by Terri Wagner
Our east/south US cyber group has been meeting for a while now. When I was president, I worried so much about how many would show up, would the lesson fly, would the assignees show up, would it be worth while that I never really got to "listen" to the lesson. One time me and a "new" member spent the hour just chatting with each other. Me, worried that she would never consider coming back.
Now I'm just the secretary. But that's a big "just." Now I have to "record" the meeting for the group. That means I listen really listen to the lesson. I pay attention. I sense where the group is going next. I read over (and over and over) the last comments, see where the group chased a rabbit or came back to the object lesson.
I LOVE it. I finally get the chance to learn things I need to know. Last month's lesson was terrific. It addressed query letters. Twenty-three words to hook an editor. Only 23! Our attempts were both hysterical and instructional. The lesson also recommended around 64 words for the overall description.
I have become a product of the cyber/sound bite generation. Hit me in 23 words or less and you got me. Take your time, I'm outta there.
When I checked out articles for publication, I always raced through the article first to see if there was interest, instruction or information. Once quick glance through would tell me what I needed to know. I could always take an article and decide later not to publish, but that first glance was all an author got. And that was non fiction.
It's a sound bite world and as writers we are going to have to accept that and use it to our advantage.