Saturday, October 27, 2012

Novel Ideas for Novel Contests

Novel Ideas for Novel Contests – or…what NOT to do when entering your manuscript in a novel-writing contest.

I’ve been a first-tier level judge for a prestigious novel-writing contest for about five years now. First-tier? Yeah, that means I’m important. Okay, maybe not. What it’s supposed to mean is that at least one someone else has already read through the entries and has sent me the very best of those. Now I get the final word. Or something like that. Sounds important, anyway.

You can imagine, I’m sure, that this gives me a lot of material for a writing advice column. Yet, each year, how MUCH material I get out of the contest surprises and somewhat distresses me. When I judge, I’m filling out a form containing four categories: 1. Plot/Story; 2. Narrative/Dialogue; 3. Characters/Descriptions; and 4.Overall Impression. This year, I believe, an additional category should be added: 5. Formatting.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Timing Is Everything: Facebook Tutorial

I discovered something interesting by accident last week. How many times have you said to yourself Damn, I wish I could schedule my Facebook updates so that they’d post at a later time? Well, guess what? Now you can – at least from your “page” anyway. (I’ve not seen a way to do it from my personal profile.)

So, go to your page, and start typing in an update to all your fans. You can even upload a photo – anything you want to schedule to post at a later date. The strange thing about this (if you haven’t already “set it up”) is that once you click the little clock in the bottom left-hand corner of your posting window, you go to another screen, and moving forward will blow away what you’ve written. Make sure to copy it before you do anything else. NOW, click on the little clock.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tutorial: Setting Up Your Empire

It was one of those things: a chance encounter filled with intrigue and temptation. He had intense, dark eyes with a powerful passion smoldering just below the surface. I was drawn to him. Next thing I knew, we were standing face-to-face, and he was saying things to me in French that made me swoon. Of course I kept my cool. I didn’t want Mr. Tall, Dark and Dangerous to know that he’d gotten under my skin.

Then, in his incredibly sexy Middle-Eastern accent, he said something to me. It was lyrical and captivating and it rhymed. “You’re the author K. S. Brooks. May I ask you a question about my books?”

“Of course,” I breathed, all sultry-like, seductively brushing my forefinger along my lower lip. Just between you and me, I was checking to make sure I hadn’t drooled on myself. Ha! My lip was dry. While he told me about his book, I imagined him riding across the desert on a fine Arab charger (thank you for that, Mick Jagger) and then when he said “I’m going to get an agent and a publisher,” I snapped back to reality. Then came the glare off his wedding ring, blinding me like a spotlight from a police car during a “routine” stop. Nice buzz-kill. Thanks a lot.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to Lose a Novel Writing Contest

See, everyone reacts differently. Reading a really bad manuscript doesn’t make me want to cry. It makes me angry. No, I’m not kidding. I wish I were. This article could also be called “How to Make Me Stop Reading Your Entry” because clearly you didn’t take the time or make the effort to have someone else read what you wrote first. Among other things.

Honestly, NOT having someone else read your first chapter before submitting it ANYWHERE is clearly insane. That first chapter is your hook…that first chapter is going to dictate whether the reader keeps reading…and in my case, if the judge keeps judging. Yes, I’m back on the novel writing contest again. Hopefully, someone will gain some sort of insight from the awful, awful things I’ve seen. My eyes! (Cue music from Gone with the Wind.) Okay, I may be exaggerating just a little bit. My eyes don’t actually hurt, my brain does.

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