Thursday, June 28, 2012

Connecting with Other Writers

Earlier this month I wrote a post about online contests for writers and I kinda wanted to expand on that. Not necessarily about the contests themselves, but about the people you can meet from doing them.

I entered quite a few pitch contests and such in the last few weeks and after the first few, I realized there were names and pitches I was starting to remember from the other contests. Well, somehow late one night several of us that had gotten requests from one of the contests were all on twitter together in a hashtag and we started talking. It was really neat to get to know these people that had been strangers to me before these contests. We encouraged each other, speculated on on-going contests, and just enjoyed each other's virtual company.

Well, one thing lead to another, and now amazingly enough a core group of four of us ended up starting our own group. On twitter we're the #twitwits and on facebook we have a group on there under the same name. Since starting this group, we have worked together to get a contest of our own ready (since that's what brought us together--it's still being finalized, but when it's ready I will post more about it!), we've added people to the group, and started a section on our FB group to share critiques. It's pretty amazing the support that everyone shows on it and I'm so glad to be a part of it. Soon we're even hoping to have our own site/forum/blog/thing.

It's been an amazing experience meeting these people, learning about them, working together, and just encouraging each other. So if there's any advice I can offer to you all, it's to get out there--in person, online, or both!--and meet other writers. Share your experiences and offer support. There really is nothing quite like having a group of people you can go to that will understand you and all the craziness that comes with writing. So go on, join those contests for the prizes AND the people, get to know those bloggers you follow, find friends on twitter (the hashtag chats are an awesome way to do this!), or whatever else you need to. There's an amazing community of writers out there waiting for you to join in!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baby Cuteness!

Erm. So I was gonna do an actual post related to writing, but I'm actually on vacation (and by vacation, I mean I'm help my twin sis with her toddler b/c she just had a new baby!) and I'm also busy getting some awesome stuff ready (writing contest) with some amazing people.

So instead of an intellectual post about one writing technique over another (or some such thing like that!), I'll just bribe you all to stay tuned with adorable baby pictures and teasers about the upcoming awesomeness headed this way. This contest is bigger than just my blog and is full of WIN, by the way!

So without further ado, CUTE BABIES!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pitches, and Contests, and Nerves! Oh my!

Oh man, guys. I'm sorry I haven't posted anything lately. (I feel like I've said that the last few posts) BUT this time I kinda of have a reason. I've been in the process of moving from one house to another and it was a lot of work. Plus, it's the end of the school year and that's always a little busier for me with getting everything finished up with my students and getting stuff ready for summer school too. Anyway, on to today's post!

I gotta be honest here, guys. I kind of struggled with deciding to write up this post or not. On one side, I didn't want it to come off like bragging, and on the other side, it forces me to open up and expose myself a bit. Let me explain.

See, the other week, there was a contest on Twitter. It was a pitch contest under the hashtag #WVTP where, within a certain time frame, you could pitch your manuscript to several agents that would be reading the thread. (If you don't know what a pitch is, it's a quick sentence or two about your ms that should entice the reader to it)

(why yes, I found the strangest photo of a pitch that I could. And no, sadly, I am not really a Star Wars fan. But my twin sister--so it's kinda like me-- is, if that makes up for it.)

Well, I randomly saw someone in my feed tweet their pitch and it made me wonder why because at that point, I didn't know about the contest. So I went onto the hashtag and then the host's website and found out more about it. The problem was, the contest closed at 6pm and it was 5:30pm! The contest closed a 1/2 hour after I first learned about it. I kind of debating on even trying. Sooo many people were already entered and I didn't even have a pitch ready!

But you know what? I figured, why not? The worst that could happen is that my pitch gets ignored, right?

This is why it's so important to know your story, fully know it. If you need to reduce 80+ thousand words into just a sentence or two, you gotta know the heart and focus of your story.

So that's what I did. I threw a pitch out there (3 versions actually) and the last one got me the interest of 2 agents! (I feel very blessed and lucky too, because it was literally the last minute of the contest that this happened.)

I was ecstatic and nervous! (Who wouldn't be, right?!) I almost couldn't believe it!

And then I found out about another pitch contest (on A great site for writers. Check it out! I think they're also having another pitch contest in July). This one gave a little more leeway in the length of the pitch. So, I entered that contest too. This one is still kind of going on actually. You can't enter anymore, but the agents are still commenting and such on the entries.

One agent (so far--that I know of) that's participating in this contest has seen my pitch and she asked to see some pages also. Again, ecstatic and nervous! This time I really couldn't believe it. (I may have danced around like a crazy woman each time one of these agents requested pages)

And here's the part where I feel exposed. Because as exciting and amazing as it is to have agents request pages from a pitch, they could still pass on my project. And I don't want to have to follow up with everyone that I told about this and tell them that the agents all passed.

But ya know what? Even if that happens, I'm still thankful for the experience. (And here's the real reason for this post.) I'm so grateful that I entered these contests because it's not just about the agents. THEY ARE AMAZING, don't get me wrong! But through this I've learned how to condense my story into a quick line or three. I've learned how to write a richer pitch that's enticing to read. And I've met some spectacular and supportive people from it that I never would have otherwise! I whole-heartedly encourage any of you out there that have a manuscript that you've edited/revised/polished-the-crap-out-of, and believe is ready for agents to look at, to search online and enter contests like these. Pitch contests, or first few pages/chapters, ect. Doesn't matter! They are an opportunity with multifaceted rewards that are just waiting for you. It's scary to put yourself (and your work) out there, but I believe it's worth the risk.

So go on! And have fun doing it!

(And if you want to know how I handle waiting [like with the responses from these agents] then check out my post on the Tangled blog!)