Christmas Flash Fiction Contest

tgnalogorevampOver at The Great Noveling Adventure, we are celebrating Christmas the best way writers know how, by writing some Christmas-themed flash fiction.

But that’s not all, we’re inviting you to do the same. From now until December 22nd, we are having a flash fiction contest. Using the picture prompts, write a 500-1000 word piece to enter. We’ll be posting the top three submissions on Monday, December 23rd and the voting will begin. The winner will receive a shiny gift package. Visit our site for details.

You can also stop by and read my own flash fiction story, The Christmas Train.

June #writemotivation Week 3

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. progress made this week on the goals.  I hope to make some serious progress this weekend when I’m spending time with a bunch of writers. Uninterrupted time to write and discuss all things of a literary nature for an entire weekend?

Ah! It’s my favorite kind of getaway.

We’re also going to be celebrating because one of our own just received a book deal on a much-beloved and much-anticipated manuscript. (I’m so excited for you, Gwen!) I can’t wait to own a copy. I’ll tell you all more about her story when it’s closer to publication time.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend!

Here are my #writemotivation goals for June:

1. Submit Museum Crashers (MG mystery) to editor who requested the full. I swear I’m almost ready. Next week is the final deadline!

2. Submit Institutionalized (YA contemporary) to five more literary agents. DONE!

3. Work on first draft of Pretty Vacant (YA contemporary). No progress on this one.

4. Read at least five books – review one on the blog. I’m more than halfway done with Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. I looooved The toprow-03-onWednesday Wars and this is the companion to it – so perfectly everything I want in a middle grade.

5. Work on outlining new blog project idea. DONE!

6. Exercise 3 times each week. Done and DONE!!! I may actually be getting used to this.

7. Finish critique of friend’s manuscript. Still no progress on this one – must at least get through a few chapters next week or hang my head in shame.

Kind of hit and miss, but I love that I have at least some goals completed. Feels good! How are all of you doing with your goals?

Quote of the day:

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
– Douglas Adams

Kind of how I’m feeling right now…whoosh!

June #writemotivation Week 1

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. new month with new #writemotivation goals. Woohoo! Let’s get this party started! If you missed the signup this month, we’re now doing this every month, so you can sign up for July near the end of June. You can also follow the chat on Twitter at the hashtag, #writemotivation. Feel free to join in the conversations as well. All who need motivation are welcome.

Here are my goals for June:

1. Submit Museum Crashers (MG mystery) to editor. Almost done with this; a few more chapters to go and it will be ready.
2. Submit Institutionalized (YA contemporary) to five more literary agents. I’ve already submitted to three agents this week, so I don’t think this goal will be too hard to achieve – it’s the waiting afterwards that will probably kill me. Funny that I’m not so worried about getting rejected anymore, I just hate all the waiting. Maybe I need a goal for working on patience.
3. Work on first draft of Pretty Vacant (YA contemporary). Haven’t started this goal, yet, but the week is early.
Asunder-FINAL-200x3004. Read at least five books – review one on the blog. Racing through book 1 – Asunder by Jodi Meadows. I have two other books that I’m halfway through, but those are taking me longer to read.
5. Work on outlining new blog project idea. Still percolating in the old noggin. Need to put some time in on this one.
6. Exercise 3 times each week. I’m so sore after my first day of swimming, I can barely move without wincing. I can’t even tell why some areas are hurting; I didn’t think I used every muscle for this activity. I’m actually okay with the rain, today. My body needs a rest.

And I’m going to add a seventh goal:

7. Finish critique of friend’s manuscript. It’s so overdue it’s embarrassing. Good thing my friend it so patient with me! I promise I WILL finish it this month.

A good healthy list for this month, don’t you think? That should keep me busy and motivated. Speaking of motivation, here’s a quote I found inspiring:

“Failure: is it a limitation? It’s a lot of things. It’s something you can’t be afraid of, because you’ll stop growing. The next step beyond failure could be your biggest success in life.”

– Debbie Allen

Let’s all pledge to keep growing. Here’s to another great month of #writemotivation!

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Entangled Mega Pitch Event

An excellent opportunity is coming up for writers out there with finished novels ready to practice their pitches. Brenda Drake is hosting a fantastic event along with the folks at Entangled Publishing on July 16th called the Entangled Mega Pitch. See her blog for the details here.

I know, I know. Blech! Pitches are worse than queries, you’re probably thinking. I used to think so, too. But recently I’ve forced myself to work on my query – and apparently after getting some mixed feedback from the Surprise Agent Invasion Contest, I really needed the practice. I tell you, after I kicked and screamed and held my breath and then actually sat down at my computer and then banged my head on my keyboard in frustration trying to write a query that anyone even liked, I finally started getting some positive results.

Mind over matter.

I really had to stop thinking that I couldn’t write a query and look at what a query is supposed to convey. It’s not supposed to tell us the entire plot of the novel, it’s supposed to give us the feel of the novel and entice us to want to read MORE.

Nathan Bransford boiled it down to “When X happens, your main character must do Y in order to Z”. Here’s a more detailed blog post he did called Query Letter Mad Lib for those who need help unraveling the beast that is the query letter. Actually Bransford’s site is a veritable cornucopia of useful information that all serious writers should plunder on a regular basis.

Once I finally felt I had conquered, or at least had a fair grasp on the query situation, another challenge beckoned – the The Writer’s Voice Twitter Pitch. Now I had to get my novel across in even less words? Are you crazy? Still, I thought I needed to be able to talk to people about my novel without rambling on like a blithering idiot, a rather awkward memory of just such a situation happening recently popped into my head. I shuddered, then realized I had to try it.

This one hurt my brain even worse than the query, but I did manage to eek out an entry just under 140 characters in time to participate. The one thing that shocked me during the manic activity of the twitter pitch was seeing some writers that had so many variations of their pitch. Seriously? They managed to come up with more than one workable pitch THAT SHORT? What was I doing wrong?

I needed more practice. And to stop being so rigid at how I was looking at my pitch. Trying out several different ideas and angles can sometimes be inspiring and help you find the one that really works best. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at both. I think these contest are great places to practice out your pitches and get some good feedback to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Recently someone asked me what my book was about and I sent them my elevator pitch. They were not only impressed that I had an elevator pitch ready off the cuff like that, but they also thought my pitch sounded like something they would want to read. Not that this was any guarantee that at the next social gathering I won’t blather on like an idiot about something, but at least it won’t be about my book.

So what are you waiting for? Brush up your pitch and give it a try! Hope to see you at the mega pitch!