777 Challenge

Since my word-count is usually something more like 666 when I check it, finding a non-demonic number on my Twitter feed was rather refreshing. Author E.G. Moore began the Triple Seven Challenge, and fellow writer Jennifer Todhunter nominated me in turn:

In a rather unfortunate turn of events, page seven of LUCKY THIRTEEN (soon to be retitled, revised, and generally juiced-up) has a mere seven lines on it. I suppose that makes my job easier. Here are those lines:

“But miss,” Number Two said, “how do you know we are from Florence?”

“You’re from Florence. Your friend here,” she said, nodding towards the other man, “is from Siena.”

Danny left them shaking their heads in confoundment. She didn’t get many chances to perform the trick, but when she did, the experience was satisfying. She’d have to tell Giorgio about it later on. He always got a kick out of Danny’s knack for discerning the dialects of his homeland, and he’d know about the famous — or infamous — Gorgia Toscana. The habit of turning a ‘k’ into an ‘h’ marked many a Florentine like the sign of Cain. Giorgio would have a good laugh at tonight’s story.

Okay, okay. It looks like more than seven lines, but you do want the context, don’t you?

And now it’s my turn to nominate seven authors:

Charlotte Gruber (AKA World’s Bestest CP)

Elizabeth Davies (Word-weaving Welshwoman Extraordinaire)

Bud Jillett (Guitar Player and All-around Nice Guy)

Sylvia Heike (Fellow Flash Fiction Freak)

Tegan Wren (Whose awesome novel INCONCEIVABLE is coming soon)

James Stryker (Who I hope will post seven lines from his dark CCBB backstory)

Sharon Bennett (Because she hints she’s got a novel in the works)

That is all.

Twitter pitch contests: the good, the bad, and the when-to-say-no

The Take-Home Message

Did you get a little star next to your #PitMad tweet? Research the agent (or editor or publisher) who put it there before you submit your query/manuscript. Not all agents are created equal. Now on to the rest of the post… With Brenda Drake’s quarterly #PitMad just around the corner (that means tomorrow), I thought I’d tout the highs, give the low-down on the lows, and throw my usual pleasantly curmudgeonly pitch contest warning out to fellow writers. (Yep, two adverbs there. I’m keeping them. Just like I’m keeping my poisoned prologue and my eleventy-million points of view.)

The Good

First, a few upbeat comments. Online pitch and query contests are fantastic and if you have a finished manuscript or non-fiction proposal that is revised, polished, and read by someone who did not give birth to you, you should enter one. Why? Here’s a smattering of reasons: Read more

The Seven Deadly Sins of Querying (and a contest!)

There are probably far more, but seven seemed like a nice non-round number. It’s considered lucky and symbolic. It’s the fifth prime of the integers. As a kid, I always liked the numbers seven and five. Perhaps that’s why. Today I’m discussing a few (seven, actually) of the reasons queries get rejected, using the unscientific method of trolling through the #TenQueries hashtag on Twitter and cherry-picking some recurring problems I see.

1. Not knowing your category/genre

Is it Women’s Fiction or Romance? YA or NA? Thriller or Mystery? If you don’t know, you haven’t done your homework. Do that now. The corollary to this sin is not knowing the word-count range for your age category/genre: for goodness’ sake, no YA Contemporary should be 200,000 words long. Nor should it be 40,000 words short.

2. No query letter

Yes, really — authors, you NEED a query letter in order to query. Trust me. A sample of your MS, a synopsis, or a link to your homepage ain’t gonna do anything except act like a magnet between an agent’s index finger and the Delete button. This falls into the general sin superset of not paying attention to submission guidelines. Read more

Thoughts on Twitter (or, Why I might not follow back)

A few days ago I Tweeted, in a roundabout sort of a way, that I preferred Ayn Rand to Gillian Flynn.  Some stranger re-Tweeted that breaking news (not) to eighteen thousand of her followers.  I can’t really imagine any of them give a shit about my literary preferences.

Then I saw a limited-character note from a fellow Twitterer regarding how many people had recently followed and unfollowed her in the Twittersphere. She got the information via Unfollowers.com and I knew I had to have a peek. Read more