• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Joining the World of Missing Persons and She Was

Betsy:
Thank you for your wonderful blog.
I hope this question doesn’t seem too trivial. On the matter of sending a snail mail query letter: Does it make any difference if the letterhead is professionally printed (e.g., from Office Depot) or does it suffice to go with 24-lb stock and your own laser printer? Will that matter to an agent?
Again thank you.

Dear Kind Person: No question is too trivial, especially after a day like today.* The more trivial the better. Anyway, you don’t need professionally printed letterhead. In fact, you don’t need letterhead at all. In fact, you don’t need paper. Most agents accept email queries. If you still want to send snail mail, just format your letter as you would a business letter. Letterhead always looks a little too, um, self-important. Worse is when the letterhead comes with a little illustration of a pen, for example, or a typewriter, or some mind/body symbol that encourages one to break free. I hope that answers your question. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Remember the “pounds or pages” challenge? Well, I just had my first writing session with my boot camp coach. I gave him an assignment to write three pages on something that relates to his story. He did a great job (far better job than I am doing shedding weight), and it was very pleasurable to be in a teaching mode. To talk about basics such as tense, pov, pacing, conflict and tension. I liked slipping my agent skin, not thinking about whether something was saleable, or fighting over an e-book royalty, or chasing a royalty statement, or rejecting a project that has so much going for it, but you just don’t feel it.

How are you all doing? I think we said thirty pages or ten pounds by April 1. If you’re not going to make your goal, adjust it. As my trainer says, a 70% success rate is a very good outcome.

11 Responses

  1. Had not read about your challenge. Sounds like a goal to me. No reason not get cracking on my memoir and produce the thirty pages by April 1st. Thanks for the motivation; I’ve been stuck ever since my sister said she might never speak to me again if I wrote about our childhood. Sigh.

  2. It’s so nice of you to help this guy. Does he know how lucky he is? But he should not cut you any slack with the push-ups.

  3. So far for the pages and pounds challenge, I’ve written @9,000 words and have lost @4 lbs. (My goal: 30,000 words and 10 lbs by April 1st). I might get there…though losing the lbs is harder than writing the pages…

  4. I’m being a bit dodgy and naughty…but I did get on the treadmill today and did 2 miles. I hated every second.
    And then I ate some Doritos.
    I am not using a trainer, but perhaps tomorrow I will try to imagine that David Bekham is training me. (or his skinny ass wife.)
    I saw sunshine today, and it hit 47 degrees, downright balmy. It actually didn’t snow. A festivus miracle.
    Which, of course means…*gulp*…almost time for shorts.

    I did make a vow to you and the world on this very blog, so I’ll stop being so naughty with the sweet treats and chips. I’ll nut up and shut up. 3 miles tomorrow.

    Thanks for the wake-up call.

  5. Broken ribs.

    Thought it would be a problem only for the exercising but turns out, the pain makes it an issue for the writing too.

    I’ve gained two pounds, lost four pounds, gained four pounds, lost one pound. Somebody else do the math.

    6.000 words, good pages, done. I’m lowering my standards, stopping the drugs (maybe, sometime, next week? gradually), and writing the rest of what I owe. The weight, no promises.

  6. I’m rewriting a novel. Pages and word counts are blurred because of massive deletions and the rewrites. I think I’m breaking even but have lots of new words.

  7. With the help of Alan Rinzler, I’m starting the fourth draft of my novel. I’m working on a new outline, then it’s go, baby, go!

  8. I’m a man. I don’t get fatter, just more substantial.

    Though I’m currently sweating off the pounds waiting for a response from Grand Central. And addressing editorial concerns such as, ‘Why is there a fingerpainting on the grandmother’s fridge door? What is a fingerpainting? A painting of fingers?”

  9. Oh Betsy, I did work out today…BUT, I just consumed a Shamrock Shake.
    And a happy meal.
    I need to get the eating under control.

    (Substantial. I like that.)

    On the upside, I’ve been in a great writing zone for weeks.
    But it leads to me eating fast food being shoved under my cave door.

  10. one short story per month. daily (5 times/week) exercise on treadmill. feeling healthy. dunno about weight but my clothes feel okay.

  11. Do you listen to audiobooks while doing cardio (treadmills, etc)? It’s the only thing that keeps me from running off the thing. Maybe you should request queries in audio–oh, but maybe too many are anything but motivating and energizing.

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