Monday, November 21, 2011

The Process

Now that we've got our 60 winners chosen, formatted, and ready to roll, I thought I'd give you a wee bit of insight on how Jodi and I worked our way through the list.  (And, yeah. We were both really grateful that the maximum entry amounts weren't reached.  Because...we'd still be reading.)

  • Good writing trumps a weak logline.  Always.  So if you're critiquing your way through the auction and stumble upon a logline that makes you think we must've been sniffing glue while choosing winners, keep reading.  It's the WRITING that ultimately counts.  (I'm exaggerating about the glue-sniffing.  You know that, right?)
  • Voice trumps a weak opening.  Because sometimes there's REAL POTENTIAL in a piece, but it may be simply a matter of not having started the story at the right place.  Which is a VERY COMMON PROBLEM.  (Yeah.  Ask me how I know.)  But if the voice shines through?  That's a whole lot of sparkly right there.  Voice is HARD.  And a strong voice always gets our attention.
  • Weak writing kills a killer logline.  Because a brilliant logline needs to be followed by an excerpt that lives up to what was promised.  WE HATE WHEN THIS HAPPENS. happens.
  • This is the scary part:  Jodi and I ALMOST ALWAYS feel exactly the same way about an excerpt.  There may have been two or three instances where there was a deferral; but even then, it was never a strong polarization.  (Does this mean we should open our own agency?? I HOPE NOT.)
  • As we read through and discuss each entry, we mark some as immediate YESES, and many more as MAYBES.  At the end, we count our YESES (of which we never have enough) and then go through our MAYBES to decide which ones should make the final cut.  (MAYBES are a good thing.  Because sometimes we might've said MAYBE because we were tired or hungry or not feeling particularly gracious toward a certain genre.  Or simply because we just weren't sure.)
  • Jodi is the mistress of detailed spreadsheets.  I rely on her COMPLETELY to keep our responses organized.
So there it is.  Sure, it's a lot of work.  But there's an inherent high in working on something that showcases the creativity of our peers.  And fishing the gems from the sea of entries is pretty satisfying.  Especially when the agents start placing their bids!

Admit it--you're dying to see the entries.  They'll be up a week from Friday!  Until then, we'll dawdle along and talk about other things.


  1. Gah! Can't wait! Excitedly awaiting news from friends who entered :D

  2. I made it! I made it! I made it!

    ...and now I have to make it to the day it goes up without fretting too much.

  3. Yay! I'm in! My inbox is so happy and congrats filled! Thanks, Authoress!

    Good luck to everyone! Can't wait to see the entries!

  4. I just got my congrats letter. Yay! I'm so excited! (I may or may not have jumped up and down and screamed...)

    Thank you Authoress, Jodi, and anyone else behind the scenes, for giving us such a wonderful opportunity.

  5. Great post, I enjoyed ready reading it, Keep posting good stuff like this.

  6. Ditto what Alaina, pinkelephant12, and Elizabeth Light said! (But not freelance academic writing jobs--that guy's a jerk =P)

  7. Thanks for sharing your process with us. I can't imagine how much time it took to read every entrant. You guys are amazing!

    When you do your slush sessions, do you read by phone or Skype or what?

  8. Love the process and the initial critique notes. Can't wait to read THE 60...and also the others that will be posted for critique. This is so helpful and uplifting. What an amazing opportunity you are providing. Thanks so very mucho.

    Happy T-giving to you, Jodi, and your families!!

  9. Danielle -- Mostly we Skype. So we're reading each entry at the same time and are able to discuss as we go. Sometimes we IM, but Skyping is definitely more efficient. :)

  10. You guys are awesome! And congratulations to everyone who made it in. I can't say how much the email in my inbox this morning has made me smile.

    Thanks so much for running such fantastic contests.

  11. I'm really looking forward to reading the entries :-)

  12. YEEEEP! That is so awesome! Thanks so much for the insight!


    (so, as judging by my excitement, yes, I made it... OMG!!!!)

  13. Eeee!! I'm so excited! Thank you guys again.

    (And, yes, now I'm totally wondering if I was in the Yes or Maybe pile...)

  14. Way to go, ladies! Thank you so very much for organizing this and putting in all the man hours and cups of tea.

    You are my heroes!

  15. It’s great that you are viewing articles together. This allows let you research this from different perspectives. This is very good when you have the opportunity to talk with someone about what you are reading. I can share with you an interesting article on the topic about Anthropology. The author reveals this topic very well. I think you will be interested in this.