Sunday, December 4, 2011

Star Party Etiquette: How to Be Cool While the Universe is Blowing Your Mind

One of the things I learned in 1983 when getting my freelance writing career off the ground was the importance of the query letter. When pitching an article idea to a managing editor you had to demonstrate your competence as a writer while establishing in him or her a confidence that you could deliver the goods.

A number of years ago I wrote, but never submitted, this query that was crafted for the purpose of securing an assignment on star party etiquette. Though I never sent the query, I liked the letter when I stumbled upon it this past week and thought you might enjoy reading it. At the end is a link to someone else's page of instructions regarding star party etiquette. And by stars we mean Sirius and Vega, not Brad Pitt or Kirsten Dunst.

Dear Editor:
You’ve been invited to a star party. You may not be that interested in the Messier 102 list or Herschel 400 objects, but looking at the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn has a certain fundamental appeal. And you also want to make a good impression on Jennifer and Toni who invited you.

But what is a star party really? What do people do besides look through telescopes? And can I screw it up bad if I don’t know the rules? The correct answer to this last question is yes. There are rules and it helps to know them, unless you want to be a star yourself in the sequel to Dumb and Dumber.

A quick Google search shows that star parties have been springing up everywhere these days. (See links at the end of this article.) I’d like to propose a concise article on Star Party Etiquette: How to Be Cool While the Universe is Blowing Your Mind. (working title)

The article would be 800-1000 words. A completed draft would be in your inbox in four to six weeks. The tone would match your magazine. And photos would be available. The information will help your readers to avoid being clueless when they get invited to their first Star Party. I will help them understand what it is and what the rules are.

paragraph about my credentials here followed by tight close...

In the event that you yourself are invited to a Star Party, here a page of instructions from Astro-Tom. Read these, and you'll be glad you did.

Ah, the sweetness of a crisp December sky!

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