Hurry up and Wait

Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand (album cover art) I wonder if I'm the only person who remembers this song.  But it seems appropriate for this post!

Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand (album cover art). I wonder if I’m the only person who remembers this song?  It seems appropriate for this post to me!

Like the other 9,999 people who entered this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, I’m awaiting March 18th with little patience and great anticipation.  I’ve started writing the second book in my series to keep busy.  I’m so excited to FINALLY be writing the second installment in my series!  I made an outline to get started, and flipped back through my notes to see what other ideas I had for the second novel before I started.  To my delight, I found an outline I had made a few years ago for the same book.  Comparing the two, they were almost identical.  Looks like I’ve been ready to write this book for a while, and my vision for it hasn’t changed much in the intervening years since I finished Hell High! 

I also sent a copy of the version of Hell High that I submitted to Amazon to a friend of mine to read.  Guess you would call him a “beta reader.”  I’m very excited for his feedback!  I have another copy I have to get out to another beta reader as well (I need to put that on my “to-do” list before I forget actually….).

I’ve also been frequenting the Amazon Breakthrough Novel discussion boards to commiserate with my fellow contestants.  Lots of interesting, witty and humorous people over there! 

I’m not going to lie.  Having the contest close was a great relief!  Now I can just work on my next novel and relax.

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And the winner is…not you

Even Harley thinks I suck.

Even Harley thinks I suck.

Even though I’m reticent to bring up my recent failures, in the interests of full disclosure, and the purpose of this blog, I feel it necessary.   So I’m going to try this band-aid style.  I’m going to hold my breath and type this as quickly as possible.

Back in November of 2013 I entered a contest that judged entries based on the first 250 words of a manuscript.  Over three months later, I found out that I lost.  Big shock right?  No, of course not, I am the WRITER’S WRONG after all.  But I won’t lie. Anytime you enter a competition, even if the chances of winning are infinitesimal and unreachable, you still hope with a tiny illogical part of your brain that you’ll win.  So while losing wasn’t a shock, it did stink.  And to be honest, not only did I lose, but I wasn’t one of the 4 finalists either.  So super loser here.

I have no idea where this picture came from, but it's freaking awesome.

This should be Publisher Clearinghouse’s new motto.

The upshot was I had everything timed so that if I did lose the 2013 YA Discovery Contest, I would be ready to enter the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest.  Either way – I would need to complete both a pitch and my manuscript by February 22nd, so I went to work.  I finished my edits, re-writes, and my pitch, and as planned, upon finding out I lost the 2013 YA Discovery Contest, I entered Amazon’s contest.

The point of all this rambling is this: I’m glad I hedged my bet.  The disappointment felt by losing the 2013 YA Discovery Contest was mitigated by the excitement I had for entering Amazon’s contest.  I may lose that too, but it made me feel better to enter, and naturally that’s all that matters!

Pitch Imperfect

This picture looks complicated, but I'm pretty sure my book pitch is more complicated!

This diagram looks complicated, but I’m pretty sure my book pitch is more complicated!

I have officially entered the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  Yeah me!  The first round of judging is based solely on the pitch.  Without further ado – here’s mine:

It’s 1943 and nineteen year old Genevieve Jones parachutes into Nazi Germany under cover of night.  Her mission to infiltrate the Third Reich is cut short when she is murdered by none other than Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun.  Her soul on the short list for extermination, Genevieve agrees to earn her salvation by recruiting and training soldiers for the Army of Heaven to fight in the Battle of Armageddon.  Given unlimited funds and perpetual youth, Genevieve has been scouring the Earth for potential soldiers since her death.  Seventy years on the job have left Genevieve burned out and emotionally dead – that is, until she begins to train her newest recruit, Gabriel Reid.

Gabriel Reid’s senior year at Avery High is cracking up to be a good one.  He has a spot on the championship swim team, and he’s dating the most attractive girl in school, Genevieve Jones.

When Genevieve reveals her intentions to recruit Gabe for Heaven’s army, he’s confronted with the reality that he’s not a typical high school senior bound for college, but destined to lead an army in a war that will end the world as he knows it.

While Genevieve helps Gabe adapt to his changing reality, Gabe breathes new life onto the dying embers of Genevieve’s humanity, sparking a love she never dreamt possible. When she learns that a deadly rival recruiter for Hell’s army is after Gabe to either poach him or eliminate him if he refuses, Genevieve must try to save his life and the love she never thought possible.

As all is revealed to Gabe, he is compelled to question not only Genevieve’s motives, but the sanctity of the Bible itself and the purpose of his existence.

To come up with this pitch, I took an old version of my query letter and incorporated some new information that answered the questions Chuck Sambuchino raised when he edited my query letter – plus a dash of some wording from a book blob on Amazon, and wha-la!  My pitch.  Or at least my pitch for now.  I have until the earlier of March 2nd or 10,000 entries to edit it – which I just might!  Feel free to let me know what you think of it!  I’m open to suggestions!!!

Naturally I hope it’s good enough to make the first cut.  That’s my goal for this contest – to just make the first cut.  If I can do that, then I’ll consider it a victory.  After all, they take approximately 10,000 entries and narrow it down to 2,000.  That means conceivably 8,000 will be cut (that is if 10,000 enter).  So I’m happy with that if I make it!

If I don't make the first cut, I'm buying this hoodie for myself and I'll wear it in the basement while I write.  There's some motivation fer ya!

If I don’t make the first cut, I’m buying this hoodie for myself and I’ll wear it in the basement while I write. There’s some motivation fer ya!

Amazon says that

your Pitch should highlight your concept, protagonist, setting, and writing style—all the elements that make your story unique

I really feel like I’ve done that – but who knows if anyone other than me will agree!  I’ve sent my pitch off to be critiqued by some beta readers (which is a snazzy way of saying my husband and sister), and hope to get some feedback there.  I have the option of posting it on Amazon’s comment boards where thousands of others (at least it looks like thousands from the 6,097 comments so far) have posted their pitches for critique – but from what I’ve seen there, I’m not convinced that is actually going to help me to post mine there.  I will say I think it IS helpful to see what others are submitting for their pitch.  If you’re interested, take a look here.

But I’m glad just to have entered.  I spent a lot of time finishing my manuscript so it’d be done in time (thank you Hubby for understanding all the time spent in the basement), and I feel I’ve accomplished my goal.  I was watching some tv show about a shark hunting contest (I’m sure that’s not the technical term for it – but you get my drift), and this guy won with a small shark that was only 18 lbs over the minimum.  The reason he won with such a small catch was because he was the only one to bring a catch in to be weighed.  He said, “you gotta be in it, to win it.”  I like that advice, so even if my pitch is imperfect, I’m glad I’m in it for a chance to win it!

First Page Friday #20: YA

Ellen Brock

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I hope everyone is having a fantastic Valentine’s Day!

If you haven’t noticed, I made some changes to my website (I hope for the better!). Check out my new Help Desk to get all your writing and editing questions answered. Don’t see a question on the list? Let me know and I’ll try to add it soon!

Also, check out my new video: How to Write a Great Antagonist.

About First Page Friday

First Page Friday is a blog series where I provide a free edit and critique of the first 500 words of an unpublished novel. Read the excerpt without my notes first and leave your vote in the poll. Afterward, feel free to leave a comment for the author. Feedback is always helpful!

YA First 500 – Lydia Evans

The bright yellow buoy beeped and a red light pierced the darkness of the ocean.  Alone…

View original post 2,152 more words

Amazon’s 2014 Breakthrough Novel Award

abna-badge_250

Bolstered by my recent entry prize in the 2013 YA Discovery Contest (yes, I am excited to win a book just for entering – no, that doesn’t make me feel pathetic – and yes, I blogged about it here), I decided that I’m going to enter Amazon’s 2014 Breakthrough Novel Award.  Yay!  The entry date runs from February 16, 2014 to March 2, 2014, or until they receive 10,000 entries.  You can see all the nitty gritty contest details here: Official Rules.

I didn’t decide to enter this contest on a whim.  I read ALL of the Official Rules, including all the small print, and I talked it over with the hubby since to be ready to submit my entire manuscript means I have to knuckle down and finish this round of manuscript revisions pronto.  That translates into less time in the evenings with him and more time in the basement banging away on the keyboard. 

Another big consideration is in section 6 of the Rules entitled “MANUSCRIPT SHOPPING” where it states:

Manuscripts submitted as Entries to the Contest cannot be actively shopped by agents during the contest period, which runs from February 16, 2014 to July 21, 2014.

This time period is problematic since my plans were to finish this round of edits, spiffy up my query letter, and begin the process to land an agant (again) during this time period.  Further, I entered another contest where the grand prize is a pitch session with an agent, and I don’t find out the results of that until February 21st.

fine-print

What’s a girl to do?  Here’s what! I’m going to wait until February 22nd and make sure I don’t win the 2013 YA Discovery Contest (which is a long shot – but I’m ever the optimist!), and enter on the Amazon contest on the 23rd.  Hopefully they won’t reach the 10,000 submission mark by then – but I think that’s a relatively low risk.  Although completely possible.

What about “the manuscript shopping prohibition?” you ask savvy reader!  I have a solution for that too!  The first round of cuts on submissions, narrowing the number of entries from 10,000 to 400 will be on (or about) March 18th.  So if I don’t make the first cut, I figure I’m free to query away unrestrained!  From February 23rd to March 18th isn’t even a month’s time.  I can afford to wait a month.  It’s worth it to me when I consider the risk versus reward of entering.

Speaking of!  What is the reward of which I speak? 

The Grand Prize is a full publishing contract with Amazon Publishing to market and distribute your Manuscript as a published book and  a $50,000.00 advance against the royalties to be earned under the publishing contract.

Each Finalist (excluding the Grand Prize Winner), will be awarded a full publishing contract with Amazon Publishing to market and distribute his/her Manuscript as a published book and a $15,000 advance. 

Quarter-Finalistist will receive a Publishers Weekly manuscript review of their Manuscript.

In case you’re asking me what kind of publishing contract Amazon is offering – let me assure you, I read all that too.  My thoughts on it are that I’m amenable to unnegotiable terms (and that’s what they are) on the first book, just for the publicity of winning.  I plan on writing an entire series, and if I don’t optimize my return on my first book, it’s worth the risk for the publicity.  Hopefully that will create a market for the series, and pave the way for a succesful second book and the entire series.

Look at that strategic thinking!  My college professors would be so proud!

No, Professor Langdon wasn't actually one of my college professors.  Mostly because he's fictitious, but also because I didn't go to Harvard, nor did I major in symbology!

No, Professor Langdon wasn’t actually one of my college professors. Mostly because he’s fictitious, but also because I didn’t go to Harvard, nor did I major in symbology.

Now to work!  I’m a little over halfway through revisions at this point.  I’ve got 23 days to finish them!  To the boats!  Or, in my case it’s, “To the Basement!”

Query Letter Edits (from a professional!)

Totally unrelated to the point of this post, but every time I start a new post, I start with the title, and this article from WordPress jumps to mind.  It was called something like, “How to title your big entries so people read your blog!” I’m sure it was actually snappier than that, and I’m totally paraphrasing, and I admit to not reading the article, but I’m positive I do a sucky job titling my blog entries. This blog is really more for me than the masses, so I’m not gonna sweat it. Maybe my next blog title will be, “Suck It Hakuna Matata Mouse Fart.” That’s snappy right? Catches your eye? Makes you want to read more? Yes? Yes?

No idea where this title came from.  I think I was half drunk when I started drafting this post.  Consider it an exercise in stream of consciousness writing!

No idea where “Suck It Hakuna Matata Mouse Fart,” came from. I think I was half drunk when I started drafting this post. Consider it an exercise in stream of consciousness writing!

 

Okay – my digression aside, I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was going to hire Chuck Sambuchino to edit my query letter (that blog post is here).  I received the results today!  Yeah!  Curious what he said?  Not to worry – I will tell you!

Here’s what I sent to Chuck:

Dear Ms. Adams:

I chose to submit to you exclusively because I was really impressed by your sale this past summer of the YA novel, The Walled City and your subsequent sale of Valiant.    I can see you’re a successful agent, and I know my novel Hell High is a perfect match for your tastes.

Gabriel Reid’s senior year at Avery High is cracking up to be a good one.  He has a spot on the championship swim team, and he’s dating the most attractive and mysterious girl in school, the notorious Genevieve Jones.

Genevieve Jones is a Lightling, a damned soul given a chance to earn her salvation by recruiting and training soldiers for the Army of Heaven to fight in Armageddon. Seventy years on the job have left Genevieve burned out and emotionally dead – that is, until she begins to train Gabe.

When Genevieve reveals her intentions to recruit Gabe for Heaven’s army, he’s confronted with the reality that he’s not a typical high school senior bound for college, but destined to lead an army in a war that will end the world as he knows it.

While Genevieve helps Gabe adapt to his changing reality, Gabe breathes new life onto the dying embers of Genevieve’s humanity, sparking a love she never dreamed possible. When she learns that a deadly rival recruiter for Hell’s army is after Gabe to poach him or kill him if he refuses, Genevieve must try to save his life and the love she never thought possible.

Hell High is a 61,000 word supernatural young adult novel with Biblical motifs. Even though I would classify Hell High as “young adult,” I believe it’s a story with mass appeal.  Hell High probes universal concepts and experiences like first love, loss, redemption, and free will.  I think of it as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets the Mortal Instruments.

I’m an intellectual property paralegal by day with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.  Hell High is my first novel.  You can find out more about me and my journey with Hell High on my blog at www.TheWritersWrong.wordpress.com.

Pursuant to your Submission guidelines, submitted herewith is the full manuscript for Hell High.  Thank you for your courtesy.  I hope to hear from you soon!

I SLAVED on this stupid query letter.  Day and night.  I realized it wasn’t great, but I thought it was pretty good.  I have to give props to Nathan Bransford’s blog for all of the query help found there.  Serious. Life. Saver.  I used his Query Letter Mad Libs, as one draft, and found an example query that I thought worked for my manuscript, which I used as a form for this query letter, re-directed from his blog.  I’d post a link here, but I can’t find it.  Maybe it’s like the room of requirement and you can only find that blog entry at 2:15 am when you’re manically re-drafting and editing a crappy query letter.  Who knows.

Accio Room of Requirement Blog Post!

Accio Room of Requirement Blog Post!

 

Now for the response – Chuck’s edits are in caps:

Dear Ms. Adams:

I chose to submit to you exclusively because I was really impressed by your sale this past summer of the YA novel, The Walled City and your subsequent sale of Valiant.  (YOU SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF EXTRA SPACES RIGHT HERE BETWEEN THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES.)  I can see you’re a successful agent, and I HOPE my YOUNG ADULT novel Hell High is a perfect match for your tastes.

Gabriel Reid’s senior year at Avery High is cracking up to be a good one.  He has a spot on the championship swim team, and he’s dating the most attractive and mysterious girl in school, the notorious Genevieve Jones. GOOD START, BUT HOW CAN GENEVIEVE BE BOTH MYSTERIOUS AND NOTORIOUS? THAT WORDING THREW ME FOR A LOOP. THE FORMER SEEMS TO CONVEY LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT HER, WHILE THE LATTER CONVEYS PLENTY *IS* KNOWN ABOUT HER.

Genevieve Jones is a Lightling, a damned soul given a chance to earn her salvation by recruiting and training soldiers for the Army of Heaven to fight in Armageddon. Seventy years on the job have left Genevieve burned out and emotionally dead – that is, until she begins to train Gabe.

THIS IS INTERESTING AND I LIKE HOW YOU GOT AROUND TO THE HOOK QUICKLY. THAT SAID, I HAVE QUESTIONS:

DOES IT MATTER *WHY* SHE IS A DAMNED SOUL?

IF SHE HAS BEEN WORKING FOR 70 YEARS, HOW IS SHE A STUDENT AT SCHOOL? YOU LOST ME THERE WITH THE AGE THING.

IF HER REAL INTENTIONS ARE SECRET, WHAT IS SHE “NOTORIOUS”?

When Genevieve reveals her intentions to recruit Gabe for Heaven’s army, he’s confronted with the reality that he’s not a typical high school senior bound for college, but destined to lead an army in a war that will end the world as he knows it.

While Genevieve helps Gabe adapt to his changing reality, Gabe breathes new life onto the dying embers of Genevieve’s humanity, sparking a love she never dreamed possible. When she learns that a deadly rival recruiter for Hell’s army is after Gabe to poach him or kill him if he refuses, Genevieve must try to save his life and the love she never thought possible. GOOD PARAGRAPH! MY ONLY QUESTION IS WHETHER THE BOOK ENDS WITH HIM DEFEATING THE HELL RECRUIT…? OR DOES HE HAVE TO DEFEAT THE HELL RECRUIT BECAUSE THE BATTLE HAPPENS? IN OTHER WORDS, IS THERE ONE MAJOR HURDLE TO CROSS AT THE END OR TWO?

Hell High (PUT TITLE IN ITALICS AGAIN) is a 61,000DASHword supernatural young adult novel with Biblical motifs. Even though I would classify Hell High as “young adult,” I believe it’s a story with mass appeal.  Hell High probes universal concepts and experiences like first love, loss, redemption, and free will CUT ALL THIS IN BOLD.  I think of it as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets the Mortal Instruments.

I’m an intellectual property paralegal by day with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.  Hell High is my first novel.  You can find out more about me and my journey with Hell High on my blog at www.TheWritersWrong.wordpress.com.

Pursuant to your Submission guidelines, submitted herewith is the full manuscript for Hell High.  Thank you for your courtesy.  I hope to hear from you soon!

You can tell me what you think, but I thought this feedback was freaking GREAT!  Well worth $80 in my opinion.  I can’t wait to edit this bad boy!

Winning

Winning

Back in November, I posted a blog entry about writing contests.  Read it here.  I said I was going to enter a writing competition where you submit the first 250 words of your manuscript in the hopes of winning the following (tell them what they’ve won!):

The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to YA literary agent Regina Brooks AND receive a free, 10-week writing course, courtesy of Gotham Writers’ Workshop, plus a collection of gourmet teas from Possibiliteas.co!

The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks, one of New York’s premier literary agents for young adult books. They will also receive commentary on their submissions with editors from Scholastic, Feiwel and Friends, Random House/Penguin, Kensington, Kimani Tru, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, and Sourcebooks. In addition, they will receive a year’s subscription to The Writer magazine!

I didn’t completely forget I entered this competition, but it was months ago, and it kind of fell of my radar.  So imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox today and saw this!

I won something!  Hooray!

I won something! Hooray!

 

The first 50 entrants in the contest won a copy of “Writing Great Books for Young Adults.”  Yay me!  Naturally this doesn’t mean I’m any closer to winning the actual competition (and I most likely will not), but still, it always feels good to win something!

If I think a little harder about this (which is usually a dangerous thing for me since I tend to over-analyze things), I didn’t enter the 2013 YA Discovery Contest the minute they started accepting submissions.  I think I submitted the afternoon of the first day – not at 12:01 am.  I’m thinking it was like 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  So, if I was one of the first 50 entrants, and I submitted my entry 15 hours after the competition opened, I wonder if I can calculate the number of entrants (probably not because my math skills suck – but that won’t slow me down!  I’ going to try anyway!  Watch me fail!).  I think I’m missing something here…oh yeah…what number entrant I was.  Shoot.  Well let’s say for the sake of argument, I was the 50th entrant.  Using the sheer laws of math, we get 2,400 entrants.  Pretty stiff competition!

I realize no one gets this reference but me since I have a kid and this movie was in the $5 bin - but when I think of there's a line about the "sheer laws of math" in it which this reminds me of.  I believe this movie is Hugh Grant's best work.

I realize no one gets this reference from The Pirates movie but me (since I have a kid, and this movie was in the $5 bin), but there’s a line in it about using the “sheer laws of math” which was in reference to someone using math to calculate something totally incalculable – like I just did! Therefore it’s highly applicable! On a side note – I believe this movie is Hugh Grant’s best work.

 

According to the competition website, “Winners will be selected by February 6, 2014. An email will be sent to all entrants on February 21, 2014 announcing the winners.”  So I still have a while to wait – but if nothing else, I won a book out of it!  Or – if you’re a pessimist, you could say I bought a $15 book from it, since I paid $15 to enter the competition, but I’m going to go with the “winning!” point of view!

Why Publish?

Picture by David Ingersoll. Find him here: www.davidleeingersoll.com

Picture by David Lee Ingersoll. Find him here: http://www.davidleeingersoll.com.  I have a soft spot for Illustrators, Cartoonists and Comic Book Artists.  I’m grafteful for the time spent visiting NCSoft in Austin and all the gifted people I met there!

The question, “why publish?” was an epiphany for me. I’ll level with you. I wrote Hell High to publish it. Period. Done. I never had a nebulous idea and thought I’d write it because it was fun. I wrote because I thought my writing was worthy of publishing. I finished the first draft of Hell High in 3 months. I edited it, had friends read and review it, I edited some more, and then I tried to get it published for a year. Which, if you read my blog, you know ended in resounding failure.

Fail

Now, after almost a year of rewrites and edits, I’m back on the publishing path again, and it just occurred to me, why? Why? WHY???

Why go through all the crap of writing queries, and hiring someone to help me with my query letter, and looking at writing workshops and conventions and entering contests (“contest,” singular, is more accurate at this phase because I’ve only entered one contest to date, and no doubt I will fail to win) and submit my first 500 words for public review and scrutiny, and start a Twitter account, and a blog?

I did all this incredibly time consuming crap to become a successful writer. But this little voice in the back of my head, which speaks in Sir Hiss’ voice from Disney’s Robin Hood, says “why bother?”

He looks like the voice of self-doubt doesn't he?

He looks like the voice of self-doubt doesn’t he?

Good question Hiss! Stephenie Meyers said she loved her characters and wanted their story to be told.

Amanda Hocking wanted to go to a Muppets exhibit.

And Lydia Evans, she read some crappy YA fiction novels, and thought she could do just a good of job herself and make some money doing it.  Seriously, that’s it.  I’m starting to wonder if that’s enough.  Especially now that I’m two thirds through yet another round of boring edits.  I guess we’ll see!

When Reading Hurts

lr_quietlybearpain_31

I’m starting to wonder if ALL the reading I do about how to get published is hurting me.  Seriously, all these stories about how other people got signed, how to query, how to make your submission the best possible, and on and on and on is starting to make my head spin.  I’m starting to wonder why I should even bother.  Not only should I even bother to find an agent, but should I even bother publishing my book.  All the time I spend writing queries, reading about how to write a query, reviewing agents’ websites, submission guidelines, booklists, etc., etc., is time I’m not spending writing.

I believe in moderation.  However, being a slightly obsessive person, once I get into something, I have a hard time not thinking about it 24/7.  I think I need to take a step back from reading hundreds of blog entries (I’m not exaggerating) on how to get an agent, and tweets on what’s selling and who’s selling it.  I’m going to drive myself nuts.  Not to mention, I’m not going to finish this round of editing if I’m spending my spare time reading Chuck Sambuchino’s most recent blog entries instead of working on my book.  After all, that’s what this is supposed to be about.  Writing.  I’m supposed to be WRITING.  Emphasis on WRITING.

Hemingway writing.  I've only read one of his books, but it was life changing.  When I think of seriously writing, I think of Hemingway.  I've visited his home in Key West twice, and the images of his office, above his garage, where his typewriter sits are burned into my mind.

Hemingway writing. When I think of seriously writing, I think of Hemingway.

Most of this blog entry is a pep talk to myself – I’m not gonna lie.  I’m trying to talk myself up to taking a break.  I’m so focused on getting published, I’ve forgotten the most important thing is having something to publish.  It seems elementary, but I guess it’s hard to see the forest through the trees (or something like that).

So – I’m going to self-impose a hiatus on my obsessive reading.  I, Lydia Evans, being of sound mind (for the most part) and sound body (as sound as it can be for a 33 year old), do solemnly swear to take two weeks off from reading about literary publishing.  This hiatus includes tweets (even though they’re short, they don’t fool me.  They link back to articles which I’m helpless to pass on!), book deals on Publisher’s Weekly, and blog posts.

Hopefully this break (it’s not you, it’s me) will help me re-focus on writing, and less on reading about writing.

Criticism – I can take it!

Thank you Sir, I'll take another.

Thank you Sir, may I have another?

While trawling the blogosphere, I recently noticed a post from a fellow blogger who is also a freelance editor.  This blogger does a thing called “First Page Fridays” where she takes the first 500 words of an author’s unpublished manuscript, posts it on her blog, and then edits it, posting the edits and rating the first 500 words as a whole, on her blog.  I’m totally going to take her up on it!  The blog is by The Writeditor, and info on her “First Page Critiques” or “First Page Fridays” is at The Writeditor.  I’m 20% through my current round of revisions, but I can go back and spiffy up the first 500 words so I can submit them.

Why would I open myself up to such open criticism?  Because I want to make my book BETTER.  I was reading something posted on a blog, and the blogger asked people to review and comment on the material, but followed the request with, “be kind,” or something like that.  I thought to myself – how can you be kind when you criticize?  I guess that would fall under the “constructive criticism,” category, but anytime someone points out the deficiencies in your work, it’s not necessarily “kind.”  I mean you can do it without being a complete dick, but I wouldn’t say critiquing someone else’s work is “kind” either.

Take THAT!

Take THAT!

And I am totally okay with that.  So I’m going to submit my first 500 words to Ms. Ellen Brock and hopefully she’ll take a look at them and make some good suggestions at how to improve them.  It reminds me of that competition I entered where I submitted the first 250 words of my manuscript because, says the competition, potential readers review the first 250 words of a book before deciding whether to purchase it or not.  Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but it seems likely.  So I’m willing to give it a try and hope to get some good feedback I can use!  So bring it on!  I can take it!