From P&W: Q&A for Four Literary Agents

Poets & Writers published a lengthy interview of four literary agents: Maria Massie, Jim Rutman, Anna Stein and Peter Steinberg.

Poets & Writers published a lengthy interview of four literary agents: Maria Massie, Jim Rutman, Anna Stein and Peter Steinberg. The discussion covers much of what the reader would expect: What grabs their attention (or repels their interest); how writers go about getting an agent; and their view on the state of the publishing industry.

It’s worth reading the entire piece, and here are some things that struck me:

  • “I don’t even read synopses,” said Stein. The other three agreed. They go right to page one of the manuscript.
  • Where do agents find writers? “Not blogs.” Three quarters of discovered writers are from referrals.
  • What could beginners do better? Take chances and not worry so much about a turning in a perfect manuscript. Also, find several friends who can give candid constructive criticism.

Full Moon Lament

I submitted a second short story, a little over 1,000 words, to the writing group.

I submitted a second short story, a little over 1,000 words, to the writing group. This one I’m less satisfied with — in that I’m not sure it has any appeal to anyone other than myself. It’s intended as a tongue-in-cheek twist on the werewolf curse. The problem might be the medium. Perhaps it would come off better as a short short film. At least it’s written and I can move on to something else.

Like getting back to my novel.

Rubbing the Rhubarb

Rhubarb is in season and I saw some gorgeous stalks at the grocery store. Time to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb is in season and I saw some gorgeous stalks at the grocery store. Time to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie. This is the third year I’ve made one of these. The first turned out well. Last year the filling was too runny, though it was tasty. Here is the one I baked last night. Crust presentation is still something I have trouble with. The pie crust and filling recipes are from a Betty Crocker cookbook.

Rhubarb pie fresh from the oven.
Rhubarb pie fresh from the oven.

Update: We finished the pie today, Friday. It came out better than last year. A firm crust with nice texture and filling that had a great blend of sweet and tart.

Punched Cards

A colleague handed me a book that belongs to his father: Automatic Data Processing: Principles and Procedures by Elias Awad. It’s about data management circa 1966.

Book cover: Automatic Data Processing: Principles and Procedures.
Book cover: Automatic Data Processing: Principles and Procedures.

Update: I will continue Coding related posts and articles on my other site.

A colleague handed me a book that belongs to his father: Automatic Data Processing: Principles and Procedures by Elias Awad. It’s about data management circa 1966.

Fascinated, I borrowed the book and made some scans. It begins with an overview of historic data processing like Roman figure counting, Venetian bookkeeping and Pascal’s calculator. The majority of the book describes data theory and the modern methods of programming and processing data. The appendix covers Fortran and COBOL among others.

What interested me the most was the chapters on punched cards — the two leading card types (Hollerith/IBM and Powers/Remington Rand), how they’re written, read, sorted and duplicated. I can imagine the game of 52-card pickup was not considered very fun in those days.

Awad provides illustrations and photographs such as those below.

An example of a punched card.
An example of a punched card.
A photograph of an IBM control drum.
A photograph of an IBM control drum.
A photograph of a Univac optical scanning punch.
A photograph of a Univac optical scanning punch.
Portion of a COBOL program sheet.
Portion of a COBOL program sheet.