September 30, 2013

Wrapping Up September

October will be upon us in less than ten hours – eep!  

Truthfully, I had intended to be further along in my WIP.  I had hoped, at the very least, to be finished with the first draft.  Unfortunately, that hasn't quite happened, partially because of unforeseen opportunities, such as Pitch Madness and Secret Agent, which suffused September.  Though these opportunities did draw me away from writing my WIP, they were a wonderful experience, and I cannot regret participating.  For that matter, I am hoping to submit to another pitch contest in October: Trick or Treat with Agents!

Despite not meeting my writing goal, September has ended on a high note, as I found out yesterday that my final Flash! Friday piece of the month actually won!  I received some generous feedback which was truly encouraging, and I want to thank everyone who took the time both to read and to share their impressions!

This past week's Flash! Friday judge, Kinza Carpenter Shores, wrote:
This piece really caught me within the very first line. For hooks, the first paragraph was one of the most intriguing I’ve read. I loved the sardonic humor and how I was kept guessing about where the story was going until the very end. The imagery and diction in this piece were excellent without being superfluous.

It is quite gratifying to end this month at this invigorating point.  Though October will inevitably be filled with its own ups and downs (hopefully more ups than downs!), I am excited to see what it will bring!

September 27, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #43

Flash! Friday is upon us! Almost at the deadline, but here is this week's story: 150 words, +/- 5 on this photo:

September 23, 2013

Contest Critiques

September has so far been saturated with all manner of contests, and several more results are still forthcoming.  The contests I have entered can be split into two categories: brief, online contests, such as Pitch Madness, and those hosted by chapters of the Romance Writers of America.  

One of the benefits of online contests is quite frankly the speed of the turnaround.  On the one hand, because these contests include live teasers through Twitter or comments from blog readers, the amount of stress is exponentially higher.  On the other hand, such contests are an ideal example of the strength and support of the writing community.  People get together beforehand, with some offering their sites as forums, to perfect their submissions; words of encouragement are generously exchanged throughout; and new connections are forged.  In my case, these contests really pushed me to focus on my pitch and first page (which has been revised many times this month).

Though RWA chapter contests tend to have a turnaround time between 6 and 10 weeks, they deal with larger portions of text and, unlike other contests of which I know, many provide detailed judges' feedback on each entry.

The juxtaposition of these many contests in such a short period of time has crystalized for me the importance of evaluating the source of a critique as much as its content.  Not all criticisms are created equal.  Same goes for judges, and even for the contests themselves.

September 20, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #42

In a much-needed break from rewriting K&S's first page for the thousandth time this week, it is time for Flash! Friday!  300 words, +/- 10 on this photo: 

Odd Fellows Home for for Orphans, Indigent, and Aged

September 17, 2013

Back in the Game

My apologies as it has been much too long since I have written! It has been an incredibly hectic several weeks, filled with contests (Pitch Madness, PitMad, & Secret Agent), results from 2 RWA chapter contests, rewrites, a brief vacation, holidays, and so much more.  But now I'm back and ready to jump back into a more regular posting schedule, finish my second novel, and of course rejoin the virtual writing community.  

Much as I love posting as frequently as I have something on my mind, I am thinking now about sticking to a more regular posting schedule.  So, from here on out, I will try to post on Mondays and for the Flash! Friday contests. I will of course continue to welcome guest posts, host touring authors, and share exceptional news as it arises! 

Up next: a reflection on the role of contests and how to value & use judges' feedback.

September 9, 2013

Review: Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

A while back, I hosted Donna Huber on my blog as part of her own book tour promoting her recent release, Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.  Donna was gracious enough to offer me a review copy, in exchange for my honest review.  Here goes: 

I have first-hand experience as a host for authors who used Girl Who Reads' blog tour services, so I was not at all surprised that this book laid out a clear, effective, and organized method for planning a blog tour.  It also advocates a professional and courteous approach to bloggers, which is unsurprising but invaluable advice for those questioning whether their communication should be casually friendly (we are a friendly community, after all!) or more formal.

September 6, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #40

The craziness has been unprecedented around here, lately! Today was filled with unpredictable disruptions of all kinds, but despite it all, I did finally manage to write a Flash! Friday story – and I even submitted it before the deadline! 

This week's prompt swung in the opposite direction of last week's, with this black-and-white photo.  The word count, however, remained almost the same, with a limit of 300 +/- 5.  Your comments are, as always, quite welcome! 

Bridge girl. Photo by Scott Liddell.

September 1, 2013

Muse Word Count

With everything else going on, progress has been slow, but it has in fact been happening! 

I'm currently a bit concerned as to the point I have reached in the story arc vs. the current word count.  I am not sure this story will reach even 60,000 words.  Then again, I felt that way when I was writing K&S, and I still maintain the most important factor with word count is serving the story.  

So, I am making every attempt not to worry about it until the plot is finished.  I did see a tweet recently from an author who added 13,000 words to her manuscript in the editing stage – so everything could still change.  With that in mind, I'm not changing my target word count in this widget, at least for now.