Thursday, 19 February 2009

MISS SNARK

What's there to say? New York literary agent and genuine legend in her own lifetime, Miss Snark left us the richest treasure trove of wit, wisdom and hard-assed advice about the business of pitching agents available in cyberland. Nearly 3 million hits on her blog.

Go there, trawl those precious archives, and wonder at the spirit which fostered such remarkable generosity.

Famed equally for her prodigious capacity for work (see the Crap-o-meter files) and her coruscating, razor sharp wit, Miss Snark became every would-be writer's most honest best friend -- unafraid to tell you you had bad breath just seconds before your big date, and always first to offer her mouth spray and a big splash of Bombay gin.

Dressed in stilletoes, armed with only a clue-gun, and accompanied with her faithful poodle sidekick, Killer Yapp, Miss Snark took on the rabid battalions of Newbieland and won -- converting the heathen, ignorant mass into devoted Snarklings, and better hook and query letter writers to boot.

Though I never submitted stuff to the crap-o-meter I'm proud to say I was snarked twice, and parried a little with her in a comments trail, and survived, stronger for the experience. She also sent me an e-mail thanking me for asking an intelligent question. Where did she get the time? *

Newbie writers were invited to go at her with any stupid question they wanted ("Which scent should I use to perfume my lilac coloured, embossed, curly fonted, letterheaded notepaper when I send my query to William Morrow?") and she would come back at 'em, clue-gun blazing, pumping out precious silver bullets. ("Givenchy? That's so last season. Go for a classic, try 4711.")

What a deliciously entertaining roller-coaster ride it was.

The blog spawned the Crapometer critique site, which is surprisingly still extant, and gave the Evil Editor blog a big heft at its inception.

At times as acerbic as Dorothy Parker, though with more poise and purpose, Miss Snark always found a way to soften the blows she rained down on the clueless, the nitwits and ninkompoops. Tough love indeed.

Though it did get a tad psycho-sycophantic toward the end, it was always fun to hang out in her company every single working day. I too hearted Miss Snark.

Alas, no more, we are left to ponder a great mystery:

Why has she not done the deals for the book, the movie, and the memorabilia?

What about yourself? Were you a Snarkling? Did you submit your work to the crap-o-meter? Please share.

*A: On Rabbitania there are 48 hours in every day and 10 days in every week.

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