Friday Feast: Queries, Failure, Writing, Stories That Last, and Massholes

mac-and-cheese‘Masshole’ is now officially a word, not just the word I yell at the drivers who nearly run me over in the crosswalk. Much like being a pedestrian in Boston, the publishing path is full of hazards, even when you follow all the rules and advice.

This week, antidotes to all that bookish danger.



  • There are a lot of posts out there on the interwebs about how to write a query letter. Here’s another one, but with a little tough love to go with the practical advice, such as “…maybe the book [you’ve] worked on for so long is simply not a viable manuscript from a business standpoint. Writing is an art, publishing is a business, and sometimes your book just doesn’t encompass both.”
  • Rethinking rejection and failure: Failure is Not the Opposite of Success.
  • But, sometimes, you gotta let it burn! The Joy of Throwing Away An Entire Novel.
  • You know what helps? Writing. It’s the antidote to your publishing woes.
  • Neil Gaiman on how stories last: “The magic of escapist fiction,” Gaiman said, “is that it can offer you escape from an otherwise intolerable situation, and it can furnish you with armor, knowledge, weapons, and other tools you can take back into your life to make it better.”
  • As noted above: because we are located in Boston, we had to alert everyone that ‘Masshole’ is now included in the Oxford English Dictionary. (ed. note: “Masshole” is most commonly used to describe Massachusetts drivers: they cut you off in traffic, they scream epithets for no good reason, and they are a real hazard to pedestrians — even in crosswalks when you have the Walk man. In summary, they suck.)

Masshole (n., 1989): term of contempt for a native or inhabitant of the state of Massachusetts. This is what is known as a blended word, which Lewis Carroll called portmanteaus, naming them after a suitcase that unfolds into two equal parts.

1 comment

  1. Lisa Birk

    Hear, hear Neil Gaiman! When you’re a kid and stuck in some tough situation and can’t get out until you’re of age, books can pretty much save your life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *