That was one of the expressions a former advertising colleague used to describe campaigns that didn't work for him. His other was "all zip and no vinegar." They both meant the same thing: nothing for a consumer to connect with.

And that happens in novels sometimes. There may be a lot of stuff happening, but if you don't care about the characters involved, it becomes sort of a "so what" situation. And that's never a good thing.

But don't "they" want us to start a novel at an exciting, engaging point? You know, the one where all the action grabs the reader by the collar and drags her along for the ride?

Add some gin.

Give us a peek into your character's inner workings. No, that's not an invitation to fill the page with oodles of introspection, but add in a little bit about her fears or flaws or favourites -- something that makes her more real to a reader.

The fizz/gin rule can work wonders on a query letter, too. By focusing on the meat of your story, you can resist the temptation to "dress it up" with too many distracting side dishes.

Of course, some folks may prefer to have a veritable buffet of a query letter. You just never know until they respond... or simply ignore you. ;)

Wow, all these mentions of food is making me hungry. Hungry to finish my revisions. ;)

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