Just very quickly going to remind you that if you have a burning desire to win an essay contest, but you don’t want to pay an entry fee, you still have time to enter the annual Funds For Writers Essay contest (no fee). Of course, you can also enter the annual Funds for Writers Essay contest (fee) as long as you have five bucks and can finish your essay by midnight on October 31st. The theme for this year is “diligence” and so may I suggest that you diligently set your butt in the chair and get writing those 750 words (or less).
And if you’d like to get in on some online hobnobbing with agents, editors and other writers, you might want to zip over to this spot and sign up for the WAE Network (Writers, Agents and Editors). I don’t know much else about this network except that it’s launching soon.
Somehow, I thought it had something to do with Kelly Milner Halls. But when I zipped over to her website, I didn’t see anything about this new network. What I did see, and what THRILLED me to my toes, was her new book, In Search of Sasquatch.
As I happen to have a burning desire to meet Bigfoot (or a Bigfoot), I’ll be rather busy reading all the stuff on her site. But you all should probably start writing that FFW essay.
That’s not a very catchy post title, but it does pretty much sum up the day’s catch.
If you’d like to read October’s column in Modern Senior Living
, check out page 13 for “My Not-So-Smart Phone.” (I could probably write a book about phones at the Hall house. One time, I walked into Juniorest Hall’s room and found this mangled mess of wires and such on his bed. Just before I threw it out, he yelled, “Wait! That’s my phone!” Which he was actually still
using. It was the phone I’d purchased 24 hours after I’d bought his first phone–but that’s another story.)
As you may remember, October is National Book Month, and I thought I’d update you on what I’m reading now: Bella at Midnight
by Diane Stanley (a middle grade novel with fairy tale overtones) and Bodies of the Dead And Other Great American Ghost Stories
(Did you know Edith Wharton wrote a ghost story? Neither did I, but there she is with Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Willa Cather, and Harriet Prescott Spofford. I don’t know Harriet Prescott Spofford from Adam’s house cat, but how many times do you come across a name with that many double consonants? When I finish this scary book, I’m giving it away in the All Hallow’s Read Giveaway.
Don’t forget to mention BOOk in a comment if you want your name in the cauldron.)
Janet Reid (yes, the literary agent, again) is having a contest
. You have till tomorrow (at noon) to write a 100 word themed Halloween story with the words she’s posted. You can win a critique from Barbara Poelle, and that’s pretty awesome for a micro-fiction story. (You get bonus points if you work in the word “insalubrious”. And yes, I know that you
know what insalubrious means, but I thought I’d give a quick definition for all those folks who may have taken a siesta during 10th grade Vocab drills: insalubrious=not conducive to health, unwholesome.)
Finally, just a quick mention of the writing tips you can find over at Finders & Keepers
this week. I mentioned that I attended an SCBWI conference and I wrote a “what I learned from whom I saw” post. It’s packed with stuff you can use, whether you’re a children’s writer or not. (Seriously. It’s kind of a long post. But no one will know if you skim it.)
And now, as my insalubrious tale won’t write itself, I have a story to find on this fine Friday. I’m pretty sure it’s rattling around in my head, somewhere.
Yesterday, I read a blog post from Janet Reid (the literary agent). What I spied with my little eye was the bit about the writer who was very, very good but she’d turned him down because she’d seen that story a dozen times. A debut novel needs to be something fresh and new, she said.
Over the weekend, I attended an SCBWI conference where Alexandra Cooper (an editor) mentioned that writers should do their homework, see what publishers are buying and pay attention to what kinds of books are glutting up the marketplace. But what if a writer’s been working on a book for a couple years and NOW the marketplace is glutted with her kind of story? What to do then? Ms. Cooper suggested that perhaps that “overdone” novel might need to stay under the bed for awhile. A debut novelist needs something…yep, fresh and new.
The last query response I received was very sweet. I can’t remember the agent’s name off the top of my head, but she personally answered the email. Loved the title, she said, loved the humor, and she felt that the writing was good and that the book would find a home. But this sweet agent already had something like my novel. Honestly? It’s not the first time I’ve gotten a response along those lines.
And so I’m considering, or perhaps I should say re-considering, whether this manuscript is the one I should be putting out there as a debut novel. I really love this story. I love these characters. And I want to tell more of their story. A story that may, if I keep pushing, sell sooner or later.
But is it fresh enough and new enough to be a debut novel? In the last three months, I keep hearing this message, and now it’s beginning to take on an ominous tone, like a warning. To wit: just because you can get your first book published…should you?
Which just goes to prove that October may be all about scary monsters and things that go bump in the night, but what really keeps a person wide awake and terrified is freakin’ reality and the choices we make that might affect the rest of our lives. (Boo!)