Posts Tagged ‘MG’

Unstrung Harp

From The Unstrung Harp, or Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey (©1999):

On November 18th of alternate years Mr Earbrass begins writing ‘his new novel.’ Weeks ago he chose its title at random from a list of them he keeps in a little green note-book. It being tea-time of the 17th, he is alarmed not to have thought of a plot to which The Unstrung Harp might apply, but his mind will keep reverting to the last biscuit on the plate.

I’m only one guy, and I’ve never even published a book, but I’m gonna suggest that the best way to begin writing a novel is not this way.  I don’t know.  You do you.

Personally I use a completely different arbitrary and stupid method: I try to come up with the perfect first sentence.  For weeks I have been devoting drive time, shower time, time between hitting the snooze button, and break time to composing the line that will make kids everywhere beg their parents to buy my book.  The problem is I haven’t really developed the plot structure, yet, or even fully established the world where it takes place and all of the rules, so….

The last book I wrote I began by the seat of my pants, and it wasn’t until I was 4-5 chapters in that I was forced to stop and create an outline for the plot structure.  Then when I had finished the book, most of those first chapters got deleted, rewritten, or both.  Very little of that seat-of-the-pants stuff remains.  But it was good exercise and gave me lots of background material that helped flesh out the characters in later drafts.

For the sequel (currently in progress), I already knew most of the characters — certainly the main one — and I started with a complex plot outline before I even thought about writing the first chapter.

With the new book, though … I’m eager to get started and reluctant to build the foundation.  That’s bad, right?

Imma gonna have to get on that outline and background before I go any further, for sure.  But it’s fantastic to feel the enthusiasm and passion again.

FicFest

There’s a new novel pitch contest, this year.  It was created by Tiffany M. Hoffman (@THofauthor) and Kara Leigh Miller (@KaraLeighMille1), with one unique twist:

It’s fair.

Not to suggest the other contests are unfair, but FicFest is particularly fair.  There are the same number of finalist slots for each category.  So young adult titles won’t have a huge advantage over picture books, for example, because there happen to be more YA entries.  I’ll let Tiffany and Kara explain it in their own words:

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Contest Overview:

FicFest is a brand new contest launching in 2016 that will help put manuscripts in front of agents. FicFest is unique in that this contest covers the five major categories of writing: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. The chances for each category to get agent requests is equal. Unlike most writing contests, an equal number of finalists will be chosen for each category so that one does not over power the other. FicFest creators also ensure that there will be a plethora of agents wanting each of these categories. Our goal is to help writers of all books get out there, get great feedback, and have the opportunity to get partial/full requests from agents.

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Contest General Details:

FicFest is open to all finished manuscripts and all genres for Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. In this contest, each category will have three teams. Teams will be made up of a Team Lead and two team members, who will pick three finalists and one alternate per team. This ensures that forty-five manuscripts will move on to the agent round, with fifteen manuscripts being held as alternates in case one of the finalists drops out of the contest.

Once the finalists are chosen, they will work with their teams on revisions for 8 weeks before the agent round. During the agent round, participating agents will be able to request partial/fulls from the manuscripts they want to see. There is no bidding, and no competition for agents. They can request whatever intrigues them, giving everyone a huge opportunity to get requests and hopefully an agent for their manuscript. More rules, regulations, and details will be posted via the host and team lead blogs as the contest begins!

**REMINDER: The yearly theme for this contest is just for fun. It gives the mentors something to use to decorate their blogs, and gives the participants cool team bragging rights. HOWEVER, the yearly DOES NOT affect what genres can be submitted or the agent round. Again, themes are just for fun!

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FicFest 2016

March 20, 2016 @ 12:00 PM EST
Guidelines & Theme Reveal
(Host Blog)

March 27, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST
Meet the Team Leads & Their Members!
(Team Lead Blogs & Host Blog)

April 3, 2016 @ 6:00 PM EST
Agent List Announced
(Host Blog)

April 17, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST – 10:00 PM EST
Q & A with Team Leads & Host
(Twitter – Using #FicFest)

April 24, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – April 25, 2016 @ 11:59 PM EST
SUBMISSION

April 26, 2016 – May 3, 2016
Teams will chose their finalists/alternate

May 4, 2016 @ 10:00 AM EST
Finalists/Alternate Reveal
(Team Leads Blogs)

May 5, 2016 – June 30, 2016
Revisions

July 8, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – July 14, 2014 @ 11:59 PM EST
Agent Round

Find all the details here and by following the hashtag #FicFest.