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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hooked, by Les Edgerton

My home computer has been having a series of technical difficulties. We had to hire a registered Geek to come and fix it but even he can't find the problem. So I am posting this from work as a means of last resort.

We're closing in on the problem so hopefully it will be fixed soon. Either that, or I see a new pc on my horizon. Oh, please, lord, noooooo! I'd rather have my fingernails ripped out than load a new pc with all my old programs. It's the kind of thing that makes me stress out and birth alien kittens.

I am back from the Austin conference and I'll start a series on what I learned in the coming days. For now, I want to recommend a book I found while I was there. Normally, I don't recommend writing books. I've found most of them to be rather dull rehashes of things we should have learned in grade school. But this book captured my attention so much that I hung onto it in my sweaty little hands and waited for the person manning the booth to return. It was the only copy there.

It's called HOOKED, by Les Edgerton. It's a brand new book, published this year. At first glance you might think it was just about hooks, but it's far more than that. Edgerton goes into back story, description, character, economy of language, red flags to avoid and even agents' feedback. I'm only halfway through it and I can't wait to start reading it again. I am finding real gems of advice all throughout the book.

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I actually took out my highlighter and sticky notes and have been writing inside the book. I NEVER mark up books. This is how useful I found this particular little bible.

The information is plainspeak common sense and easy to absorb. It gave me that hit-in-the-head: "Duh! Why didn't I see that?" reaction.

So from a hard-to-impress writing pupil, this is a book I intend to refer to a lot.

We were serenaded with tornado sirens the other night. My area came out of it unscathed, but folks north of us got hit with flash floods. Sadly, quite a few people died in those storms. We were lucky this time.

News Tidbits: I pitched to a couple of agents at the conference and was asked for partials both times.

Melissa O'Neal, one of my peers from my local group won the League's contest for narrative nonfiction, a humorous narrative about a Victorian home. I sat with Melissa during our luncheon and found her to be just as engaging and funny in person.

Nutshell observation: The weather was rotten, the traffic was oppressive and even the conference itself was too big for the hotel. They really need a bigger place. There seemed to be fewer panels this year, but the agent list was larger and more prestigious than what most conferences offer.

At my stage of the game I may not go to next year's conference. It will depend on what forums they offer and whether I have an agent by then or not.

Tomorrow (if my pc is fixed): Conference Notes


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, Maria. I ordered the book.


Maria Zannini said...

I think what appealed to me most was that he explained why something did or did not work.

Let me know how you like it.