Query Quagmire

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THE ULTIMATE LIST OF WRITING RULES FOR WRITERS

  1. Never, ever, EVER kill the dog.
  2. Meetings in coffee shops are to be avoided at all costs. Exceptions: Clandestine meetings between government spies of opposite genders when said clandestine meeting simply cannot take place in a laundromat.
  3. Wizarding school is so over. Direct all inquiries to Ms. Rowling and Ms. Le Guin, respectively.
  4. Tragic romances are to be suitably tragic. If you are in doubt of the tragedy of your romance, measure it on a scale of “Twilight” to “Othello.”
  5. Star-crossed lovers are to be suitably star-crossed. One of them being stupid does not count.
  6. No capes.
  7. All re-imagined fairy tales must come with written permission from the rest of the reading population of the world, who are sick of them.
  8. Text messages do not exist.
  9. All teenage protagonists must be wiser than their years.
  10. There is only one Jack Kerouac. All impostors will be shot.
  11. Tragically hip characters will also be shot.
  12. Characters who reinforce harmful gender stereotypes will be slapped, lectured, then shot.
  13. Dream sequences are to be avoided at all costs.
  14. Conflicts based on misunderstandings are to be drawn out as long as possible. Any character who attempts to ask logical questions or explain the situation in a rational manner will be removed from the scene for optimum reader frustration.
  15. At least one of the following words MUST be used at least once to qualify for the romance genre: QUIVERING, PANTING, THRUSTING, GASPING, STROKING, HEAVING, or BULGING.
  16. Men from the British Isles are uniformly hideous and repugnant, except when they are the romantic interest.
  17. All fantasy book characters must be uniformly lily-white because that’s how Tolkien did it, duh.
  18. There are an infinite number of variations of the vampire myth. Fucking. INFINITE.
  19. Werewolves: See above.
  20. The default for all marriages is troubled-and-on-the-verge-of-combustion unless otherwise specified.
  21. The world is entirely populated by only children of single parents.
  22. All agoraphobic introverts must come with a feline familiar.
  23. The zombie apocalypse needs to die. It will be a mercy killing.
  24. Only one Magical Black Person (TM) or Wise Asian Master (TM) per book. See “The Stand”, “The Green Mile”, or most recently “The Passage.”
  25. Acceptable character flaws in a protagonist are limited to: tone-deafness, a dislike of horses, clumsiness, a facial scar or birth mark that isn’t actually disfiguring but makes said protagonist slightly self-conscious, growing up before one’s time, an inability to hide one’s emotions, shortness, self-perceived plainness of appearance, trust issues, internal scars left by a member of the opposite sex, unruly hair, indecisiveness in love, and short-lived naivety.

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