Tag Archives: contest

ROW 80 Check in 10-26-2011

What a week!  And it’s only Wednesday!

I actually finished the first draft of my short story.  It ended up at 2,259 words.  I originally wanted it for a writing contest that was 1500 words.  I could probably cut it down, but I would lose the feel and emotion of the story, so I guess this contest is out for me.  Stinky.  Anyone know of any 2500 word short-story contests?

My Beta-Buddy Jenny Keller Ford won first place for her short story “Baby” on the Midlife Collage Writers contest.  She was also a semi-finalist for Brenda Drake’s  Can you leave us breathless” contest.  Be sure to scoot over to her site and give her a cyber high-five.  She’s on a roll!

No, I was not a finalist in the “breathless” contest.  I read just about every entry.  I was the only middle grade story, so I was not surprised.  I couldn’t compete with sensual kissing, demons, death, gore, drugs, and murder.  Nope, even I will not do that to my kids J.    No biggie.  As usual, I learn something from every contest.  I think I even picked up some new followers from this one “Hi guys!”  I actually enjoyed reading a lot of those entries.  There are a lot of talented people out there.

Jury’s still out on the 50 word synopsis contest.  That one’s being judged by an agent… still holding my breath on that one.  HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT is more up the right alley for that contest.

Ugh.  The bad news.  I started out with 119,567 words in my novel, and I wanted to cut it down to 100,000.  Well…  Sigh. I was doing really great until I hit about page 100.  I had to remove an unnecessary POV and change it to the MC.  In the first draft, the character looks up and sees the MC doing something supernatural.  It was quick, it was easy.  Now, the MC has to feel it, experience it, all from within this huge encompassing scene.  Honestly, I really like how it is coming out.  There is much more feeling.  HOWEVER… now I have 119,845 words.  And that’s after 100 pages of editing done already!  Ugh.  I am in trouble.

Still not daunted!  Trucking along!

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?

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.

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!

YATopia Micro-Synopsis Writing Contest

There’s a Micro-Synopsis contest going on over at YATopia

Here’s the Scoop From the Yatopia Blog Site:


A Micro Synopsis competition is no small feat – it’s HUGE! And a real test of a writer’s ability to use economy of words.

So YA agent John Cusick from S©ott Treimel NY (can check out his tweets here and an interview with him here), wants you to woo him with not a one page synopsis, but a THREE SENTENCE synopsis that covers the set-up, story and ending (you don’t have to give away a twist/ending – but a taste of it to spark interest).

Your name
Your email
Promo link (blog post preferred,

Age Group (open to MG, 8 – 12, & YA, 13 – 18, only)
Word Count

The manuscript must be complete and ready for querying. John is open to nearly any genre, but says High Fantasy (dragons, dwarfs and elves) and Vampires are a hard sell at the moment, so you probably won’t get a request if you enter a MS in one of those areas.

There’s no limit on the number of entries (yes you can enter multiple times if you have more than one MS), but you MUST be a follower of the blog.

The all important prizes! The winner will get a full MS request and two runners up will get a request for the first 30 pages of their MS.

Remember this is NOT a pitch contest, so don’t just condense your query. The contest will be open until midnight 11 August. So start shrinking your synopsis!


A 35 word pitch for the past one was hard enough.  I’ll see what I can do with a three-sentence synopsis.  Who knows?  Gotta chew on this one a bit.

Get your groove on and Good Luck!

UPDATE:  Okay… Here’s what I am going with…

Overwhelmed by the power given to him by the Great Goddess, Magellan Talbot kills hundreds of people before he erases his memory in hopes of saving the galaxy from suffering a similar fate.  Undaunted, the Goddess surrounds her champion with friends who will unknowingly protect him as she maneuvers him toward the threat he was created to thwart. Without his memory, though, Magellan is vulnerable, and the Goddess must protect him from unknown enemies seeking to smother him.

Hey! I was a Semi Finalist in that Pitch and First 250 Words Contest!

This was pretty cool!

On July 19th I entered a contest.  Click here to see the blog post.  I didn’t really have high hopes.  It was my fist time out there.

On July 21st, I blogged about how good some of the other writer’s first pages were in Just how good are YOUR first 250 Words?

And YES!  The other entries were really good!  (Better than mine… which was the good learning part of this contest for me)

Anyway, imagine my surprise when one of the judges picked me as a semi-finalist based off my 35 word pitch!  I was so excited!  Here was my pitch…

A common boy unknowingly imprinted with the dangerous powers of the Goddess, must find a way to change his fate, and the fate of the galaxy, before a jealous prince manipulated by Darkness murders him. 

(Thanks, by the way, to my friend Jenny Keller Ford who helped me out with this.)

I tanked in the next round tough.  As I expected, my first page didn’t measure up to some of that great work that is out there.  The judge said “I really liked the pitch on this one. The opening paragraphs didn’t grab my attention though. It just wasn’t exciting enough.”

That’s okay, though.  I was really excited to be up there and have her say something positive about my pitch.

The great news is, before I went into this contest, I was fine with my first page.  As you saw in my earlier post… I realized when I chopped out my first 250 words, I saw that they weren’t as strong as I thought they were.

Guess what?  After this weekend, my fist 250 words are going to KICK BUTT.

I am really glad I decided to jump in head first and give that contest a try!  I cannot believe I almost went to query with an opening that might just have killed my story!