Friday, January 18, 2008

I Want to be like Julie

Julie Wright is one of my really cool author friends.

She and I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest without even knowing each other did . . .

And now we are both semi-finalists. Pretty cool.(I entered with QUEEN, Julie entered with a romantic comedy.)

When I first received the notification, I ignored it, thinking "Yeah, EVERYONE is a semi-finalist." Then I discovered from another friend that there were 5,000 entries, and now they are narrowed down to about 800 . . . well, 200 in my category.

So I checked out the link this afternoon, and I was surprised to see that some people had actually read my contest excerpt and had REVIEWED it. I received a good smattering of 5 stars, 4 stars, and a couple of 3 stars.

Reading the reviews is already helping me improve the manuscript and get a good idea of the marketability of the novel.

So you can check out my entry here: QUEEN

And Julie's here: THE DAY MY SUBCONSCIOUS BETRAYED ME

You can click on the Download link to read the excerpt, then post your own review. There are some cool prizes for the best "reviewers"--kind of fun.

12 comments:

Anne Bradshaw said...

Wow! Great news for both of you. Congratulations! National market here you both come.

Janette Rallison said...

That is so neat! I'm rooting for you to go all the way! (Or is it routing . . . see, this is why I need a live-in copy editor.)

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

:) doing the snoopy happy dance for you and julie (and traci and annette). :)
kathleen

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

and for josi, too! :)

Annette Lyon said...

Congrats! I feel so cool being friends with such talent.

Julie Wright said...

you want to be like me? WHY???????? You are one of the coolest most organized, fun talented people I know. I am just giggling that we made the semi-finalists round.

Candace E. Salima said...

Congratulations! Great news for both you and Jules.

It was fantastic! If the book delivers on that first chapter you have a bestseller on your hands. I cannot WAIT to read it!

Michele Holmes said...

I posted a review on Amazon this morning. You know I love every little snatch of this story you've let me read. I want the whole thing . . . after I finish my Whitney reading, that is :)
Hope it wins. It really is your best yet.

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks for your support, everyone. It means A LOT!

Anonymous said...

I noticed that many of the reviews at Amazon.com are encouraged by Queen's plot/story, but suggest that the writing reflects inexperience. May I suggest of few things below?

In your opening paragraph you wrote:

Dr. Richard Land's hands trembled as they hovered above the keyboard, hesitant to write the final email. He closed his eyes, flexing his reluctant fingers, and exhaled. He knew what had to be done, even if lives were lost as a result. The last piece of the puzzle was in place. And now he had to write one more email--one that would change everything.

The first sentence would be much better without the use of the 'as' construction. Also, telling us that Dr. Land is hesitant is not nearly as effect as showing that emotion. An opening paragraph similar to the following avoids the 'as' construction, shows rather than tells the emotion and also gets rid of the author intrusion in the closing two sentences. "He knew what had to be done", and also, "now he had to write one more email", remind the reader that it is the author who is telling the story. If you make a few subtle changes to those two lines, suddenly the character is thinking those thoughts and the rewritten version places the voice of the opening paragraph more solidly in the consciousness of Dr. Land. You can mention Dr. Richard Land's full name here at the beginning or, if you believe it is more subtly effective, you can save the introduction of his first name for when he signs his apparently life-threatening email. Try something like this:

Dr. Land knocked over the iced tea. Damn! Not on the keyboard. He waited for the trembling in his hands to calm before wiping up the mess with Brown University letterhead. One last email to write—a correspondence that would change everything including who lived and who died.

Your second paragraph goes like this:

Lyon opened his eyes and forced himself to type as the last glow of the day peeked through the dusty blinds. Staying on at the University long past retirement age to continue his research had finally proven beneficial--although not entirely in the manner he expected. His mouth pulled into a grim line as he typed the closing paragraph then reread his words...

Again, the use of the 'as' construction interrupts the flow of the second paragraph and should only be used sparingly when it is absolutely imperative that the reader feel the simultaneous necessity of two actions occurring at the same time. Otherwise, avoid the 'as' construction. It will add greater voice to your writing and reduce the need for the reader to reread sentences in order to "GET" the simultaneousness of the meaning when, in reality, there is no real reason to pair the paired actions together in this paragraph. Showing an email facsimile should not be considered "showing" in the sense of story telling. When you show a letter complete with date and salutation it tends to remove the reader from the story and once again, destroys the voice you could create for your character. Find a way to tuck the email into the consciousness of your character and draw the reader that much deeper into the mind of Dr. Lyon. This will not only deepen the readers involvement in your story, it will also allow you to combine elements of the second and third paragraphs together.

Something like this:

The soft yellow light of sunset streamed through the dusty blinds and across the computer screen. To Charles Doughty, senior editor, Saudi Aramco Magazine. Dr. Lyon pecked out the words slowly. Dear Sir. I am well aware that your periodical does not represent political themes. He paused and reread the sentence. Not themes. Groups. The paper didn't represent any political groups. That was more accurate and this particular unrepresented group could threaten all the research he'd done over forty years including the five he'd tacked on since petitioning his retirement and staying on to find the last pieces to this Arabian puzzle.

Good luck with your writing career and may your Queen rein forever in the minds of readers.

Heather B. Moore said...

Thank you for your feedback, Anon. I have actually rewritten the first paragraphs of QUEEN, but it was after I entered the Amazon contest several months back. But you have some good points!

Autumn Ables said...

So fun! Congrats, girl ;)

I will go read it now...And NO I am not shocked about 'Land of Inheritence.' I happen to love your work and enjoy it very much.