Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dear Lucky Agent Contest on GLA

I love Writer's Digest. They are such an amazing resource for writers new and established. If you don't subscribe you should. At the very least you should be following them on twitter @WritersDigest - they tweet much useful information for us fledgling writers.

One such thing is the GLA - Guide to Literary Agents blog - which is having a contest. Yay! Who doesn't love a contest? They are such great opportunities for us writers. Often they offer things we could never get without, such as a critique from an agent. (priceless!) The contest that prompted this post is free! Yay! We all love free!


Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to

It's judged by Roseanne Wells is a literary agent at the Marianne Strong Literary Agency.

Here's the link if you are a sci-fi or fantasy writer with a completed manuscript. (adult or YA - no MG)

GO. ENTER! Today is the last day!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Funny things happen when someone besides you cares about your work.

Ok, so I’m not a published author. Yet! But I have let one of my babies out for more than just betas to critique and the response has been far better than I expected. It isn’t the first time I’ve given up copies of one of my works to readers in hope of a response that will help me grow as a writer but it is the first time that everyone has finished reading one and the response has been very positive.

Now that doesn’t mean there wasn’t feedback that caused me have to do more work. I had such great responses from everyone and they were all the same. “Give me more!” Yes that is an explanation point at the end of that quote and it is placed correctly because they were all enthusiastic about this request. So I did the part that isn’t nearly as fun for me, I went back and I re-read and I noted up my copy with places and things I could add to give them what they were asking for.

A funny thing happened though, when other people started to care about my work. It scared me. Before there were no expectations, there was no one that I had to answer to. Yes I did write with the hope of being published and knew that I would have people to answer to if that ever happens but at the time I was writing only for me.

Now when I try to write a follow up book I have all these people in my head. My readers, the agents who will read the revised version, and I worry about whether I’ll be able to deliver on the magic that they felt. Will the characters be true to the people they fell in love with and are so invested in?

It’s a little paralyzing to worry about so many people and I realized today that I’m just scared. Scared, not of failing but succeeding. I know that the book is special to me, whether or not it will be special to anyone else. The answer to that is already yes. Not everyone is going to love my book. I have no fantasy of that but there will be some and if I believe and keep trying, hopefully one of those people will be an agent who will be wildly enthusiastic about it.

So I’m going to set aside all those people in my head except the ones who want me to tell their story and I’m going to sit down and tell it for them and for me. The rest will fall in line.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don’t give up, don’t back down.

I work for an insurance administrator. What that means is that I interpret insurance contracts all day long and either; 1) explain them to members or providers so they understand the benefits, or 2) check out claims people call with questions on and make sure they are processed correctly.

If they are not processed the way I interpret the benefits then I send them back to the examiner to correct them. Sometimes I have to fight with them to make them see things the way I do. It can get very frustrating and some people might give up or be influenced to see the way the examiner has interpreted the plan.

Occasionally I am wrong and I can see that when my request is rejected with an explanation as to why. Often though I am right and because I’m passionate about helping people, but more than that, I’m good at what I do. When I know I’m right I fight for it.

Life is kind of the same way. Often times we let what other people say or think influence us into believing other people’s interpretation of something is correct. Sometimes it is, but life, unlike an insurance claim, isn’t usually black and white. Even if someone’s view is right it doesn’t always mean it is right for our situation.

The point of this post is that sometimes in spite of what other people say, even people who really know what they are talking about. If you’ve weighed a situation, taken the comments of others and truly reflected on them and you still feel strongly about something. Sometimes you just have to let that passion take you where it will, you have to fight. And sometimes you win.

Those kinds of wins are often the most rewarding.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Utensil of Justice

This is my flash fiction for the #Storycraft challenge. The challenge was to write a piece of flash fiction from the POV of an inanimate object.

The red and blue strobing lights are relaxing. It helps me to not think about what might have happened.

It was a day like any other day. He asked her how her day was. She responded, “Same as usual.” He went back to eating his chicken and black beans but there was a glint in his eyes. It reflected in my surface. That is what first alerted me. I think she saw it too.

He laid me down on his plate and reached into his pocket. I couldn’t see what he held, concealed in his hand as he asked her if she had anything she’d like to tell him. She looked nervous. I was too.

She shook her head quickly and set her fork down on the table biting at her lower lip. I knew that look. She was shutting down. The yelling was coming. She usually nodded and stared back blankly as he ranted. It kept the hitting to a minimum.

Tonight, though he wouldn’t be placated by anything less than blood and pain. Whatever she’d done, he wanted her to suffer for it.

He held open his hand and though I still couldn’t see what was in it. She could. Her eyes grew wide. She stood up and stumbled back, away from the table, away from him. She turned, without a word and ran for the door.

He grabbed me off his plate and was on her just as she reached for the doorknob. He swung, she ducked. I sunk deep, biting into the wood. He pulled me free and lunged again but she hit us both with something. He cursed as I was thrown to the floor several feet away.

Somehow she was on her knees and he was on the floor behind her. She crawled toward me but he was gaining on her. He pushed her to the ground and flipped her so she was facing him.

He started choking her. That’s when I felt her fingers brush across my handle. She struggled and finally pulled me into her tiny hand. It was cold and shaky. I hoped, for her sake it was strong enough to use me as he’d intended to.

I’m just a fork but tonight I was an instrument of justice, righting a wrong that has gone on far too long. If I could tell my story, that is what I would tell the young officer that is questioning her now.


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