Monday, January 26, 2015

Two Good Things For You

Good Thing Number One:

THIS WEEK, we are going to have a FIRST FIVE SENTENCES critique round.  Submissions will OPEN TOMORROW and entries will POST ON WEDNESDAY.

Focus of the critique:  Via Baker's Dozen submissions and my ongoing editing business, I have come across SO MANY OPENING PAGES that lack the basics of worldbuilding.  It's a subtle skill, indeed, to impart a sense of PLACE and TIME and SITUATION without creating a huge info-dump or throwing us into the middle of crazy action in an attempt to draw the reader in (hint: that doesn't work).  So let's see how well you do with creating a sense of PLACE and TIME and SITUATION in those first 5 sentences.

Now, DON'T PANIC.  Obviously you're not going to be able to disclose everything in the first 5 sentences.  There is no way you can let your reader know EVERYTHING IMPORTANT in such a short time.  THAT IS NOT THE POINT.  The point is, the reader is either going to feel grounded in your world right from the start, or he isn't.

Here are the submission guidelines:

  • Submissions will open at NOON EST on Tuesday, January 27.
  • The first 25 entries will be accepted.  Then the contest will close. (This is NOT a lottery!  It's first come, first served.)
  • Agented and unagented authors are welcomed to submit.
  • WIPs and finished manuscripts are both welcomed.
  • Please use the web form HERE to enter.
  • Submit your title, genre, and the first 5 sentences of your manuscript. Word limit is 125.
  • Don't try to squeeze in more than 5 sentences by creating run-on sentences.  I WILL KNOW.  And I will disqualify your entry. (No, really. I will.  NO RUN-ON SENTENCES!)
  • This critique is open to all genres except erotica and erotic romance. 
Critique will focus on whether your first 5 sentences "feel like" your genre, and whether they draw the reader into the story by providing an appropriate, clear setting.

If you have any questions, please post them below.

Good Thing Number Two:

Valentine's Day is coming!  So we're going to have a FIRST KISS SCENE critique during the week of February 9.  As in, a scene in which your characters pucker up for the first time.  Details will post next week.  I'm letting you know now so that you can search for a kiss (or almost-kiss) scene that you'd like some critique on.

Important:  If your scene is too gratuitous, I will not accept it.  This is at my own discretion.  MSFV is, and will remain, a PG13 blog (my youngest known contest participant was 13).  Thank you for understanding.

Okay!  Fire up those smooches.  Submission details next Monday!


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  2. Yay! More critique opportunities! Especially looking forward to the kissing one! Thanks, Authoress.

  3. Dang. I submitted right at the start time and it was already full! Maybe next time. :)

  4. Wait, how did I miss it? I watched the countdown for it to open up so I could send it and the second it did I hit send and it said it was full. :(

  5. Thanks for scheduling this at 12noon est! This was a gift for us on the west coast who aren't 6am risers : ) Looking forward to giving and receiving critiques.
    Write On!

  6. I tried to submit but it kept saying my email was invalid. I know I typed it in correctly. Any thoughts?

  7. I was in a meeting. Got a break at 11:04, and the entries were already closed. Looking forward to seeing all the First Five!

  8. I sat in front of my computer for thirty minutes just watching the countdown, the second the button appeared I hit submit - and it told me immediately that the contest was full. That was disappointing... Can't be faster than on first second.