Arguing With A Brick Wall

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this bright and beautiful day? It’s that time of year where all of the doctor check ups/appointments seem to pop up together. Dad and I had the one with our PCP last week, he has one with a shoulder specialist this week, I have a dentist appointment that I’ve been putting off since the pandemic began next week, at the end of the month I see the pulmonologist, then early next month we both have at least one more appointment. Anyway, it has me thinking about masks and how people refuse to wear them. It’s annoying. It’s idiotic. It’s just people being assholes. And I’ve already ranted about it before, but I guess I’ll do it again.

I laughed.

Despite what people say, there’s no reason not to wear a mask. Other countries have been wearing face masks for years. In Japan, it started about 150 years ago as a way for miners to cut back on inhaling dust. In 1918 they became more popular to help stop the spread of influenza. And from there it’s just become a normal part of life. It’s common courtesy to wear a mask, especially when sick, so you don’t spread your germs. Yes, having to wear it every time you go somewhere can be annoying if you’re not used to it, but that’s no reason to flip out about it. So, why are Americans so opposed to the little piece of cloth? It’s ridiculous.

I even got bored enough that when a friend made a snide comment on another friend’s Facebook post, I engaged in a stupid argument that ended up being about how masks are bad for kids, physically and mentally. I asked for sources. He sent three articles and a YouTube video. I didn’t watch the video (I had stuff to do and I prefer to read), but I did go through the articles. The first one quoted a study, but the study they link to is for something completely different and doesn’t mention the quote at all. The second article made claims without research to back it up (the research papers it did reference weren’t horrible, but left a lot of questions open), didn’t mention that solutions have been found for many of the issues, and was obviously skewed in what it mentioned or neglected to mention. The third article wasn’t even relevant since the study it was based on has been formally retracted due to questionable methodology. It took me a few clicks and some light reading to see how many holes these articles were full of. I didn’t even have to Google anything. I just followed their own links. Why don’t other people do that? It’s not usually hard, unless the sources and effort put into the article are legitimate. If everything is legit, it’s much harder to find flaws. And yet people still insist on using this stuff as “facts.” Just stop.

Yeah, I know. It’s all a conspiracy by the Left to control people. Right? Just like pants and shirts and shoes and every other item of clothing. That’s all masks are. New clothing. Why don’t you run around naked if you’re so against a piece of clothing? It’d be more entertaining than hearing another rant about civil liberties. Or is it because you don’t believe in Covid? I guess people are just dropping dead for no reason. Seriously. I don’t understand people. And it’s like arguing with a brick wall. Non-maskers are fucking idiots and that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

I’ll try not to go off on a rant next week. Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages as usual, but I will be monitoring any arguments and intervene if things devolve too far into chaos.

The Agent Hunt Begins

Hello, hello! How is everyone’s May going? Are you still staying at home? Is your area opening back up? North Texas is opening new stuff every week or so, but Dallas county alone is still gaining around 250 new cases every day. Needless to say, Dad and I are staying home for the foreseeable future. What does that mean for my productivity? Nothing. I’ve been pretty lazy the last couple of weeks. I know what I should be doing, but I can’t find the motivation. At least I couldn’t find it until I got an email on Monday informing my that the next PitDark is on the 21st. That means I have about a week to get my shit together and get ready to start my agent hunt. What does that entail? Panic. And some other stuff I’ll ramble about right now.

PitDark-May-October
Borrowed the image from the site listed on it. Click here for the link.

First, if you’re not familiar with Twitter pitch sessions (and you haven’t clicked the link under the picture), you’re probably wondering what PitDark is. It’s a chance for writers of horror/dark fantasy/murder mysteries/anything on the darker side to pitch completed manuscripts to participating agents and publishers. Anything from middle grade to adult is welcome. Basically, you post a Tweet-length pitch with all of the appropriate hashtags (see the website above for that info) up to once an hour per manuscript from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern time) on May 21st and if an agent or publisher hits the little heart button, it’s an invitation to query them if you want to.

Luckily, I’ve finished my revisions of DS1 and also completed a round of edits for consistency and grammar and typos. I’ve just been trying to convince myself to prepare everything I’ll need in order to query agents. What does that include? Most importantly, a query letter that contains a blurb about the book to hook the agent (basically like what you find on the back of books to let you know what they’re about), a brief summary of my publication history, anything unique about me that informs my writing of this particular book, and a brief introduction reminding them if we’ve met or why we might work well together just to show I’ve done my research. Sometimes, that letter and the first few pages (or chapters) of the book are all you need. But some agents also require a synopsis. There’s the standard 1-2 page synopsis that introduces everything, but doesn’t necessarily spoil the ending. Most of the time, that’s enough. However, there’s also the 3-5 page synopsis that gives away everything. Some agents ask for that or both types of synopses. In other words, I have to write all of these things PLUS a Tweet-length pitch if I want to participate in PitDark and be ready to submit to someone if they like my pitch.

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And that’s not all. I also need to research agents. This I can do as I go along or after PitDark is over in the event that I don’t get a bite. The list of participating agents on the PitDark website is a good place for me to start. I can look at their preferences and see if we might be a good fit, then query them if they’re accepting unsolicited queries. I can also look at other agents within the bigger agencies to see if I can find a better fit. Some agencies have the policy that a no from one agent is a no from them all. Other agencies allow you to query multiple agents (one at a time of course). So, it’s good to find agents who are looking for work similar to your own instead of randomly querying everyone. I have a list of 101 agents from when I queried for G&G, but most of them wouldn’t be interested in DS1. However, I can use my list as another starting point because I listed the agencies they were with as well, so I can look at other agents in each agency. Otherwise, there’s always Google and checking to see who reps authors of similar works and a million other sources it would take too long to list.

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Anyway, my next few days will consist of writing a query letter and two synopses. If you notice my Twitter feed spammed with hourly pitches on the 21st, now you’ll know why. I’m not crazy, I’m just searching for an agent. As always, feel free to post your thoughts or comments or advice or good vibes or whatever here or on my social media pages!