Saturday, August 24, 2013

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

I’m realizing with this blog that when it comes to writing, a lot of days go by with nothing new to report.  Either I’m ‘still writing,’ or ‘still waiting,’ or ‘still writing and waiting.’  So since I am new to Minnesota, I thought I would post about our experiences getting to know our new home. 

My husband and I were waiting at the airport when I spotted a brochure for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival!  Now I’ve never been to a Renaissance Festival which may surprise anyone who knew me in high school.  (I saw Shakespeare’s HENRY V when I was about 14 and it literally changed my life.)  But really the thing that caught my eye was the Pet Themed Weekend!!  As a proud owner of a one-year-old Papillon, I couldn't resist.    

Hugo as Robin Hood.


  Better shot with his dagger.

Unfortunately, we didn't win the doggy costume contest.  We lost to a 130 pound dog wearing a woman's medium-sized butterfly costume--you can't really compete with that--but we had a good time.

   

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Reading Room Aspiring Writers Competition

WriteOnCon is officially over.  I’m a little disappointed I didn't get any direct feedback from agents.  (I know… I know… it's a big deal to be ninja’d i.e. having them contact you for a submission but even one comment would have been nice.)  On the bright side, it was so helpful to have feedback from all of the amazing writers in the forum so it was well worth it.  I am looking forward to participating next year!


I wanted to mention another online competition hosted in part by WriteOnCon.  It’s for aspiring young adult and middle grade writers at The Reading Room which is a website similar to Goodreads.  I believe you have to sign up for the site and then submit your first 500 words here by AUGUST 16th. Tomorrow!  The winner receives a cash prize and an opportunity to be considered by dream agent, Catherine Drayton.  That alone should inspire everyone to enter.  

You can also read more about it at the WriteOnCon website here.  


Good luck!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I've learned so far at WriteOnCon …

The WriteOnCon conference has officially started!  I posted all of my work on the forums (a query letter, first 250 words and first 5 pages) and so far, I've received a lot of great feedback.  It's been a process but I've revised my query letter at least 4 times and tweaked my writing sample.  I think everything is much stronger now so I’m glad I decided to participate!

One thing I've learned from scrolling through the forums and reading everyone else’s work is how important it is to have a good query letter!  These things are tricky to write but a good one stands out from the rest.  I’m certainly not an agent but after reading query after query I can see how they all start to sound the same.  When I find a good one (or one I really like) it pops out instantly.  Then I dissect it to see what makes it good.

Carly Webber, an agent from CK Webber Associates, posted this on the forum about her process of going through her slush pile.  I can see now how quickly she has to decide whether or not to move on to the sample pages since there are just so many queries to read!  And she herself says she gives only about one minute per query.  I guess the take home message is make your query letter clear and concise!!  I know… easier said than done.

Also, if you’re even thinking about sending in a query, you need to watch this Google Hangout Event with literary agents Suzie Townsend and Kathleen Ortiz from New Leaf Media.  They review twitter pitches and give their reactions.  I found this to be so helpful (even if you don’t do twitter pitches which I never have) since it helped me see the process from their point of view. 



Sunday, August 4, 2013

WriteOnCon

I've been searching the blogs for info on literary agents (since I'm putting together a wish list) and came across this post by YA writer Rachel Pudelek who just signed with Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis. 

It was so great to read what she went through and gave me a lot of renewed hope. I would check it out if you are also struggling getting your story noticed. Rachel--thanks for sharing and let us know when your book comes out!!


 
She also mentioned the WriteOnCon Forum.  I've never heard of this before!  I guess it pays to troll the blogs once in a while.  This looks really cool although when I saw the list of participating agents I felt a little faint.  Not only are they really awesome agents but unfortunately I queried a bunch of them earlier this year with the not-so-great version of my story.  Many of them rejected me.  Hopefully this time around, they'll see that MOD is a brand new story and give it a second chance!

Yesterday afternoon (after I launched my new website), I posted my query letter and writing samples of MOD up on the WriteOnCon forum.  It's only been one day and already I’m receiving so much great advice from my fellow writers!!  Especially on that stupid query letter!   I think that thing is harder to write than the novel itself.
  
So I'm off to work re-writing my stuff on the forum.  It's also been fun reading and contributing to other writers' stories.  

WriteOnCon officially starts August 13th but you can start posting anytime!  I'm also curious to see how the live events will go.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Website!

Relaunched my new website and added a new blog component to it!  That's why there's not too much info on here yet...  I decided I wanted something simple and clean.  Plus I needed to update it with my new finished story.

MOD is complete and out to a couple of readers for final feedback.  Hopefully it won't come back needing too many revisions.  (I already had one reader tear it apart earlier this summer which was a very difficult day for me.  After re-working his comments into my story, I can see now it was completely necessary.)

While I'm waiting for comments from them, I decided to get going on my query letter and synopsis--two horrible, dreaded hateful things.  I already queried an earlier version of MOD (under a different title) at the beginning of this year and had some decent feedback.  I got two full requests and one partial from three amazing agents.  In the end, they all passed.  That's when I went back to work and pretty much rewrote the entire thing.  Everything changed--the premise, the storyline, even the title.  I feel that it's so much better.  Honestly, it's not even the same story anymore even though some of the world-building concepts are the same.  When I look at the old ms, I cringe knowing I actually sent that thing out.  My biggest mistake was that I didn't let anyone read it--I was too eager and sent it out prematurely.  

I'm not going to make the same mistake again so hopefully my last two readers will get back to me with some good comments and I can polish up MOD for the final push.