Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why Did Scott Brown in Massachusetts???

On the rude arch that spanned the flood
In the April breeze their flag unfurled
Here the embattled farmer stood
And fired the shot heard round the world
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did Scott brown win because of a pick-up truck?

Did Scott Brown win because of anti-Obama sentiment?

Is the Scott Brown win a referendum Obama-care?

Mr. Brown came to town in a pick-up truck and President Obama chose to attack the truck and the kind of people who drive and ride in pick-up trucks.

Mr. Brown will drive his truck to Washington.

Mr. Obama flew home with his tail between his legs.

Why DID Scott Brown Win In Massachusetts?

The question is being spun in so many directions that pundits must think the answer lies in a cotton candy maker. If you stayed up election night and surfed the plethora of experts and political forecasters, the responses ranged from a fluke, to a poorly run campaign, to divine intervention.

The truth is so obvious that it was largely ignored. Scott Brown won because, at the end of the counting, he had more votes. Though that sounds simplistic, take a step back and examine the facts.

Brown won in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3.5 to 1, but independents account for a huge percentage of registered voters. in a state where the Democrats win by putting their names on a ballot, the unthinkable happened. The people failed to follow their script and the Democrats never considered that possibility.

Much of the democratic script involved sarcasm, arrogance and anger, coupled with attacks against everything from the Tea Party parties, to Rush Limbeau. Scott Brown's pick-up truck figured often in responses, as if the man's choice of wheels was shallow, disingenuous and unfair to the liberal challenger.

The degree of anger was no surprise but the depth of antipathy against former President Bush was a little out of place. To hear the pundits on MSNBC, one would believe that the democrat lost in Massachusetts because people are VERY mad at George Bush. That is an answer that will not resonate with voters, who don't like being boxed and packaged by liberals seeking a politically correct response, instead of the truth.

Scott Brown won for a long list of reasons, not the least of which is the poor campaign run by the Democratic nominee and the tidal wave of negative ads run by the campaign. People tuned out the negative campaign, almost before it began and that left them free to listen for a message coming from the challengers. Coakley failed to provide more than a dusting of commentary, sprinkled with liberal talking points, choosing to pretend Scott Brown and anyone voting with him were slightly stupid and sadly gullible.

Her arrogance and elitism turned off voters who waited in vain for her to speak out about issues and conditions that require hard work and a thoughtful approach. Her refusal to debate except on ridiculous terms, then failing to give strong performance in their debate, caused many to give up and start to listen to the candidate that actually spoke to people, instead of pretending to be oh so, above them all.

It is true that Massachusetts should have been a cake walk for Martha Coakley but the cook forgot to check the temperature of the oven and the cake burned.

There is a lot of unfocused anger in the liberal media today but refusing to examine the truth, opting to fix blame instead of the problem, means the party will miss the teachable moment, here.

When Barack Obama jetted into Massachusetts to save the day, he forgot that preaching to the choir would not necessarily communicate through to the congregation. His message was stilted, scripted, fake and arrogant. More Massachusetts voters polled in Scott Brown's favor after Obama's appearance, than before. The slide was noticeable - not slight and the party aggressively ignored what that meant, as they continue to ignore what it means going forward.

When President Obama insisted former President Clinton temporarily abandon the mercy mission in Haiti to fly him and his entourage to Massachusetts for a political rally, he failed to connect to real America.

Real America understands what Mr. Obama can't begin to fathom. The devastation in Haiti far outweighed the election in Massachusetts.

I have always known that kitchen table company is so much better than dining room guests. Real America happens around kitchen tables, not elegant dinners and private jets.

If you can't connect to real Americans at their kitchen table, you can't connect. The President failed to connect and did so boldly, loudly and with as much arrogance as possible. Americans in Massachusetts heard him and responded just as loudly. The difference is that Mr. Obama was not and is not listening. The beat of his own agenda, ego and elitism is making too much noise.

When Mr. Obama attacked Scott Brown for driving a pick up truck, he attacked what makes America American.

I drove a pick up for decades and loved it. I hope to drive one again. Mr. Obama and his machine can't get that and that's why Scott Brown won last night.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Seven Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter

From the Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog

Chuck Sambuchino shares the results of a fabulous piece of investigative research.

7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter

Posted by Chuck

I recently attended the Writer Idol Event at Boston Book Fest. It was not for the faint of heart, but for those willing to brave public ridicule, it was a great way to get helpful feedback.

This is how it worked: An actress picked manuscripts at random and read the first 250 words out loud for the panel and the audience. If at any point a panelist felt he would stop reading, he raised his hand. The actress read until two or more panelists raised their hands, at which point the panel discussed the reasons they stopped, or in cases where the actress read to the end, they discussed what worked. Helene Atwan (Director of Beacon Press) and agents Esmond Harmsworth, Eve Bridburg, and Janet Silver (all from Zachary Shuster Harmsworth) served on the panel.

These panelists were tough! I'd say less than 25% made it to the end of the passage. Here are some of the common reasons panelists stopped reading.

1. Generic beginnings: Stories that opened with the date or the weather didn’t really inspire interest. According to Harmsworth, you are only allowed to start with the weather if you're writing a book about meteorologists. Otherwise, pick something more creative.

2. Slow beginnings: Some manuscripts started with too much pedestrian detail (characters washing dishes, etc) or unnecessary background information.

3. Trying too hard: Sometimes it seemed like a writer was using big words or flowery prose in an attempt to sound more sophisticated. In several cases, the writer used big words incorrectly. Awkward or forced imagery was also a turnoff. At one point, the panelists raised their hands when a character's eyes were described as “little lubricated balls moving back and forth.”

4. TMI (Too Much Information): Overly detailed description of bodily functions or medical examinations had the panelists begging for mercy.

5. Clichés: "The buildings were ramrod straight." "The morning air was raw." "Character X blossomed into Y." "A young woman looks into the mirror and tells us what she sees." Clichés are hard to avoid, but when you revise, go through and try to remove them.

6. Loss of Focus: Some manuscripts didn't have a clear narrative and hopped disjointedly from one theme to the next.

7. Unrealistic internal narrative: Make sure a character's internal narrative—what the character is thinking or feeling—matches up with reality. For example, you wouldn't want a long eloquent narration of what getting strangled feels like—the character would be too busy gasping for breath and passing out. Also, avoid having the character think about things just for the sake of letting the reader know about them.

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