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More Ramblings on Another Wet Day
I was wondering if anyone on Talkback has ever used their writing to gain revenge on anyone. I'm thinking mainly of basing an unlikeable character, for instance, on a real person. You wouldn't dare use his or her name, of course, no matter how true the representation was but it's fun to use an anagram. I did this once to someone at a publisher's because of the way she handled - or rather, didn't handle - my submission. Luckily, she had a name that leant itself to anagramatising and I applied it to an unpleasant character in my next novel.
Some writers say they find dialogue difficult. If you watch any soap operas, you'll have noticed how prone they are to standard pieces of dialogue that crop up again and again. I sometimes think it should be possible to write an entire script consisting of nothing but soap cliches: "The only person you care about is yourself"; "Why wouldn't I be?"; "That was a one-off: it can never happen again"; "It just happened"; "We can talk about this", etc. Some of these sayings are ones that people never actually use in real life. I'm a big Coronation Street fan but it isn't the worst offender.
Apparently, publishers and literary agents have an aversion to cliches in the submissions they receive but, if writers manage to avoid them and all the other literary sins, how, in addition, can they grab attention? I was wondering, too, if anyone on T.B. had ever used tricks to stand out in the submissions pile. I've read of people who, incredibly, will enclose a Kit-Kat, for example! Mind you, I once tried something that some people might regard as equally ridiculous. Apart from trying humour (a dangerous one, that), I once pretended to be my own P.A. After devising an authentic-looking letter heading, I wrote a covering letter saying I was sending the submission on behalf of my boss, who was away on business. The idea was to stand out from the rest by being different. They probably saw through it. I know better now.
(Don't worry about what you say being read by agents or publishers: I'm sure they're far too busy helping their clients and going through our submissions to read a writers' forum.)