SFFpit – a recap

June 15th: Shit shit SHIT there’s something called #SFFpit and it’s happening NEXT WEEK. I can’t do it. I’m going to do it. I’m not ready to do it. I’M GOING TO DO IT.

June 18th: Dear every writer I know – want to swap twitter pitches?

June 19th-20th: *crickets*

June 21st: Okay, no one is interested, I guess I’ll go back to being a failure at life WAIT WAIT SHIT PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED.

June 22nd: *frantically trades pitches* Ha! I totally know what I’m doing. Dammit, I’m a total failure. Why are these people so much more awesome than meeeeeee

June 23rd, 4am EST: Dum de dee, I’ll just tweetdeck all my tweets so that they activate at the right time. Then I can go about my day and be all productive.

June 23rd, 6am EST: Did it wrong. I’m going to adjust all my tweetdeck tweets.

June 23rd, 6:30am EST: Did it wrong. I’m going to adjust them back.

June 23rd, 7:25am EST: Did it wrong – you know what, I’m just going to take a walk.

June 23rd, 8am EST: THE FALCON HAS LEFT THE NEST. THE EAGLE HAS LEFT THE EYRIE. WHY AM I SAYING THESE THINGS.

June 23rd, 8:08am EST: A HEART, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE A HEART. I’M GOING TO GET ALL THE HEARTS.

June 23rd, the next 7 hours and 52 minutes: *crickets. No productivity is accomplished. Computer monitor is watched like a bucketful of roaches on the verge of tipping.*

June 24th: I got me a heart and it is MADE OF AWESOME.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how my SFFpit went. For anyone left out in the cold, take a look here.

 

Contests, workshops and pushing for sameness in an altered world

Seriously, this week.

When logging on to write a blog post, I realized I’d intended to go over my impressions of the 1st 5 pages workshop in which I participated. The workshop took place over 3 weeks, and was an intensive look at the first 1250 words of my YA fantasy manuscript. All the participants commented on each other, and each participant got an additional 3 comments from experts in the field. An agent will be commenting as well, and choosing one entry as the lucky recipient of a partial request (and hopefully a critique).

I really felt the value of this workshop, and if you’re working on a YA novel, you should definitely go for it. Getting in-depth feedback, week after week, meant that we could build on our shifting understanding of our fellow authors and their work to give (and receive) increasingly detailed feedback. This didn’t just help me improve my first five pages. I was able to make my entire first chapter tighter, and I hope that I’ll continue to keep my fellow workshoppers’ tips in mind as I go through my manuscript yet again. Thank you, my beautiful first five pages people!

My motto for this week seemed to be seize the week, because on Thursday I decided to go in for two more contests: the red light/green light competition and SFFpit on twitter.

Red light/green light is a stop-and-go competition, in which the first line of 50 finished, ready-to-query manuscripts will be put up on the web site and judged by an agent. Once she’s found 25 that she likes, she’ll look at the first 2 sentences of those 25 manuscripts. That gets boiled down to 10 entrants and their first page, which gets boiled down to 5 entrants and their pitch. I actually have no idea whether I’m in this contest; the first 50 to send in their forms get put on the web site and I won’t know if I made the cut till Thursday. But I’ll be following the contest no matter what, because I think it will provide incredible insight as to how these first isolated sentences grab readers who have never seen our work before.

SFFpit is a twitter event for science fiction and fantasy authors to pitch their finished manuscripts in 140 characters. I think I’ll be doing a separate blog post on SFFpit.

SFFpit was bowled over for me by the political news. I’ve ranted about that on my personal facebook, so I’m not going to go over that here. But when you take an emotional blow, for whatever reason, setting all that aside and working on something that seems mundane and pointless in comparison – well, it’s not easy. And seeing as I’m waiting on a few last critique partners, I didn’t want to throw myself into editing without their feedback. I needed to make something new.

I wasn’t very good at it.

However, here’s to the future, for all of us. I had a good week until Friday morning, I learned a lot, I got excited, and I connected with some fantastic writers. I’m not going to write that off.

I’m in the 1st 5 pages workshop

I was super excited to get into YA Publishing Adventures’ 1st 5 pages workshop. The idea is that five writers submit the first five pages of a YA manuscript, each of which is critiqued not just by the other participants, but by mentors that have experience in the field.  Over the course of 3 weeks we revise and resubmit our pages, finishing with a pitch and the first five pages which are submitted to a literary agent.

The workshop is free and takes place once a month, but there were only five spaces available so as soon as I read about it I knew I’d have to be fast.

I prepared the application the night before, and made sure that everything was just as I’d been instructed. I read and re-read the instructions, sent the email to myself to make sure everything would be fine, and queued up the final application in my saved drafts to be sent out as soon as the submission window opened the next day.

The window usually closes in under a minute, so I set my alarm to three minutes to noon. I watched the clock obsessively until it ticked over to the hour. But I still wasn’t sure I’d get it, not until the email confirmation.

I’m most excited to see what critiques of the first five pages will tell me about the rest of my writing. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of good intel that I can apply to the whole manuscript.

Anyone can follow along with the workshop, so if you’re wondering if it’s something for you, go take a look! You might want to submit for next month!