Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Contest I Didn't Enter

Hello, All!

The Cool Contest

So today's post is about something I decided not to do (writing related, of course). And my reasons for it.

Very recently there was this very awesome contest posted called Pitchmas. (It's semi-annual, BTW, so it'll roll back around for those interested.) Pitchmas is all about creating a 140 character Twitter pitch and a 35 word (or less) blog pitch for your completed, polished manuscript. It's free, and there were/are some very awesome agents and editors involved in the judging.

I'd queried my MG fantasy a bit, but I did do a pretty big overhaul recently. I'd queried it a few times after that, but then (b/c, overall, I'd queried a fair amount) I shelved it. But it's in good shape so I thought it'd be reasonable to enter it, and I worked quite hard on my pitches.

Initial Doubts

But then I read this very informative article about contests by Dalia on Cupid's Literary Connection (both great people to follow, of course.) And she makes some great points, but one really stuck out to me: Other writers deserve a shot too. (And, of course, the manuscript must be in great shape to even bother to enter.)

Now I'd only entered one other contest with my MG Fantasy, and I had revised since then, but I'd also felt as though there had to be a reason I'd gotten the last few rejections on my newly polished and re-revised work.

Confirmation

So I sent my first few pages to a new CP, and she was very helpful (and very honest). She was a little confused by the setting, and at least one transition seemed a bit abrupt. It's so hard to look at your work and, knowing what you already know, see it as a newcomer would.

My conclusion: I think my beginning, not my pitch (or query as the case may be) is my problem with this book. I love the book. I know I have good ideas. I know I have likable characters. I think I have a pretty interesting plot. But I'm having a hell of a time with the beginning, and I think that's why I haven't gotten any offers.

It's not a quick fix either. I don't have any great ideas that'll clear everything up. I'm in the middle of a new WIP that I'm very attached to. So I don't want to spend ages fixing up my MG (and I'm not even sure how I'd go about doing it anyway).

My Decision

So I was thinking: Is it really fair to the other great entrants for me to enter a contest when I'm not sure my beginning deserves the attention?

No, I decided, it's not. It's not fair to the other potential contestants and its not fair to the agents/editors reading the entries.

And so I decided not to enter. I feel oddly proud of that decision.

(The Unentered Pitches)

But since I worked so hard on them, I am going to share the pitches with you:

35 word blog pitch:

Eric Ortega’s memory’s half-gone, ripped out with the demon who possessed him. His mother – nothing but fuzz. All memory of his possession – gone. He’s determined to find his mom. The demon’s determined to find him.
Twitter Pitch:

With his spotty memory, Eric doesn’t know a demon’s after him. But he knows his mom needs him. Can he find her first? #PitchMAS 

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