If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Holy crap! I made it through the first round!! HELP!!!

I am so excited right now. I entered way too many contest this month and they must've jumbled together in my mind because I got totally confused on what was happening. I knew the Agent Pitches were going up in groups of forty, but I thought they were going up once a week on Deana's site, instead of all at once on different sites. So, I had NO idea my pitch was up HERE. Haha. I'm kind of glad I didn't know and couldn't sweat it.

Anyway, so I got the email tonight saying I'd made it through the first judging round and I was like "Whaaaaaaaaat???" So, I hunted down the website my pitch is up on and I actually got great feedback from the judges, except for that they all pretty much suggested that I don't have Luc waking up.

 Funny, because I'd already changed the beginning, but I wasn't positive about using the new one. I JUST wrote it and it hasn't been critiqued or anything. I was sort of just playing with the idea of this whole new beginning, but now I have to change it right away. Plus, I'm really worried that the new 150 words doesn't have as much voice as the old 150 did.

So, I know  I'm being a pain in the butt, but I SWEAR I will return the favor to whoever asks. :) What I need to know is this--which opening do you guys like better? I have until tomorrow night to get this back and perfect for the next round of the contest. 

The NEW 150: 

High above me, the glow of the ThriceMoon is being replaced by the glare of the rising sun. I let out a curse and push my feet faster over the worn cobblestone. I cannot believe I was witless enough to fall asleep at Sin’s. If my father discovers I stayed out all night...I shake my head. No
I will not get caught. My father will let me Test today. I will be on the Mission to Auri's world tonight. I repeat these three things again and again, my breath puffing in the cold morning air. The blue stretch of valley slowly brightens as the sun continues to labor across the horizon. I clutch the cramp in my side, scowling. I told Sin my suspension board wasn’t fast enough to triple flip. I warned him but he never listens. Now I get the joy of discovering how hard it is to run home from his lodge.

The OLD 150

Outside the window, the glow of the ThriceMoon is being replaced by the glare of the rising sun. Deep in a daydream about Auri, it takes me a few seconds to understand what's happening. The sun? Cursing, I bolt upright from the hard floor. The low rumble of Sin's snores fills the room. I scramble to my feet and punch his arm. "Sin!Blast it.Sin! Wake up!" I wave my hand, as if I can physically brush away the black-emotion trails floating around me.
On his bed, Sin jerks as his eyes fly open. "I wasn't with that girl." 
This earns him another punch. "I'm not one of your girls, dolt. We lost track of the hour. Look!" I point out the window that takes up the whole west wall of Sin's bedroom. Beyond it, the blue stretch of valley is brightening as the sun peeks over the horizon. 
***
So, any opinions? Did you like the new one? Old one? Any suggestions on how to make the new one better? Does it need to be better or did I get it perfect? (haha. It doesn't hurt to hope, right?) Thanks so much everyone. I know this is totally past the whole pitch-polish thing, but it's an emergency!!



30 comments:

  1. Goodness. That openings different again to the one you've sent me. ^_^
    I definately say the new 150 is better.

    And congrats on the votes. I was #9 in the adult section and barely got a single judge comments. -_-
    Ah well, there's the Small Pitch Press to try entering. Although I don't fancy my chances in getting through.

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    1. TamaraSeptember 20, 2012 12:13 AM
      haha...I know its different than what I sent you. Sorry. I was in the "do the rewrite, see if it works" phase, not the "make sure every single word of the beginning is as perfect as it can possibly get" phase.

      I got the email and that totally changed the ballgame. Really glad you like the new 150!! The second I'm done writing this, I'm opening yours and taking a look at it. I'm really sorry you didn't get any judge comments. I know that sucks, believe me. I just did this same exact sort of contest over on CAGI (Come and Get it). Only, in CAGI, it was only one agent or agent intern and they had to look at your pitch and tell you what they thought.

      At the time, I had a different pitch. (The pitch-polish blog hop helped SO much) Anyway, the agent HATED it. Tore it up. Both the pitch and the first 150. She gave me a half-assed compliment at the end, but I felt like it was tacked on just so I wouldn't want to kill myself. haha. I mean, literally the first thing she said to me was that she "cringed" as soon as she looked at my query cause it was too long. HARSH.

      But, I kept working on it and asking people for help and I guess it got a lot better cause this contest I had different results. So, obviously it was never my writing that sucked. Or my story. It was just that I wasn't describing it the right way. You might just need to tweak the query some more. I'm going to look at what you sent me right now. I'll let you know what I think of it, and if you want to send the query over, I'll give you my opinion. I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm not an expert query writer (as evidenced by the story I just told) but maybe I'll be able to help.

      Don't give up on the Small Pitch Press yet. And no "not fancying" your chances!

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    2. P.S. I don't want you to think I'm scrapping the whole chapter I sent you and doing it differently. Most of that chapter (with the possible exception of the first page or two) will stay the same, so I still need your opinion on whether or not it works. thanks!

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    3. I'll still be trying for a spot. But for me it opens at 3am on a Saturday morning and I'll be relying on outlook, which can get picky about when it decides to send my timed emails.

      Sometimes, I hate computers. But I'd be so stuck without one.

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  2. I knew you'd get through! I was so excited when I saw you on the final list that I let out a squeak! Needless to say I got some strange looks from The Boy when I tried to explain. That's 2 from 6 people I'm cheering for that I know of.

    As for the two parts, I really liked them both. The first one is descriptive but you're right in saying the second has more voice. I think agent's main beef if when they're sucked into a new, exciting world and then all of a sudden the MC wakes up. And technically it's not Luc who's waking up - it's Sin. I think they're both great and I really don't think your original opening is going to make anyone sneer.

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    1. So, do you think I could get away with the new 150, even if it doesn't have as much voice? It wasn't one agent who mentioned that I needed to seriously consider changing the beginning. It was two, or maybe three, I don't remember. So I'm super worried about it. Even though, like you said, Luc isn't waking up. Sin's waking up. Luc wasn't sleeping. He was daydreaming. haha.

      At any rate, for reasons of my own, I was already thinking about changing the beginning, so I'm probably going to. Any suggestions on how I could get more voice into the new 150? Or do you feel it works the way it is? I'm just a little tiny bit neurotically nervous about this. In case you can't tell.

      And thanks so much for the congratulations. I'm SO SUPER HAPPY!!!! Did you get in? Like I said, I didnt' even know the damn entry was up until tonight, so I got confused and I haven't seen who else made it through.

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    2. The new 150 still has voice. It's still interesting and makes you want to read more. And when you know who Auri is, it makes that 150 so much cuter. The old excerpt just has more action in it I guess.

      If agents keep on telling you it, there may be a point there. I don't see it but I'm not an agent. And if it's something you were planning on changing, and are comfortable changing, then go for it. I've heard a lot though, that you can't change things just to please an agent. You'll get the one perfect for you in the end. It just might take a little longer to get there. (But from what I've seen, you should be right)

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    3. And no, I didn't make it into the contest. Must have sent the email a second too late :(

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    4. That sucks! I know she said her inbox filled up in like a minute flat. Crazy!

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  4. First - CONGRATS!!

    I remember this very well from WriteOnCon, and it was my idea to have the mc with his friend in the beginning rather than being alone - my opinion was that backstory (and you have a lot of backstory and worldbuilding in your first 5 pages) is more entertaining in dialog than in straight inner-thoughts when the character's alone. So I'm voting for the old one. People are just being narrow-minded about the "waking-up" scene. But perhaps you can have the boys playing some kind of a game, with the curtains drawn, and they didn't realize it was dawn until they hear Sin's parents waking up and moving around. That would eliminate the waking-up part, but still allow for dialog to introduce some elements of the backstory.

    Also, in answer to your question on my blog, I lived in Queens, but occasionally crossed into Jersey to dance at a Turkish nightclub. I think it was in Newark, but that was a looooong time ago. lol

    Good luck!! :-)

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    1. Thanks Lexi,
      I did decide to go with the first one, with him just running. I seriously considered your idea and I liked it but, since I cut most of that chapter, I decided to just keep what I have. I don't have all the backstory after the running anymore. He just runs, calls his dog, goes home and then most of the chapter takes place with him interacting with his family.

      I think I went to a Turkish nightclub in Newark a loooong time ago. I remember it. Wow. Queens huh? And now Egypt. It sounds like you've lead an extremely interesting life!

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  5. At first I was a little disappointed because we didn’t get to see the dynamic between Luc and Sin right away. Then I hit this: “I told Sin my suspension board wasn’t fast enough to triple flip. I warned him but he never listens.” HAHA! After that, I’d be dying to meet this Sin character. And I love that you just say: “I will be on the Mission to Auri's world tonight.” It makes us wonder who Auri is and why she’s important.

    My verdict? Take a deep breath. This new 150 is ready to go. :)

    Having said that, it sounds like Lexa has read more of this than I have, and I agree that backstory through dialogue is more interesting. But, for the purposes of GUTGAA, I think this 150 nails it.

    And AHHHHHH!!! Congrats! *throws confetti* So glad Against the Falling Moons made it! :D

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    1. Thanks Jayme!!!

      I threw some confetti too. And I'm feeling much more confident in the scene today. I loved that you got where I was going with the suspension board part. Someone else said it slowed the scene down a little, but I put it in there to add some voice and to give an immediate idea of Sin. So, I like that it worked! That was actually my favorite part of that little scene.

      Lexa read an old version, so I dont' have all that backstory anymore. It's all in dialogue now, so I think this works. Phew. haha. Thanks for chiming in! :)

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  6. Hey congratulations! Both samples have their strong points and a different feel. Just go with your gut instinct.

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  7. Congratulations! I liked both, but the first is the one that grabbed me the most. But they were both good.

    Good luck!

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  8. So, obviously, I'm partial to the old version (and the dialogue haha) BUT I like this new version too! I would definitely keep reading, and I think it's a strong piece for the contest :)

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  9. Congratulations! That's great!
    I like both, I don't think you can go wrong here, really. That said, the new version does bring us a bit more into the story right away. Good luck in the next round!

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  10. The first one, definitely! You know I always liked you starting with Luc AND with him running. I don't know about the last three sentences, though. I think they slow down the pace a bit and I don't know if we really need to know about the suspension board right at that moment. Just my opinion, but congrats on making it through the first round! If I have to tell you that you are an awesome writer again, I'll eat my hat! LOL.

    P.S. I've made my post on my site, so now the cat is out of the bag. Go have a looksee-lol.

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  11. Well, I feel SO much better. I tend to panic at these things. haha. I was convinced last night that I'd never come up with something good enough in time. I rewrote that 150 SO many times. haha. By five in the morning I was all bleary-eyed and grouchy and my husband forced me off to bed.

    Funny how much better the scene looks this morning than it did last night. hehe. I am just a little neurotic. This is my first go round with any kind of contest stuff or anything like this. It's nerve wracking. I'm ready now though.

    I am doing what Alex said and going with my gut, which is the first scene. I like it.

    Thanks so much everyone. Oh, and for those of you who are biting your nails wondering--haha--I made into the top three of the kissing scene contest! Woo-hoo! This contest is taking forever. haha. After this week the last two people left will post like 1500 words of their scenes instead of just one sentence at a time. phew! Hope it's me!!

    Again, thanks to everyone for being so awesome and supportive!! You guys are so great!

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  12. I just sent you my thoughts on the whole first chapter. I think both first 150 are fine, but the earlier version probably does a better job of getting the voice across. But both are essentially the same scene - a wakeup scene. The new one just starts a few moments after the wakeup. I don't think it really leads into the rest of what the scene is about and the real conflict that you have there. Just my thoughts.

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  13. OMG! Congratulations :D

    I'll be rooting for you in the next round! Oh, and my post for Reader's Choice Award should be up in a moment. Check it out when you're less busy.

    And to answer your question here... Mmm. I like the old 150 better than the new ones. In the old ones, we get to see a little bit more of Luc's personality. Plus, I thought it was funnier. There's a lot of merit to the new ones, though. For example, the stakes are much more tangible on them than in the old ones. Perhaps you could find a way to combine them for better results if you still have time. Anyway, your story is great.

    Good luck!

    Johana :)

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    1. All right. It's up. And I encouraged people to root for you, so feel free to use my post as an ad campaign LOL

      XOXO

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  14. I wished I had seen this earlier do I could have commented. But I am SO SO HAPPY for you. I'm wishing you the best of luck in the final round:)

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    1. Thanks so much! I ended up not going with either example on here. At the last minute, I went with something new. So, that's that. haha. Now all I have to do is wait. :)

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  15. Hey Tamara! Congratulations on making it through... And good luck! :)

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I've got my fingers crossed. :)

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  16. Well I got here late, but anyways huge congrats on making it to the next round, and to the final three of the kissing contest!

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    1. Thanks, Mere!
      Yeah, I can't believe I made it through either. The kissing scene contest has been going on forever. haha. Top three though!! Next week's the kicker. If I can make it into the top two, I feel like I've got a chance of actually winning it. :) The prize is a twenty-page critique from an agent. Worse case scenario--she tells me how to fix whatever is wrong in my first twenty pages so another agent will want to keep reading. Best case scenario--she wants to keep reading. So, it's pretty much win win either way. :)

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)