, without any description of what the book looks like, or how it got there, and what it wants.
So, you can imagine me trying to write a book, with a history of writing broken English well, let’s just say I am grammatically challenged and have a great deal of respect for picture book fanatics. So back to the point. I went to the site, it was not so much visually appealing as it was informative. I will say that, after searching the internet for some concrete answers to what you should and shouldn’t do when writing an agent query, I found that QueryShark not only informs you of both, but it gives you real life query submission examples, with the agents Critiques. So you know those commercials where their heads explode with amazement. Well, mine sort of did that.
As some have said, and I will say as well, it is an absolutely wonderful tool to have in your literary quiver. It gives you, a sort of, behind the scenes look at what works and what doesn’t. It’s awesome, and I am so grateful to have been informed of its existence. Thank you, Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne.
So, after reading every single one of the posted submission queries, I noticed that there was a separate site for the actual agent. So naturally I wanted to tweet her and say thank you. Well, Janet Reid Literary Agent had her own Agent site. So, I went to her site and what do I see on the cover page posted mere minutes from my discovering it? A post about a flash fiction contest.
Okay, so if you don’t know what a flash fiction contest is, it’s a contest that gives you a subject, a group of words, or a sentence and then you have to write a certain word-count, in a short period of time to complete it. Well, this particular flash fiction contest gave us five words to work with: scat, bop, diddy, cool, snap. We had one day to write the best 100 words we could, using those words or words that contained those words. It was a blast!
There is something about creating something from very little that gives the soul joy. We embrace the new with curiosity and wonder. I was completely taken aback at the ability to create such a depth of character with very few words. An emotion and a gesture, or the lack thereof, is a painting, which in itself speaks thousands of words. So without any further adieu, I bring you Chanzt the snap-scat kid from Brooklyn.
Diddy, Tennessee’s best scat master, had beaten Chantz, a snap-bop scat kid from Brooklyn, three years running. Diddy was up, his air of cool unconcerned confidence a clear message to the competition. Stirring the crowd into roars of applause, Diddy’s scat filled the stages speakers with his signature diddy-do-da-bop. It was over. How was he going to top that? They called his name, Chantz, stepping onto the stage, he looked out at the crowd. The mic in his hand, the beat in his ears, he scatted magic, and Tennessee had a new scat-master.
So there you have in it; not the best short fiction I’ve ever written, but a fun one none-the-less. I did not make it into consideration because, the word ‘diddy’ is not the word ‘ditty’ and even though I used it as the name of a character, I still implied it, allegorically speaking. Alas, you can’t win them all. If you have never done flash fiction, try it. See what your imagination has to offer you, and let your imagination take you somewhere new.
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