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December 16, 2002

Hey Peter, I can see your house from here
Posted by Teresa at 07:17 AM *

How did I miss seeing this page when it first went up? Ernest Lilley has posted pictures of the place where I work. The big mystery: How did he get Publicity to do that?

Comments on Hey Peter, I can see your house from here:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 08:28 AM:

No mystery; he told them that there'd be good publicity.

#2 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 10:43 AM:

I think he missed a bet by not taking a photo out Tom's window. One of the best views in New York.

#3 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 11:26 AM:

Still a great building. And now that I finally saw the boring, flat side, I stand by my assertion that one of the best examples of Chicago School architecture is in New York. Of course, since it's a Daniel Burnham building, this isn't surprising. (This also explains the lack of the three-light "Chicago" windows -- Burnham didn't use them often -- though the bay windows on the flat side are very close to the design.)

#4 ::: Myke ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 12:28 PM:

Good lord. Look at all that slush!

#5 ::: Charles Odell ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 01:10 PM:

Ah! Finally one of my little curiosities in life is satisfied -- so that's what a corner office in
the Flatiron building looks like from the inside.

#6 ::: Holly Messinger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 03:57 PM:

Dear Lord. You always hear stories about slush piles but SEEING it... Teresa, you should link this to that website about squallor. Better yet, carry around photos of this to hand out to neowriters at Cons: "THIS is why we haven't responded to your query yet...."

#7 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 05:11 PM:

I likw the photo idea. You'd need to arrange the slush into a wall-like pile, with the top of Fred's head just sort of peeking out over it.

#8 ::: Bill Peschel ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 06:54 PM:

Seeing the slush is bad enough, but reading it!


Someday, I've got to post that page of slushy sentences published in an '80s edition of the National Lampoon. Makes Grisham, Clancy, et al read like John Updike.

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 07:02 PM:

Guys, you don't understand. That's what Tor looks like after a slush kill. I was kinda wondering where all the slush had been put to get it out of sight.

#10 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 07:41 PM:

Jim, I was wondering, because the pile didn't look as big as I'd imagined.

#11 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2002, 08:18 AM:


How long does that pile take to turn over? Or do you just fluff it with a pitchfork every week or so? And can you grow tomatoes in it? (I know where to find a yummy tomato-salad recipe.)

So you could just write the outline and first three chapters, and have time to finish the novel before anyone even had a chance to look at it, much less evaluate it? (I wouldn't have the guts to do this. I'd have to write the whole thing, then outline it. But even this is speculative, since I have yet to write anything longer than a short story.)

#12 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2002, 01:09 PM:

Those slush piles are ominous and looming. You all look like characters sitting around waiting for a Stephen King story to start.

#13 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2002, 07:54 PM:

Wow, the Flatiron. My favorite building in New York.

#14 ::: Holly Messinger ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2002, 12:29 PM:

Christopher, re: submitting sample chapters while you finish a book...

When I went back to finish college at the ripe age of 26, I had a writing prof who was a freelance journalist and in most respects a very knowledgable and intelligent woman. For our senior projects we had to research and write a piece of our choice: fiction, editorial, grant proposal, etc. All of this was fine with me, I had a novel idea sitting around waiting to be useful, but the catch was, to complete the project, Prof. M. expected us to find a suitable market and submit the work.

Now, I had written three novels by the time I was 25 and I knew a bit about the publishing world, and I tried to convince the Prof that submitting a partial novel by an unknown writer simply wasn't done. She insisted that it was called a "proposal," and ignored me when I told her that the nonfiction market was different from fiction.

In the end, I chose the smallest micro-press I could find, a Pacific Northwest women's interest imprint of a slightly larger British publisher. A couple of weeks after I sent the package, I received back a letter explaining that the British publisher had gone bankrupt and taken several of its satellite investment companies with it. There was apparently a large lawsuit pending for misrepresentation of assets.

Needless to say I didn't get accepted for publication, which is just as well, because after that I didn't feel like finishing the book. I got an A in the course, though.

Next time, I'll tell you how my writing killed agent James Allen.

#15 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2002, 02:14 PM:

Holly, I wasn't proposing to let TOR know I wasn't finished with the book! My point was, how would they know? I'd be done by the time they saw the submission!

Lame, perhaps. Well, OK, definitely lame.

I eagerly await your agent-killing story.

#16 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2002, 02:16 PM:

Wait, were you saying you have to submit complete novels in the first place? I thought Teresa had said not, some time back...that people WANT to ("but the first three chapters aren't the best ones!") but that it isn't allowed or something.

#17 ::: Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2002, 06:36 AM:

If the first three chapters aren't the best-- rewrite them. That's how you hook your audience (and the editor.) Most editors read slush this way: a paragraph. If it catches the attention, another paragraph. If that works, the entire page. If that works, the mss is set it aside for a real reading.

Three chapters will tell any competant editor whether they want to read the whole damned thing. Hell--a page will usually let them know.

And I adore the Tor offices in person. The pictures capture the clutter and the personal joie--but you really are missing the feeling of Spaceship Doherty. It's that long sweep to the windows in Tom's office I miss.


#18 ::: Holly Messinger ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2002, 11:58 AM:

Jane's right, a page is usually enough; Lord knows I've read enough opening paragraphs to make me abandon all hope. On the other hand,some writers are perfectly engaging stylewise but can't handle the large-scale structuring of a plot, and only a larger sample of the work will reveal that.

Tor's guidelines ask for the first 3 chapters, but I was always told to let the editor/agent know your work was finished if you're a newbie. Shows staying power or something like that.

As for poor James Allen, my friend Rob was one of his clients for years, and advised me to send him a query letter. I did, and Mr. Allen asked to see some sample chapters. Life and circumstances delayed my mailing them, and when I finally did get to putting my package in the mail, I got a letter back from Virginia Kidd saying that James had passed away in the interim. He had apparently been diagnosed with leukemia shortly before Christmas, went into the hospital and died three weeks later. So of course all my writer friends had to rib me about my writing being so bad it killed the poor man.

It's funny, but it's tragic, too. I know Mr. Allen was active in the publishing world and I know his loss affected a lot of people, professionally and personally.

#19 ::: Vera ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2002, 10:13 PM:

Okay, that slush pile looks way too small. I expected several mountain ranges, but this is just a mini-tor (if you pardon the expression). Phooey!



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