WriteOnCon – Great advice on queries, voice, the market, and more.

Writeoncon 2013 has ended, but you can still read all the articles, watch the videos, and get loads of great advice on everything from how to write a great query letter (check out my revised one here), obtaining the right voice for your story/narrater, trends in the market, editing tips, and tons more. Everything is absolutely free, so nothing is stopping you from learning and getting involved.

Check out the writeoncon.com posts and bookmark it. The site may provide future forums for authors to share their own work, critique others, and make valuable contacts in the writing community.

Speaking of which, THANK YOU to all those who critiqued my query and writing sample during the online convention. I made some new friends and received excellent feedback. Before I brave the slush pile, I will revise a bit, concentrating on my voice so that the narration sounds less adult and more in keeping with the Young Adult genre–a bit more intimate and closer to a teenager’s style. Fortunately, as those of you who know me well can attest, I’m ridiculously immature. So I think I can handle the teen voice better than what currently exists in the manuscript. Wish me luck!

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FREE online Writing Workshop and Conference next week!

For all you working on a manuscript or query letter, hurry on over to writeoncon.com and post your query and up to the first 5 pages of your novel. Over the weekend, you can read and critique other people’s work while they do the same for yours. The more time you spend reading query letters and other people’s comments about them, the more you’ll learn about writing a great query. And, of course, if you post your own query, you might get some excellent feedback.

And it’s all for free!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, August 13-14, writeoncon.com will host a free online writing conference. Literary Agents and Editors will troll through the queries looking for new writers. You can even win up to $1000 if you enter and win the contests!

Even if you have to work, you can still participate, as the events will be recorded. There is absolutely no reason NOT to check it out.

All you have to do is sign in (which takes about 1 minute) and then you can read posts, comment, post your own work, and take full advantage of everything writeoncon.com has to offer

Stop reading this and check it out!

Writing a Brief Synopsis

The Harper Voyager contest asks for a 1500 character (letters + punctuation marks) synopsis of the novel. I had a devil of a time getting my 300-page story into a single page, but 1500 characters equals just ½ a page.

So I hacked at my one-page this past weekend. I even got some nice writers I’ve met via Twitter and GUTGAA to offer critiques (Thanks to http://maravalderran.blogspot.com/ and http://emcastellan.com/ for their help!).

What I came up with is similar to my query, though I haven’t copied anything. Still, it starts with a similar hook, provides the conflict and stakes, but then goes farther. In a synopsis, you have to spoil your ending. That means summarizing, as efficiently as possible, the main action and resolution.

Try summarizing your favorite book or movie in 1500 characters. If you love the story, you will find this exercise painfully difficult. Then imagine you wrote the original story. And the kicker: if you don’t chop your story down enough and into a cohesive summary that still “needs to be read,” nobody will read your actual book.

On the plus side, there is a chance!

Query and Pitch Contests

I am currently involved/interested in five online query or pitch contests that could get my book into the hands of agents or publishers.

Perhaps more importantly, I’ve been able to post my query, first page, and “quick pitch” on a few blogs. Many writers, agents and editors have offered advice and criticism. The result is obviously good, because my revised query just made it into the final round of the Small Press Contest on Deana Barnhart’s blog (http://deanabarnhart.blogspot.com/).

If you want to get published, you should enter online contests because they will improve your writing and your chances of being discovered. Besides that, I’ve actually “met” some nice people who know loads about writing and getting published. Networking is important and, it turns out, fun and rewarding. “Thank you,” to all the fine people who have critiqued my work in the last few weeks!

“But how do you find out about these online contests?” you ask. Answer: Twitter. I use Tweetdeck (it’s free) and set up columns based on contests I “hear about” via my Twitter feed. Follow agents and other aspiring writers like me (because I know this blog just doesn’t give you enough “Craig Time”) on Twitter and you will learn about these events. If you’ve never used Twitter, don’t worry. You don’t have to “Tweet” anything until you are more comfortable with it. For now, you can just set it up (very easy and user friendly) and soak up a lot of useful information.

Check out the following:

Harper Collins Voyager: http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/category/voyager-uk/

Pitch On: http://yatopia.blogspot.com/

Spooktacular Pitch Extravaganza: http://thiswritersworldplotbunnies.blogspot.com/2012/09/spooktacular-pitch-extravaganza-details.html

Pitch Live: http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/

Good luck!