Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maybe about queries, maybe not

I've sent off maybe 10 queries to agents and publishers combined, and have no feedback on the actual query letter from a publisher, and the agents have all responded negative to respresentation, but also made no comment about the content of the queries. Most agents wished me luck in finding an agent, if they took time to prepare a separate response. One returned the letter with a terse "Thanks, will pass," handwritten in the upper right corner, and after the passing of some time, I don't blame him for not wanting to do the job. I've since broken up that long novel into two others, using only the last two parts of it and sent them off to different publishers, receiving a notice of rejection from each. But I'm not discouraged in the least, since I'm just getting underway. In any event, the publishers seem to have a more lenient attitude about the queries than the few agents I've queried. Most of them have responded with encouragement, at least that's what it appears to be in my estimation, and since it's not outright nasty rejection, I'll keep trying. Don't sweat the small stuff!

By the way, does anyone know what they mean by small stuff? In the Navy, it's any cordage that is small stuff, being designated as either by the number of threads that it contains such as "12-thread stuff," "15 thread-stuff," or as "ratline stuff," "seizing stuff" or "marline." 15-thread is 1-and-a-quarter-inch diameter and a 21-thread is one-and-half-inch diameter but not classed as small stuff. So about anything under one-and-a-half inches is small stuff. So now you know. That's why I always think of rope when they say don't sweat the small stuff. I copied the definition from the Bluejackets' Manual, which was first published in 1938. Everybody knew what small stuff was up until 1938, I guess, but after that, they thought they better explain it in a book for the succeeding generations. And it's a good thing they did, because World War II was on the horizon with all the new draftees, young-age kids, and illiterates that were put on ships and other equipment. But once you see it, you know if it's small stuff, especially compared to a 6-inch hawser.

So, most of the "ropes" that were used in the West are generally "small stuff," although I did see a play one time where they had a small dog, mixed breed, of course, being pulled across the stage with a 3-inch hawser, a western comedy. PETA would probably raise hell about it now. If they ever get their hands around ranching or farming, they might find something to complain about and take off their clothes and walk around naked, giving the cowboys a good show and a good laugh. "Lookee thair, they ain't got any clothes on! Wowee, ain' that somethin'? Bare nekkid! Why, I ain't never seen the likes of this! Get a load of the fat one, there, carryin' that big sign! What does it say? Whoo-ee! Keep momma in the house!"

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