Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Writer's Voice 2014



“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Brenda Drake, Elizabeth Briggs., Kimberly P. Chase, and me. We’re basing it on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice, so the four of us will serve as coaches and select projects for our teams based on their queries and first pages.

And you know what? This year, we’re adding GUEST COACHES! One per each coach. And let me tell you, I’m really excited about this, because the lovely Stacey H. Lee will be my guest coach this year and she’ll be helping me make some of the difficult decisions!
So go ahead and stalk her now! Here’s Stacey’s Twitter account, and her website!

Here’s the timeline:

May 1
May 2
Everybody enters the Rafflecopter lottery
The lottery winners sign up on the widget
May 2-10
We select our team members from “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest
May 10-19
We coach our team members, helping them polish their entries
May 19
We post our team members’ entries on our blogs
May 22
Agents vote for their favorites

Submissions

To enter, your manuscript must meet two conditions: First, it must be COMPLETE, POLISHED, AND READY TO QUERY, and second, it must be in one of the following genres*:

Adult Historical
Adult Fantasy
Adult Science Fiction
Adult Romance
YA fiction (all genres)
MG fiction (all genres)

To determine who gets to participate in the blogfest, we’ll hold a single-entry Rafflecopter lottery on Thursday, May 1. The lottery will remain open for 12 hours, from 9:00 a.m. EDT to 9:00 p.m. EDT, at which point the Rafflecopter will select 150 random winners. Those winners will then sign up for the blogfest on one of Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets the next day, May 2. Once you sign up on the widget, you’ll post YOUR QUERY and THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript on your blog.

In summary, you must follow these three steps to enter:

1. Enter the Rafflecopter lottery on May 1 during the submission window listed above.
2. Sign up on the widget on May 2 if you win the lottery.
3. Post your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript on your blog.

Selections

We’re building our teams via “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest, so YOU MUST HAVE A BLOG TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONTEST. We don’t care if you’ve had it for five years or five minutes; we just want to be able to fight over you in public:)

We coaches will review the entries and leave a comment on your post that says something like, “I want you!” If more than one of us wants you on her team, you’ll have to pick which coach you want to work with.

Coaching

We’ll select our 8 team members by May 10, then spend the next week and a half helping them put a final polish on their entries. You won’t have to take all of our suggestions, of course; we just want to help you make your entry the best that it can be before the agents get a look at it.

Voting

On May 19, we’ll post our team members’ queries and first pages on our blogs so that the agents can review them. Here are the awesome agents who’ll be voting on your entries:

Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media

The agents will vote for their favorites on May 22. Each vote will count as a partial or full request depending on how many votes the entry receives. If an entry receives 1 or 2 votes, those votes will count as partial requests. If an entry receives 3 or more votes, those votes will count as full requests.

Voting will stay open until 9:00 a.m. EDT on May 23, at which point we’ll determine which coach’s team received the most votes. That coach will win bragging rights for time immemorial, and everyone who received requests will be able to submit their materials to all the agents who voted for them. These votes represent serious interest in your project, so PLEASE DON’T ACCEPT AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION BEFORE GIVING “THE WRITER’S VOICE” AGENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A COMPETING OFFER.

So get those queries and first pages polished up, then meet us back here on Thursday, May 1, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EDT. We can’t wait to read your entries! (And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.)

*As you probably noticed, we’re not including any new adult genres. We have to base the genres on the agents’ interests, and most of the agents participating this year aren’t looking for NA at the moment.

** Thanks to @Chris_and_Holly for designing this year's The Writer's Voice badge!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Clan MacLeod Gets Frenzied!!

Great news, people! My awesomely talented agency sibling, Robert Lettrick launches his amazing book FRENZY today! We're all part of the Clan MacLeod (authors represented by my awesome agent, Lauren MacLeod), and we couldn't be more frenzied about it--so we're celebrating today with the following pictures. But first, let me tell you about this great book!

 Here's a little preview:

14-year-old Heath Lambert is spending his summer at Camp Harmony in the picturesque Cascade Mountain Valley. It's the perfect place to enjoy the soothing calm of nature as he weighs a heavy decision. The camp offers distractions: his friends, Cricket and Dunbar, always up for trouble; his reluctant crush on Emily, one half of the beautiful Em & Em Twins; and hulking bullies Thumper and Floaties, who are determined to make him their punching bag for the summer. But no one rattles Heath like his creepy cabin mate, Will Stringer. Brilliant, cold and calculating, Will views the world as one big chess game, and he's always three moves ahead of everyone else. 

I read an ARC and it was amazing, you guys--here's my Goodreads review if you want to take a look.

Anyway! Now the pictures in which The Clan MacLeod gets TOTALLY FRENZIED! 

Hélène Boudreau, author of the REAL MERMAIDS series:


Our awesome agent, Lauren MacLeod (Death by Slushpuppy):


Holly Bodger, author of 5 TO 1, coming from Knopf in Spring, 2015:

 Valerie Cole, contemporary YA author:


Dana Elmendorf, YA author:


  Jodi Meadows, author of INFINITE and the Newsoul Trilogy:







And that's me and these Chinese squirrels on my head!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

4 Writing Tips to SHOW and NOT TELL



One of the things I’ll be looking for on the Pitch Wars entries is the ability to show versus tell. Well, and not only in Pitch Wars, but in the other contests I host, like The Writer’s Voice, too. 

So today, I’ll be giving a few tips about how you can either identify when you’re telling, and how you can improve that.

1) Filters:
When you say “I knew,” “I think,” “I see,” you are telling the reader what the MC knows, what he thinks, what he sees, INSTEAD of just going ahead and showing what the MC knows, thinks, and sees.
Examples:  
“I wonder if it’s a good idea.” --> “Is it a good idea?”
“I knew he was right.”--> “He was right.”
So always, try to nix the filter… UNLESS you want to accomplish something else with the filter, like voice, or like foreshadowing something, like:
“He is the murder, I’m sure.”
In that case above, adding “I’m sure” foreshadows that the MC can be wrong. And if the MC says “He’s the murder,” then you’re not foreshadowing anything. He *is* the murderer, then, the readers will think.In other words, use filters knowingly.

2) Telly Verbs:
Watch out for these: “is, are, am, etc.,” and verbs like “feel.”
First work on identifying these type of verbs. Then you can change them.
Example:
“The wave was big.” --> ”The wave rolled forward and swelled, towering over the ships of the bay.”
“I am scared.” --> “Holy crap, where did I leave my taser?”
“What he’s doing is dangerous.” --> “He’s driving ever so fast, catching speed, aiming directly at that cliff.”

3) Naming Emotions:
This one is like the example above of the taser--when you name an emotion, like “She’s nervous.” Or “He was upset.” etc. When there’s the name of an emotion in your MS, then you probably are telling the reader how the character feels instead of showing how he feels.
Examples:
“I’m angry at him.” --> ”That @#$%&, he’s so full of himself. He should rot in hell.”
“I’m frustrated.”--> “Oh, come on! Give me a freaking break.”

4) Subjective Adjectives:
If the adjectives are subjective, like beautiful, pretty, ugly, etc, it won’t convey a visual to the reader—you won’t be able to show what you mean well. Because something that is pretty for someone could be ugly for someone else. Always try to choose objective adjectives.
Example:
“Her hair was so pretty.” --> “Her honey-colored hair shined, and when he touched it, it felt soft, like… [um, I can only think silk right now, haha! But “soft as silk” is so cliché. Still. You get what I mean, right? =) ]”

There are other ways to identify telly places, like watching out for “info dumpy” paragraphs, not using dialogue when you could, etc. But this post is getting long, so that’s all for today, folks!
Hope it helps!
Looking forward to reading your entries next week!

<3
Mónica