First I want to say THANK YOU to all my awesome new followers! I'm so glad you found me here and look forward to getting to know all of you better!
Second I want to tell you how brave each and every one of you are. It's not easy to let anyone crit your work, let alone a stranger. Thank you for trusting me and I hope I was able to give you something useful to apply to your manuscripts! Each of you are clearly talented writers who will go far.
There's something really important I learned in this process. Wanna know what it is?
I'm gonna tell you anyway.
But first, a quick story....
I started critting the 150 words on a Saturday afternoon. And because I'm kinda, sorta, maybe a little OCD, I did them in order. It was obvious that there was a lot of talent in the bunch. But every crit I did I kept going back to the very first story. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'd read another story, crit it, then go back to that first one. I'd read the authors words, then my own. Then I started pacing. And, whenever I got the chance, I would yak on and on about it to anyone who would listen to me. I couldn't get it out of my head.
When I finished with all the samples, I went back to that very first story. I couldn't stand it anymore so I emailed the author and asked for the first chapter. I just HAD to know what was going to happen in that story. Srsly, it was all I could think about. The author sent me the first chapter and I was even more intruiged. I wanted the WHOLE manuscript.
Here's the author, Taryn's, revised submission based on my feedback:
The Sour Patch Kids in the bottom of Heidi Maverick’s sparkly clutch probably bothered him the most.
The Sour Patch Kids, or the ticket stub from that new boy band’s concert.
The Sour Patch Kids, or the ticket stub, or the cotton candy flavored lip gloss.
As he dug deeper into the purse, those random bits of garbage tickled his hands with worry. He thought he’d picked the right girl this time. From afar, this Heidi had looked like a high school upperclassman, slutty and desperate—just the kind of girl he usually took. He had even chatted her up to make sure her family wouldn’t come looking; sure enough, her parents were another dead-beat dad and overworked mom. Looked good and normal. Most importantly, profitable. So, he signaled to his partner and spiked her drink.
There were many reasons that I adored these first 150 words.
From the start, the voice is solid. And it's unique, but not so different that I couldn't connect. In fact, I kinda, sorta liked the slimebag. So win #1 for Taryn.
The next thing that I picked up on was the bit of mystery - what else did he find in the purse? why was he going through her purse? what was he going to do to her? and why? I JUST HAD TO KNOW! Score #2.
Quite frankly, I didn't need another reason after that. Those two things were enough. GOAL Taryn!
Here's the weird thing. This isn't a story I would normally choose to read. But that suddenly didn't matter. At all.
Okay - so back to my point. I learned something really valuable from this experience. On a very small scale, I could understand how agents/editors feel when they read our queries and sample pages. Every submission I read was GREAT writing. They were all intriguing. But this story I could NOT get out of my head no matter how hard I tried.
And I imagine that's the same thing that happens to agents/editors. They see lots of great writing everyday. Stuff that might be perfect for someone else - but just doesn't resonante with them for some reason or another. But when that one story comes along that they can't forget, it's like a drug. You have to have more!
So the next time an agent/editor says, "You are a good writer, I just didn't fall in love with your story." Believe them. It means exactly that. It honestly doesn't mean anything else.
Now, for those of you who have skipped reading this post just to scroll down to the bottom to see the winners - well, you're in luck!
Here they are:
#1 - KRIS
#2 - RACHEL
#3 - BETHANY
#4 - PAM
And the existing follower whose pitch I LOVED is ANGIE! I'd love to see the first page (not just 150 words)!
Email me at Amiegr8tstuff (at) aol (dot) com to claim your prize. Please list your prize preferences, from greatest to least, so I can try to make sure everyone gets something they'll be happy with :)