Category Archives: Writing Contests

Blog Contest: Just how good is your character’s voice?

Yay!  Another blog contest!

I haven’t done one of these in a while, and for the first time, I will not have to scramble to get my entry done.  (Especially since my Frozen Computer is working FINE)

This is a really great contest for everyone, because there are NO GENRES.  Yay!  And all you need is a first 250 pages.  Now, I think most of you have at least 250 pages written, so I firmly expect you all to jump all over this contest and give it a try.

Not that I want more competition, but these contests are GREAT.  It is a wonderful experience… not to mention you get to see what else is out there, and sometimes you get some feedback from new people, which I totally love.

So all of you be good little boys and girls and hop on over to  I see you guys bopping around here all the time, I’d love to read parts of your manuscripts.

Submit!!!! What do you have to lose????

Great Opportunity if your Manuscript is Finished… but it’s tomorrow! (Monday)

Robin Weeks tuned me in to this great contest.

“An Agent’s Inbox Contest”

Unfortunately, I will not be giving her any competition, although I’d love to take a shot at this.  For those of you lucky enough to be working tomorrow, (Monday) this might be tough (My company’s security won’t even let me access the internet on my own laptop.  Ugh.)  But for those of you who are free tomorrow…

If you have a completed, polished manuscript, you can post your query and first 250 words to this site just like you were submitting them to an agent… and guess what… YOU WILL BE.

Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary will be reviewing the queries and making comments on them.  It’s a great opportunity to get advice from a real agent on your query…  and BONUS — since she is a real agent, if your stuff is good, she can always ask you for a little more to read!

That’s almost enough to make me want to take a day off!

Good luck to all of you who are able to enter!

Jennifer Eaton

Help! What’s my bad-guy’s name?

I need some input.  My Bad-guy’s name is “Darkness”.  It didn’t really start out that way.  Darkness was just something to be afraid of, and then he developed into a person, and the name stuck.  I know “Darkness” has been used before.  Do you think it’s cliché?

I’ve also been playing with the name “Malice”  What do you think?

I’m entering the 50-word synopsis contest in a few days.  These are the two versions I came up with, depending on the name.

Darkness has descended upon the galaxy. Magellan Talbot, a poor miner’s son, has been chosen by their Goddess to defeat it. There’s one problem…. a tragic accident has erased Magellan’s memory. If he doesn’t regain it in time, evil will prevail. His task is simple, if he could only remember.
Malice threatens the galaxy from within. Magellan Talbot, a poor miner’s son, has been chosen by the Goddess to defeat it. There’s one problem…. a tragic accident has erased Magellan’s memory. If he doesn’t regain it in time, evil will prevail. His task is simple, if he could only remember.
So, which one do you think sounds better?

Calling All Fantasy Writers! – Awesome Contest!

This is a contest you HAVE to check out.  If you don’t write Fantasy, check it out anyway, new Genres will be coming up according to Lisa L. Regan

You need to have a completed novel to join, and all you need to enter is your 50 Word Pitch.

This is not a cheezy prize…  The three finalists will be picked by an agent.  The finalists will need to send in a synopsis and the Full Manuscript.  She will choose one for a FULL READ and a possible contract with Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency.

Spruce up those pitches!  You have until October 17th!

Another Blog Writing Contest. Can you make somone gasp?

Brenda Drake is sponsoring another blog contest for any genre.  The only catch is that you have to make her gasp.  Here’s to Halloween!

I’m not sure if I will be joining this one.  I’m not sure if I can make someone gasp in 300 words.  We’ll see.

Click below for details.  Good luck!

Visit Brenda’s Blog

Win a Copy of Smoke and Bone

Liza Kane is giving away a copy of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

Now honestly, I do not go out and regularly look for “the latest and the greatest novel released this week” (yeah, I know I should) and I’ve heard about this book.

Just jumping around blogs, I see this one has people buzzing, and it’s not out yet.   Funny, someone just sent me the first 45 pages of this very novel yesterday, and we were discussing the first page, but this wasn’t the first time I heard about it.

From the reviews, I think this is one in particular that I should give a read to… Either it’s Really Really good, or they are marketing geniuses.  (Maybe a little bit of both.  We should all take note of what’s going on here…  Word of mouth can take a novel VERY VERY far.)

Anyway, here’s a link to Liza’s blog where you can enter to win a copy.

I’ll get back to that manuscript tomorrow!

250 Word Entry Submitted!

Thanks to everyone who read and commented on my first 250 words. I just submitted, with 15 minutes to spare (my time — I could have taken two more hours with the time-zone thing)

The great thing about these contests is not the prizes, or winning or losing. It’s getting out there and reading other people’s work. It’s seeing what ELSE is in the pipeline.

Also, if you are lucky, you get people to read and critique your work who’ve never seen it before. That’s worth more than any prize they could give me.

A few people said they were confused, and didn’t get the flame reflection. Jenny didn’t even blink, because she’s read my novel like five times now. She just wanted me to expand.

This told me I needed to get a little more into that flame scene, because readers who don’t know what the flame represents need a little more of a push to “get” that there is something supernatural going on here. The trick is, to do that, and still get Magellan out the door within 250 words. In the original draft, I had him actually out the door, down the hall and stepping into the auditorium at 250. Now he is just stepping out the door.

The scene is richer though, and I think I’ve filled in the blanks that I needed to fill in. For me, that was the goal of the contest. It pushed me to really work on that ever so important first page, and I also got some brand new critiques.

I’ve already won.

First 250 Word Contest Entry

Here is my tentative entry for the Brenda Drake YA Writing Contest.  For details, click here. (It’s not to late to join in!)

This is the current draft of the first 250 words of my Sci-Fi / Fantasy novel HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT.

Any constructive criticism would be appreciated before I submit my entry on September 23rd.

Thanks for looking!


“I’m not gonna sit here locked in a closet all day.”  Magellan pulled out of his mother’s arms as his siblings whimpered and fidgeted behind her.

“Magellan, come back here.”  He could barely see her reaching for him in the darkness.

“No.  I can’t see.”  He leaned up to the small window.  The constant lightning flashes kept the auditorium at the end of the hall illuminated.  A sea of faces blanketed the stands.  People shouted and pointed downward from their seats.   He knew his father was on the bottom platform, just out of view.  “I wish I could see or hear something.”

“Get back mine scum!”  A guard slammed something against the opening.

“Ouch,” Magellan grabbed his forehead.  “Jerk.”

As he waited for the guard to leave, a reflection of flames danced across the metal locking plate, and it slid loose.  Did that actually happen?  It must have broken when he hit the window frame.  He touched it, and it fell to the floor.

His mother gasped.  “Magellan Talbot.  Don’t you dare…” But he was already through the door.

The guards were down the hallway, distracted by a small fire on the side of the wall.  This must be my lucky day.  He headed off in the opposite direction, into the auditorium.

The crowd yelled and threw fists in the air.  His father stood in the center of the platform, facing down a much taller man in a navy-blue uniform.  Lightning flashed through the windows on all sides of the chamber as Magellan took a deep breath, and stepped out.


There you have it!  Please let me know what you think!

YA First 250 Words Writing Contest

Here’s a simple YA writing contest for anyone who wants to get their feet wet in the contest world.  If you haven’t done a contest yet, I highly recommend these blog-based contests.  These are easy to join.  The prizes are not huge, but the experience is great.  It gives you a push, and I actually got some good feedback from one recently run on Brenda Drake’s blog a few months ago.  Here are the rules.  (This is on Brenda Drake’s Blog, not mine)

Here’s the link to her site.  Brenda Drake

On September 21st and 22nd post the first 250 words of your young adult or middle grade manuscript on your blog (you may skip this part, if you wish), and then hop around to each others’ blogs and give critiques. By midnight on September 23rd post your entry in the comments of the official contest post, which I will have up on September 21st so you can post anytime from then until midnight on September 23rd. It’s going to be midnight my time (Mountain Standard Time). I’ll have how you should enter your entry on the official post.

I’ll be re-vamping my first 250 words (again) and posting them on September 21st.  Please stop by and give me a critique before I drop it in front of the judges!

Also, if you are entering, please let me know by replying to this post, and I will be sure to look for your entries as well.

Good luck!

Revision time! (Using losing a contest to your advantage)

I mentioned last week that one of the judges in a writing contest I entered liked my pitch, but I didn’t make the finals because my first page was not “exciting enough”.  As any good writer would do, I used this as a learning experience, and I tossed my first page and started over.  Now, I didn’t really CHANGE anything per se.  I just started with a blank page, and re-wrote EXACTLY THE SAME SCENE keeping in mind the comment that the first one didn’t seem exciting.

I resisted the temptation of looking back at my original while I was writing, by doing this at a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT computer, and I’m glad I did.  Several times I stopped, and wished I could look back at my original manuscript. If I did, I probably would have ended up with something very similar to the first opening.

What’s odd, is this is really the same thing.  It’s a fight being witnessed by a child, but  the tone is extremely different.  When I look at my original now, my brain says, “what was I thinking?”

I passed this by my writer’s group this weekend, and they seemed to like it.

I think I love it.  Hopefully, I am finally where I need to be!

Here’s my revision.  Hopefully, it makes you bite your nails a little, and draws you in without getting you lost in the commotion of the argument.


A piece of spoiled fruit flew across the room and hit his father square across the jaw.  Magellan watched him wipe it away indifferently as the tall man started shouting at his father again.  The room erupted in shouts and jeers.

These people are insane, Magellan thought.

“Execute him, My Lord!” someone in the assembly yelled.

Execute him? Now I know they’re nuts.

His mother cringed, and held tightly to his crying siblings as they cowered around her.   The crowd screamed louder, nearly drowning out the roar of the rain on the huge windows surrounding the room.  She reached for him, and Magellan stepped back.  He had no desire to hide in her skirts.

He grasped onto a small black rock in his pocket, ready to throw it if he needed to as the people in the crowd took to their feet.   All Father did was say the moon orbiting planet Roria should be free.  Freedom is a good thing, isn’t it?What’s wrong with these people?

The tall man took a step toward his father, and leaned menacingly close to his face.  “Give me an example of one person on that moon that has asked for freedom.”

His father dropped his eyes.

“What are you doing, Father?” Magellan whispered to himself.  “Answer him.”  You’ve always taught us about how important freedom is.  Here’s your chance to speak your mind.  We’re at court.  Tell them.  Make them believe.  Explain to them that the High King is a tyrant!