I've already gushed, so I'll restrain myself. May I just say -- you have impressed and humbled me.
Certain things stand out. The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that some of you waded through every single entry in order to leave feedback. And here's the best part: Some of you hadn't entered something yourselves. That is passion and selflessness at its finest.
Some of you are very young -- as in, teenagers. (If nothing else, I am a good sleuth.) Post 34 (senior in high school) and Post 113 (age 14) are two examples. Kudos to you for your bravery and maturity.
(And this supports my decision to keep this site rated PG. 'Nuff said.)
Some of you have shared on your own blogs that, despite a lot of "ripping apart" of your entry, you feel encouraged, supported, ready to tear into your work to make it ever better, ever stronger.
If that isn't an indomitable spirit, I don't know what is.
Now, looking ahead. There are bound to be a few snags the first time through anything. I find that my biggest "snag" was not enough parameters. Our next Secret Agent contest will have more clearly delineated guidelines; for example, nothing younger than a middle grade novel. And my submissions window? Ay yi yi! It was way too big. If I could express to you what it feels like to think you're catching up, only to discover a fresh batch of submissions at the top of the inbox...
Oh, wait a minute. I sounded like an agent just then, didn't I?
Anyway, I'd like to hear your input, please. I already know that the vast majority of you appreciated the feedback on your writing. What, in your opinion, would make the next round run even more smoothly? What would streamline it? Make it better?
Would you like to see contests run for specific genres? Contests on query letters? Contests exactly like the one we just had?
And yes, I've already got another Secret Agent lined up. So keep working, keep polishing, and keep reading this blog. We're off to a roaring start and we're not going to stop now!