Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Status: We adopted another dog! For those of you who do not know, that now makes 4 rescue dogs in the Turcotte household. This one was kind of an accident, though. I wanted to go to the shelter where we got two of our other dogs (Dash and Indy...we adopted Jujube from a doggie foster home) to donate a bag of dog food. My wonderful husband said we could only go if I promised we wouldn't come home with another dog. I said that we didn't even have to go inside and look at the dogs. Just drop the food off in the bin outside and get out of there. But he decided that if we were going to drive all that way, we should at least go see the dogs. And that's how we fell in love with Shadow. :)
Number of queries sent: 22
Number of form rejections: 8
Number of requests for additional materials: 0
The Secret Agent contest is over! Since I led with the news about Shadow, you were probably able to guess that I wasn't one of the winners. But I still feel like I got a great deal out of participating, so that's awesome. I'll list my reasons below.
#1: Validation. Secret Agent said she'd keep reading. She had some issues that she wanted to see quickly ironed out, but she'd keep reading. That means that my idea is good and my writing (while she thought it was perhaps flawed) was strong enough to get her to read more. She specifically said that she was intrigued. And I just think that's awesome. It makes me feel very good about myself, and makes me want to keep writing and keep trying to get published.
#2: Progress. Instead of getting up in arms about the negative comments I received, calling them all stupid, and stoically believing I'm always right, I thought long and hard about what people said. After all, these are people that know nothing about me and didn't have to offer their opinions. They gave me honest feedback because they wanted to help a total stranger. So I thought about my sentence structure. I thought about my choice of words. And I especially thought about my first two sentences. I get what I was trying to convey. My husband gets what I was trying to convey. And maybe a lot of other people would, too. But there were a number of people who commented on how those sentences just didn't seem to make sense, and they weren't logical. So I took all of this new knowledge and used it to reshape parts of my opening 250 words. These are changes I never would have considered making if I hadn't been part of the Secret Agent contest. And now my opening is much stronger. At least in my opinion. And that of my husband. Which is a good start.
#3: Opportunity. (I hope.) I'm taking my improved opening out for a spin. I entered another contest here. This one asks for title, genre, word count, query, and first 250 words. I think that I present a very strong case for my MS with all of that together, and I'm excited to see if this pans out. Unlike the other contests, this one isn't determined by a lottery, or the first 60 to enter are in, or anything random like that. My entry actually has to be good to be considered. People can enter during one of two windows (one was last night, and one begins in a little under an hour). The first 100 entries during each window make it to the internal judging round. I sent mine in last night the moment the contest opened, and received confirmation that I'm in the first group of 100! Then, of those 200 entries, the 50 strongest are chosen. Those 50 are the ones that will be posted on the blog and judged by any number of assorted literary agents. So hopefully with the changes I was able to make after the Secret Agent Contest, I'll have a strong enough entry to make it into the final round, and maybe get some requests for partials or fulls out of it. It's all about the power of positive thinking, right? That and the power of awesome writing. I know I have the first. I'm hoping for further validation of the second.