Monday, April 1, 2013

Winners! (...and words from our SA)

First, some comments from Hannah Bowman:

This was a strong group of entries! You'll notice I made a lot of similar comments to many of you. In general, I think sometimes writers worry too much about getting a lot of information, action, and conflict into the first 250 words when it would be better to let the story start slower but focusing on making what's shown the very best writing it can be. If you give me a cool idea, or a great voice, or a conflict, I'll follow you, and a lot of these scenes would have benefited from "lingering" a little more.

In the winners below, I'm not requesting everything where I commented "I'd read more." That's because of my preferences and market conditions (there's no point in me requesting something I don't think I could sell or that has a premise I don't love), not because I didn't mean what I said in those comments. There's a difference for me between continuing to read in a document open in front of me and requesting something, and I'm pickier with my requests than if I'm reading! Anywhere I said "I'd read more," I think you're on the right track with your opening.

Thanks to everyone who entered -- this takes a lot of courage!


Ms. Bowman would like to see the query and first 10 pages of the following:

#1 -- Game Changer
#47 -- The Lucky Few
#50 -- Jane Unwrapped

Ms. Bowman would like to see the query, synopsis, and first 50 pages of the following:

#27 -- The Detective's Apprentice
#13 -- Romance on the High Seas

Congratulations, all!  Winners, please email me at facelesswords(at) for specific submission instructions.


  1. Ooh, congrats to the winners! :) I can't wait to get to revising my opening now--this helped so much!

  2. Thanks to Authoress and Hannah. Great secret agent contest.

  3. Can't wait for the launch of the contest tomorrow! Congrats to all the winners. I might be entering in the next SA contest or the one after that depending on how edits go.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

  4. Congratulations to all the winners! This was fun. It was my first contest and very scary to enter. I highly suggest everyone do it for the sheer fear factor alone. I *really* makes you look at your words. Every single one counts!

    Thanks Hannah and Authoress!

  5. Hooray for the winners! And thank you, Hannah, for your comments. I have been encouraged. :D

  6. Thank you for your helpful comments, Hannah. Congrats to the winners!

  7. wow!! this just seems like so much fun, and such a wonderful opportunity. Authoress is really a newbie writer´s dream come true!! I´m still learning the ropes around here...can somebody tell me when the next round will be? Someone posted that it starts tomorrow? So, how exactly does this calendar work? BTW, congrats to all those who won!

  8. A big thank you to Hannah Bowman for her addendum where she said some things she like just could not be sold. That would be a really helpful thing from an agent in lieu of a form rejection. Also, I loved the emphasis on lingering as that is how I like to read and how I like to write. To me, a good book is like a warm bath, you first test the temperature of the water before you go in. I have read about 65 mysteries in the last 6 months (just for an example) and the earliest 'murder' in those 65 examples occured on page 34....most occured half-way or more through the book. In the first 250 of all those novels you had things like a man who enjoyed his cats, a woman who was missing her best friend, etc...nothing "dramatic".....but now we have this fetish for giving away the whole thing in the first page. Which is ridiculous. But, it seems to be the norm.....Think of things you have loved...movies, TV shows, books, etc...and ask yourself how many actually told the story in the first about Harry Potter...nope...pretty sedate, I loved her feeling about that. But, Ithink most agents don't think that way. Pretty soon we will be in a world where a novel has to be tweeted...and we will need a 5 sentence best-seller.

  9. Yay!!! I'm so excited for the opportunity - a BIG thanks to both Authoress and Hannah for contributing their time and helpful feedback!

    And congrats to the other winners, too - best of luck with your submissions to Hannah!


  10. I knew there would always be at least one person who could not resist the urge to say HEY I WON and I was not disappointed (see above) :)

  11. Wow, bitter much, FrancisMK?

    No winner should ever feel ashamed to be excited they won a contest here on MSFV - after all, isn't the entire reason we win?

    And I'm excited for everyone that won and the opportunity presented - not just myself. Hopefully expressing my gratitude to Authoress and Hannah doesn't come across as too self-centered on my part.