STATUS: Today was pretty quiet because of the President’s Day holiday. I like that. I accomplish a lot and it isn’t even Saturday.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS by Queen
For 2009, I’m pretty much on conference and contest hiatus. There’s just too much of a time crunch to take on extra tasks or travel but last year, I had promised to participate in a very interesting contest. When January rolled around and it was time to say ‘yes’ to the commitment, I was true to my word.
The question I had to answer was: “Am I Hooked? Why or why not.”
In other words, it was exactly like reading our slush pile but in this case, the submitters got feedback.
Yeah, I thought that might perk up your ears a bit. And it’s definitely worth popping over there to read the entries and my response to them. I signed each of my comments with the moniker secret agent.
Since I have the wonderful Sara, it’s been a while since I’ve read the slush slush (so to speak) and I’ll tell you right now that two problems rose to the surface on why I said “not hooked, wouldn’t read further” on some of the entries and I’m going to share those two things with my blog readers right now.
The two top problems were:
1. To much telling instead of showing the character in the scene (or too heavy a reliance on back story to jumpstart the story).
2. Not enough mastery of the craft—in other words, the writing needed to be tightened. Too much wordiness, overuse of adverbs, immediately explaining what was just revealed in dialogue, etc.
So if you are wondering how an agent reads and responds to an opening page, you might want to give that blog a look and read through the entries and the comments.
And here’s another interesting thing to note. When I did the contest, most of the the participants had already responded to each entry. I deliberately did not read any of the response comments until I had left my own comment first.
I was amazed at how often the things that tripped me up where spotted and noted by the author writers participating and reading the blog contest.
You want those folks for your critique group. I’m just saying….