From the Editor:
The Nutshell Stuff
By Lazette Gifford
Copyright © 2009 by Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved
We're coming close to the
middle of the year. My goal -- stated in the first Editor's Note
in the January/February issue -- had been to write, edit and submit.
I have, as usual, done well on the first two. I am doing somewhat
better on the last -- three submissions (or sorts) to agents, which is a
first for me. Two of them were for the Knight Agency's Novel in
a Nutshell contest. I have to admit, that was just the kind of
fun I enjoy. The contest was to write a novel description of no more
than 150 words and three sentences. The three sentences was
the tough part. It meant a lot of creative punctuation.
I ended up with two entries.
I do not expect either to be among the twenty winners, but it was a
great exercise for me. It made me look far closer at how to
describe something for a query letter than I ever had before.
Here is the one for Kat
Among the Pigeons:
Katlyn is a member of the fae clan
that guards the line between human and magical lands, a secret she
has trouble hiding from her new human boyfriend even before she
unexpectedly finds the fate of the world in her hands. She isn't
magically strong (and unlike other fae who comprehend all animals,
she only understands birds and cats -- not a good combination), but
when she isn't able to reach other fae, she must deal with things
that shouldn't be on this side, including trolls, ghostly horsemen
and a phantom city pushing into the human world.
With nowhere else to turn for help, Kat and her boyfriend
frantically fight the enemy with the aid of a lazy tom cat, an
African gray parrot that only speaks in verse, and a wise-cracking
cockatiel with a bad attitude ... and she's trying very hard not to
think the world is doomed.
And this one is for Glory:
In a future where humans cling
tenaciously to the threads of civilization, a murderous,
shape-shifting creature from Egyptian myth builds sacrificial
circles so he can bring more of his kind through to rule the world.
Discovery of the circles brings Earth Security Investigations Agent
Gloryanna Del Mar rushing back to the small Tennessee town where she
first formed a clandestine bond with the Goddess Isis -- and where
she also lost her husband in an accident involving Egyptian magic.
With the dangerous convergence of the Egyptian New Year only days
away, Glory prepares to secretly use her magic to battle the
creature, but experiences a new complication when another ESI agent
arrives -- though she soon learns that the handsome and enigmatic
Talis Ford has his own unusual abilities which may help save the
world, if she can keep him out of the hands of enemies who want his
Working on these was really quite fun, and
unexpectedly taught me about how to make query words count. They
are not perfect, but they were fun and they turned to be a great
Which is my way of saying that you never know when
and where you are going to learn something new about writing. In a
case like this, it would not have hurt to do the work of the contest,
even if you did not intend to enter. Be on the lookout for things
like this -- short, fun little exercises that can help you hone your
work. You never know what is going to help!