Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fricassee


Even now, the comments continue to pour in. Can you feel the energy in here? All this creativity, this willingness to be vulnerable with one's own work and to take the time to help complete strangers strengthen their writing.

Honesty. Gentleness. Tough love. Tact. I see it all.

Do you know what else is amazing? When I checked my traffic at the end of the day yesterday, I discovered that the number of unique visitors to this blog was more than seven times greater than the number of people who entered the Secret Agent contest. Which means, of course, that we haven't been overrun by an onslaught of 114 writers who want nothing more than to read what others have to say about their babies. No, indeed. We've got hundreds of people coming here to read and to critique. People who haven't entered anything themselves.

That impresses and inspires me.

Our Secret Agent has been busy as well, having made it through more than a third of the entries so far. I know that those of you who are still waiting will be patient as we move through the weekend.

The Big Unveiling will take place on Monday!

I'll curb my urge to chatter on, since so many of you are still busy writing critiques. Let me throw out a hearty THANK YOU to each of you.

And a hearty WELCOME to the blog, in the hope that you will stick around. In a little over three months, an amazing sense of community has developed.

Together, we can take on the world! One manuscript at a time.


  1. Several times, my comments have not been posted. Since I'm posting as an anonymous (but signed) critic, I'm not sure if that's a part of the problem or if there's a separate issue.


  2. Kizmet,

    I've seen several of your critiques, so I recognize your screen name. Sometimes Blogger has...ur, issues...with posting comments. So it's probably some silly glitch.

    You might want to swipe and copy each comment before you hit the post button, just in case Blogger decides to swallow it.

  3. What an amazing event! I'm so glad you are holding this contest, otherwise, I would not have learned about your wonderful blog (beautifully-designed and informative). I've tried to make my comments honest while remaining gentle and I'm happy to see that the vast majority of other posters have done the same. It's kind of scary to post something to be placed at the mercy of so many strangers, but it's a real learning experience to see the comments on my entry as well as the comments on everyone else's (not to mention all the really terrific entries). Congratulations, Authoress!

  4. Authoress - I'm having a problem!

    I'm trying to add comments, but (apart from this one, obviously!) I'm having a problem - I can't crit from my home machine, as it will not display the verification code.
    I'm posting this from my work machine, which I shouldn't be doing, but there you go.

    I am trying to add comments though. Maybe I'll save up a bunch, and then log in from heer over the weekend and slam them all in. But I am trying!


  5. Richard, it sounds like Blogger is messing with you. I don't know why it does that with the word verification sometimes, but it's infuriating.

    I don't dare turn it off with traffic of this magnitude, though.

    If you want to save them up and post them en masse, go for it! I'm so sorry you're running into technical dificulties.

  6. Thanks. I've posted a couple, and that will have to do for now. must go home - taking wife out for dinner & if I'm late there will be .... trouble ... :o

  7. I don't know if you're a CC person Authoress, but with your contest featured on our forums and so many active members recruiting other CCers for you, the full force of the site seems to be getting focused here. People who don't have completed novels still want to see how they're friends are doing on comments, and to enjoy all the crazy beginnings.

    I've recognized a large number of the beginnings I'm commenting on--which is a lot of fun. CC has a lot of talent. We're also taking Alien Skin's Evil Toy Horror Contest by storm... I've seen at about ten awsome shorts going to it. I have no clue how they're going to pick the best one. I certainly can't!

    I think CC is going for world domination (in the writing department).

    Me? I'm only here because Merckie threatened me into sending something... she's been poking me for a while now to start doing your challenges.

    I hope you survive the traffic, because I fully intend to stick around and try a few more of them.

  8. I just wanted to thank everyone who submitted! I didn't have anything that was "finished"- when is writing ever finished?? - enought to sub.
    Next time? :)

    You are all very brave to put your work put there, and I know the comments are made only to help. And they help not only you, but all your fellow writers out there.

    I think we all got a taste of an agent's world. Imagine doing this EVERY DAY. I can really understand how they can just say "yes" or "no" after a short sample. You have to. I also got a much better handle on the old "not right for us."
    There is so much here that is wonderful, but not at all my taste.

    So thanks all you crazy writers out there. Can't wait to see some of this stuff in print!

  9. Many, many, thanks to you, Authoress for your time and determination to pull this off. What a lovely hostess.
    SA has been so thoughtful in all their comments too. So again, thanks to both of you.

  10. Ditto what Arlene says. HUGE thanks to you, Authoress, for hosting this, to our Secret Agent for commenting on *every single entry* :O, and to all you readers out there who commented with all that great feedback. This turned into an amazing event! :)

  11. Thank you, Authoress, this is so fun! I've found some new favorite authors to stalk :) I'm trying to read all of the entires, I'm up to number 75.

    And thank you to Secret Agent as well. You've been very encouraging and kind to everyone.

  12. I am thoroughly blown away by this event -- and SO thanking my lucky stars I'm not an agent! :-D (Dear SA, whoever you are, the bards shall praise your fortitude.)

    There are many good entries here, and most of the critters seem interested in giving honest, helpful feedback.

    Good on ya, Authoress, for hosting! :-)

  13. Thank you, Authoress, for organising this challenge, and for everyone who took the time to crit. All the comments have been incredibly helpful.

    There's also a lot of first pages here I really hope get make it into the stores, because I'd really love to know what happens!

  14. Thank you, Authoress--I've learned so much!

    In fact, before I went to bed last night, I opened several published books that have had great sales and critiqued their first page! And...? Some of them didn't make the cut! I wanted to write them a review with things like: good voice, but you need the action to start sooner. OR: where's the conflict?

    Heee. :D

    I can actually see why JK Rowling had a bit of trouble getting someone to bite: her first 250 words showcase her unique voice and some interesting characters, but the conflict, the action are light on. It's not until several pages in that we start to get a good sense of conflict and some hints as to what's to come.

    Many thanks.


  15. Huge kudos to all who entered and thanks to all who offered feedback.

    (also have had trouble leaving comments. I've tried three times to post this one alone)

    May we all learn a thing or four.

  16. Thanks again, Authoress. This is a wonderful experience, a blast. And thanks to you, Secret Agent, for agreeing to do this :D You've been so kind and helpful.

    Good luck to everyone!


  17. Thanks for hosting this! It's not every day that you get to receive honest feedback from complete strangers AND and angent! Priceless to our learning.

    I've already blogged about what I've learned from this contest so far if anyone wants to check it out.


  18. I didn't submit anything for the contest because I already have an agent, but I'm helping with critiques! I'm at #51, and will finish over the weekend. There's some great stuff here. I'm having a wonderful time reading all these beginning pages. What fun!

    Just an F.Y.I. for all you writers: I'm hosting a description writing workshop on my blog July 18 thru August 1, and I hope a lot of you will come and play. It's free, and there are prizes! I'm giving away 3 of my favorite writing how-to books at the end of the week. Learn more about it on my blog:

  19. Thanks for this contest. I've learned alot and had fun reading and commenting on all the different entries (yep, I said ALL). :)

  20. Trust me, I think I've got some of your screen names memorized from the sheer magnitude of appearances they've made in my inbox!

    And Karen, I don't think I've congratulated you on your agent. All the very best and a quick sale to you!

  21. Thanks, Authoress! It's been quite an adventure in agent-hunting and I couldn't be happier.

    I just want to say that it's contests like this that really contribute to a writer's education as the crits and comments help make the writing stronger. So I hope all who entered pay close attention to what your peers are saying. It's fascinating to see the number of entries that made the same mistakes -- openings with a character waking up, openings that are mostly description and no hook, unidentifiable characters -- and I think it drives the point home when you know you're not the only one making them. 8^)

    Good luck, everyone!

  22. So true, Karen.

    I stepped into every one of those snares in my opening. This has been a real eye-opener and a big help.

  23. Thanks for hosting this, Authoress! :D

    I believe I've commented on every entry so far but one... I can't figure out which number it was... off to look.

    I agree with Ardyth *bows to the Dreaded One* that we did a bunch of promo on CC for this, and I hope the traffic keeps up. ;)

    Congrats on all the traffic, though! :D


  24. I would also like to add my thanks. I haven't read as many as I would have liked but am still reading on. It does open one's eyes to the workload and agent or editor must have to wade through. Thankfully the entries I have read weren't hard going though. I've enjoyed the experience.

  25. Yay CC! :D %-)

    Authoress, you rock! Thanks so much for hosting this competition. I've commented on every single entry, and besides being proud of making it through, I'm so excited about how much I've learned from this.

    And it was So Much Fun!!! :D


  26. Authoress, would you be able to let the Secret Agent know she skipped Hook #46? It's not mine, but I've been browsing through all the comments and noticed it didn't receive one from the SA. Thanks! :)

  27. Authoress,

    Thank you for providing this opportunity. It's my first time posting to a blog and I've learned so much. I also enjoyed reading the other entries.

    I appreciate all your work!

  28. Excitement! Today is the day! So, when will we know? 0:)

  29. Breath duly bated.

    P.S. Thanks for your efforts. And kudos to the CC promotions Merc & Ardyth. It got me here.

  30. Thank you so much for offering this contest. It's always great to receive constructive criticisms on one's work. This has given me a lot to work with. Thank you to all who took time to read my piece and comment.