Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What If I Fail At Being Published?

In the event that any of us (god forbid) fails in the pursuit of a dream which consists mostly of money and very little of actually writing anything memorable, you may find yourself at a crossroads wherein you decide that kidnapping someone and holding them for ransom may provide a more sound financial future (if not for yourself then for your loved ones). This shouldn't be taken lightly because a properly constructed ransom note is as hard as a query letter.  You will need the following elements:
  1. Don’t be lazy and use the internet. Look, I know you can go on the web and use different programs that turn your text into a ransom note. That’s kid stuff. If you’re doing the crime, do the extra work and make the note yourself. Handmade. Just think of it as a more grown-up arts and crafts project.
  2. Spell check, spell check, spell check Do you want to come across as a criminal mastermind, or some barely literate immigrant? The choice is yours. You don’t want the five-oh laughing at your poor punctuation and the fact that you threatening people by threatening to "kil" them.
  3. No codes, ciphers, rebuses, etc. You want your ransom note to have a clear and effective message; mainly, that you have a member of someone’s family hostage and want money immediately or else. If you’re trying to be cute and send someone a note covered in bizarre glyphs which take months to decode, you’re never gonna collect on your investment, and then you’ve got some problems on your hands.
  4. Tailor your ransom note to the victim. If it’s a foreign diplomat, use pieces of their nation’s flag as the letters. Or, let’s hypothetically say that you happen to have in your possession one of a certain celebrity couple’s adopted babies. You could use the People Magazine covers they adorned to make the words as well.
  5. Wear gloves Don’t be an idiot and put your fingerprints all over your work. If you get busted because your thumb print got matched on the letters you cut out, you deserve what you get in prison. Be careful; burn whatever you use to make the note, and pick a pretty common variety of paper upon which to glue your letters. Contrary to what popular television shows would like you to believe, it takes some pretty obvious mistakes in order to get caught.
  6. No body parts on the first note It comes off as too desperate, or worse – like you’re bluffing. Nobody wants to deal with some crazy blood-hungry beast that’s into mailing people toes. Plus, it’s almost impossible to ship body parts through the mail. This means hand delivering the letter, which means a greater chance of being caught. It’s too stupid a risk. You’re better off with using second ransom letters as a chance to show off your photography skills by attaching Polaroid pictures of your kidnapee in various states of duress.
I hope this helps. Happy Tuesday. XOXO

41 comments:

  1. Ha! You'll never fail, Michael, at least not in crime. :) Thanks for the backup plan ideas.

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  2. Isn't it only a matter of time until ransom notes go digital? It's the paper ransom note smell I'll miss most of all.

    mood

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  3. That was hilarious, sir! Definitely a fresh perspective on the query letter. You're an evil genius! :)

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  4. I'd say you should use poor punctuation and spelling. That way the cops will underestimate your evil genius.

    On a serious note, as the gap between rich and poor widens, look for more kidnappings of the kind that are so prevalent in Mexico and South America.

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  5. It's good to see you've thought this out well, Michael. Thank you for sharing the expertise, I think it would be safest for everyone concerned if you get your book published though.

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  6. You put a lot of thought into this. Lol

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  7. Patience is also a great thing to have. Keep writing and submitting like a zen monk and things will start unravelling. Too many writers starve for recognition and go Kindle. Patience gets other people than you interested in your work

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  8. Thanks Michael. Bookmarking.

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  9. LOL. I totally needed this today. Thanks for the laugh. ;0)

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  10. LOL! Too desperate...you are so funny! This was a blast to read. You won't fail. You're waaaay too creative. :)
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  11. This had me laughing... and taking notes, because if there's one thing I don't want to do, it's come off as too desperate in my first crime. You're the Danny Ocean of writers' guidelines. No, I don't know what that means, but Danny Ocean is the only criminal I can routinely put a name to, and I didn't want to say "You're that Drive guy played by Ryan Gosling of writers' guidelines."

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  12. Great read and very funny. This took a lot of thought -- I applaud you. Hardly see you failing. You are very creative!

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  13. I'm pretty sure the FBI is now monitoring your blog.

    And don't you know that Polaroids are a complete 80s throwback? I mean, you can't even buy them new anymore since they quit making them, so you're already setting yourself up in a particular demographic if you use one.

    Speaking of, using l33t speak of some kind (misspelling words) might be a good idea as it would also throw the cops (and whomever else) off.

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  14. You are messed up. Hilarious, but messed up.

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  15. Good thing I'm not rich or famous enough or I'd be worried about meeting you someday. As is, I'm pretty safe.

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  16. I see you've given this a lot of thought. Funny post.

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  17. Gee Mike, thanks for the tips!

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  18. Lol if I ever need help with a ransom note, I'm coming to you! Hilarious!

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  19. One never wants to look like an amateur. A little forethought can go a long way towards making you look good. You know that thing where bad guys hold there pistols sideways? I'm thinking they should start doing that with rifles next. I bet that'll be the next big thing.

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  20. I REALLY needed this laugh today!

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  21. Brillant! Just the back up plan I was looking for *wink*.

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  22. *snort* Oh, excellent! But couldn't you combine purposes and kidnap the favorite Pekenese of a well known publisher and demand to see your book in print before they get their pooch back? I guess you'd have to write under a pen name with money going into a paypal account...erm not that I've considered this...

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  24. I should not have read this at work! Now my colleagues are wondering why I spent th elast five minutes with my head on my desk, snorting as I tried not to laugh aloud. Thanks for this, Michael!

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  25. Bahahaha! I'm not the first to say this, but after a chaotic/craptastic Tuesday, it's nice to get a good laugh. And now, I must go file this away...you know, in case I need it or something.

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  26. This is so my plan B. I think of it as less kidnapper and more evil villian. They do say "write what you know" so it's really more like practice, right?

    Great tip about waiting on the body parts. There is nothing worse than seeming desperate! :)

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  27. Yes, but what happens if they don't or won't pay the ransom? Then you're stuck.

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  28. Funny that my next novel coming out is about kidnapping. :)

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  29. You were not supposed to spill the beans, man! It was supposed to be kept under wraps!

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  30. I hate to think about the stuff you got up to while you were in school. Thanks for that bedtime chuckle. I shoulda came by earlier when I desperately needed a laugh.

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  31. Or I could pay a buck for a super lotto quick pick . .

    .......dhole

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  32. You are clearly a mastermind in the making. Still, it does sound like a lot of hard work.

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  33. No wunder you won my queery critique contest. I am laughing so hord while I rite, I can halrdly spel. Sew get reddy to send me sum paiges while I'm fixin' to post my blog anounsent. I rilly doan't need spel chicker enyweigh, as ewe can sea.

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  34. I don't know, my Polaroid skills are pretty weak. Isn't there like a Photographing Your Kidnapping Victims in Various Stages of Distress 101 class I can sign up for?

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  35. Wait, you know my return address if you received your Love's Long Shadow gift. LOL, I promise, I'm not worth your time. :)

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  36. Lol, this reminds me of when I was a kid and my friends would take turns stealing each others toys and leaving ransom notes. There are so many ways to be creative with them!

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  37. Yes! That totally helps. I was wondering how to write a ransom note JUST TODAY, so this is quite the timely blog post. Much gratitude. :)

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  38. Hell! You make me laugh out loud and want to take you out for coffee. You are one funny m-fer!

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