thank you for informing the world is not ending

Thank you to the people who have chosen to end their participation in animal exploitation. Thank you to the vegans with a low income who are an example to others and show that it is possible to eat and let other beings live. To the vegans with medical conditions, who struggle, but still choose not to contribute to the oppression of animals. To those who are battling a mental illness who at days cannot cope with the weight of the world, but show you how far their empathy extends. To the animal rights activists who go out and protest, give out information, are courageous enough to be mocked and ridiculed, and get home drained. Don’t stop! The animals need your voice, humans need your information! You are the revolutionaries! To the people who are rescuing animals and provide them with a home and a life filled with love. You are the healers and the protectors of this planet. Even if some days you feel there is no hope, when you see the darker side of humans, when you get tired of explaining to others that animals deserve their freedom, I want to tell you to please keep going. You might not see it at times, but you ARE doing something! You lead by example, you teach others that the highest form of knowledge is kindness. By not consuming or using animals you show others that this life is meant for ALL to live in peace. You show that we must not take the planet and its inhabitants for granted.

Weekly Workshop #16

Welcome back to Weekly Workshop! I want to take a quick moment to thank everybody who offers their queries up for inclusion in this series. It requires a lot of bravery to open yourself up for public criticism, however constructive it may be, and I appreciate you all putting yourselves out there to be a teaching experience for others. Without you, this series wouldn’t exist, so thank you, all volunteers!

And now, onto the query:

Caitlin McDonald,

I’m an aspiring teacher in my junior year of college and this is one of my first queries! This first line isn’t needed; any biographical information should go at the end of the query, and you don’t need to say that it’s your first query. You can say “my first novel for publication” if you feel the need to make that clear. I am querying you because your submission guidelines state that you are seeking fantasy novels by new authors that feature political intrigue, deep characters, and diverse fantasy worlds. Due to that, I feel that you may be interested in my manuscript, I would also love to be considered for weekly workshop. Thank you for your time!

Caelum is a beautiful yet vicious world ruled by a race of likewise human beings called civis, who are as hedonistic and licentious as they are cruel. They spend their days in a drug and wine induced stupor, spectating different kinds of gladiator tournaments. Their favorites of which feature mancers, people who’ve obtained magical powers by contracting a parasite. Unfortunately, these parasites eventually drive their hosts mad and kill them, regrettably for all of Caelum, mancers are also in charge of everything through the political group known as the Council. One claims a seat on it by triumphing in the Coliseum of Caelum, the oldest and largest of all arenas, which also serves as their headquarters. For Olympus, their home, one of the seven capitals of Caelum, was constructed up and around its foundation. This is all worldbuilding information, when what we really want to know is who your protagonist is, what’s going to happen to them, and what is their driving motivation. Don’t waste so many words on this–especially when much of it could be described much more succinctly with “an ancient Roman-esque world” or similar.  

Cignis a lowly field slave, who just happens to be in love with his master, is forced to flee and claim his right to the Coliseum after killing the Enforcer of his village. He makes it to Olympus, trains in Pyromancy and wins his match but upon taking his place as Councilman, he’s plunged into political strife that’s been created by an ongoing three-way war between Olympus, Viren (a technologically advanced, xenophobic nation that seceded from all of Caelum due to the mancers) and the nomadic witches (anyone that has contracted more than one mancy.) All while struggling with his own descent into madness due to his own. This is where the meat is! But it’s currently too rushed to give me a clear sense of what is really happening, and doesn’t convey the character(s) in a way that will get me invested in their success. Instead of cramming all this into one paragraph, ditch the above and below paragraphs and spend more space developing this one into a clear, compelling pitch about Cignis and his story.

There are five mancies in total that allow users dominion over others, themselves or certain elements, and all will cause users to go insane. Psychomancy is the power to manipulate the minds of others, Pyromancy is the ability to create and control fire, Physimancy allows hosts to control their very core making them unnaturally strong and fast, Cryomancy is the control over water and ice and Terramancy is the power to control the forces of nature and earth itself. If anybody contracts more than one, they are dubbed a witch as they are highly dangerous to both themselves and others. Again, this paragraph is completely unnecessary in a query letter. 

The book is a 99,000-word long fantasy that follows Cignis as he rises to power in war-torn Caelum, confronts hardships, wars, sadistic neighbors and slowly descends into a madness of his own. I hope you like it and thanks again! Don’t forget to include the title of your book! It’s not currently anywhere in the query letter.

I want to say, first, that I love the enthusiasm in this letter! The author states that this is one of their first queries, and that’s clear; there’s a lot of work that needs to be done with it. But that excitement, undiminished by rejections, is what we wish publishing could be like all the time, for everyone. Querying is often a long game, and I know it can be hard to keep one’s spirits up over time, but I hope this author continues to find the process exciting!

I was also pleased to see this query for Weekly Workshop because it lets me highlight a key issue with query letters, particularly in fantasy writing. Many authors get caught up trying to explain their worlds, as though the full context is needed before we can comprehend the story that takes place there. But your story, ultimately, is about a person (or person-like character), and regardless of the world they live in, we should be able to connect with their plight because of emotion. For that, I need to get a sense of who they are; be it charming, or brave, or intriguingly unpleasant, a glimpse of that in the query will make me curious to get to know them better.  The best query letters make me feel something before I even start reading the sample pages. 

Have faith in the agents you’re querying: we’ll be able to grasp the world you’ve constructed if you provide just a few shorthand references and clues for context. We don’t need an essay setting the stage. If something absolutely must be explained, consider how it can be phrased in the fewest words possible. Economize your words and focus them on the true heart of your novel, not the window dressing.

**You can request to be considered for Weekly Workshop when you submit a query–just follow my submission guidelines! I also offer private query letter reviews.**


Around The World In 80 Days: Moldova

The Very End Of Moldova
Photo Credit: (Denis Doni)
Photo Credit: (Kirill Zmurciuk)
Sculeanca Park
Photo Credit: (Valentin Creciun)

The photographer deserves credit so DO NOT remove credit information. Thank you.

Photo Credit: (Corey Pruitt)

The photographer deserves credit so DO NOT remove credit information. Thank you.

Around The World In 80 Days Concludes

It began on April 24th and ended yesterday, July 12th. I want to say thanks to all who accompanied me on the 80 day journey around the world. More about all the emails and comments I received in a post tomorrow.

To Our Fans,

I would like to thank you for the unrelenting love and support you have shown me over the years. The USWNT fan base is one of the most caring, devoted, and faithful in the world. Unfortunately, after returning from camp, Jill called to inform me that at this time I am not in her future plans. My tenure with the National Team under her supervision has come to an end. I was extremely surprised at the timing and to say I am devastated is an understatement.

I am extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish throughout my national team career. I have devoted the last six years of my life to this team and I do not regret a minute of it. It has been an incredible journey.

At this time I am not sure what role soccer will play in my future. I believe I am in my prime and that my best years may be ahead of me. I am going to take some time with my family and decide what comes next on and off the field. Again, I cannot thank you all enough for your kindness. The many memories, signs, gifts, smiles, and cheers will never be forgotten.
Thank you!
Whitney 📸 @bradsmithimages #isiphotos
Survey for Digital Artists + Mini-Giveaway
Looking at how artists view their commission work

Guys! Check out this neat survey! I would mean the absolute world if you took a minute to answer the couple questions I’ve written up. I’m collecting data for a school information system (project) and the more entries the better! 

If you’ve filled this out, reblog w/ username and ID number and next week I’ll host a drawing where the winner will receive 1 thyacline scroll AND an impdopt (up to 400kT value). Will end this next monday at 00 FR time.

Thank you so much for your help ;w;