I have yet another playground on the internet – Miss Snark’s First Victim’s blog. Self described as a blog for aspiring authors, the site’s mistress “Authoress” is currently hosting a Secret Agent contest. Aspiring authors send in 250 word entries to be critiqued by a faithful following of bloggers as well as the Secret Agent of the month, who is actually a literary agent. Get this – the Secret Agent comments on every entry that makes the cutoff. A guaranteed agent critique! This month’s call for submission included romance so I jumped into the fray.
I’m getting some great pointers in my entry and reading the other entries is really helping me get a sense of what works in an opening. There are some very conscientious and thoughtful critiquers following this blog. Many of them are familiar with each other’s works, commenting that “they like the changes” or “it’s come a long way”. I might have to hang around a little more, though the last thing I need is another internet vortex.
It was 6:00 am Wednesday. I woke up and groggily turned on my laptop. I had a workout I had to rush to at 6:30, but for some reason I thought I’d check out Rachelle Chase’s blog…just to see.
My words! The opening for Butterfly Swords. I couldn’t smile wide enough. I started e-mailing people and gushing. I compared it to a couple of my writing buddies as the “I’m on TV” feeling. My writing is on the Internet. Okay, I know it’s easy to post something to the Internet…look I’m doing it right now. But it was so cool to be recognized…and of course I’m jittery about the amazing agents and editors that Ms. Chase has gathered for the panel.
You can keep on entering every week for this contest. (It’s still open by the way!) So I had entered every week for four weeks, alternating between “Butterfly Swords” and “Silk and Seduction”. I was kind of worried she would be darn tired of seeing that thing again, but the rules allow it so there had to be a reason, right?
Persistence paid off! And though this was the same story that finaled in “Hook, Line & Sinker”, I had revamped the entire opening based on other contest feedback. I switched it to start in the heroine’s POV and in a more action packed spot. It had to mean something that more than one judge would point out that the opening was just okay compared to the rest of the entry. So even if people love your writing – pay special attention to the comments you get repeatedly!
So, come by and browse the finalists. Get your 1000 words together to enter. It’s free and you may final or win the mini-crit. One of my chapter-mates finalled two years ago and that’s how she got the editor request that led to her first sale. And you can learn a lot by reading the openings that finalled or won the mini-crits. Rachelle Chase and Leigh Michaels are really making an effort to comment constructively and provide a learning opportunity.
Oh yeah, and if you honestly feel “Butterfly Swords” was the most compelling, come by and vote for it from March 4 to March 11. 🙂
Excerpt from Butterfly Swords