publishing, writing

DON’T FEAR THE SHARK

Okay, I went for the snazzy title, and yes, a specific Shark will make an appearance in this post, but it’s not about the ocean’s most deadly killer (apart from those jellyfish, I hear they’re vicious).

 

No.

 

This post is about a topic that’s sensitive, but shouldn’t be.

 

Letting people see and critique your query.

 

For those of you still with me after that revelation, I think some writers (2010-me included), might be a tad reticent to have their work, the words they’ve slaved over for weeks, months, years (?), ripped to shreds by strangers.

 

But it’s what pushes you forward. Unless you’re Kafka and have a very nosy friend who finds your brilliant work and pesters you into publishing it (according to urban legend, at least), you need to get yourself out there.

 

It hurts. It’s more brutal than not.

 

But if you want an agent, you gotta have a killer query. And, thanks to the Internet, now we have countless sites, blog posts and Tweets dedicated to this very topic.

 

I learned how to write queries by having them critiqued. And the best critiquer out there is Query Shark. (Though I haven’t been fortunate enough to have my query reviewed on there)

 

Yes, the dreaded site where queries either go to die or rise like Fawkes. Trust me on this one. Go through the archives, see what worked for other people–and what didn’t–and make changes accordingly.

 

Submit your own.

 

Go forth and swim until your fins drop and every word shines.

 

You can also check out some of Kristin Nelson’s successful queries (and read her amazing blog, PubRants). I also recommend Kyra M. Nelson’s site, as well as the Absolute Write forum.

 

Oh, yeah. And all these resources are 100% free.

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writing, Writing Contests

July 2015 Critique Blog Hop

Because Michele Hauk is a genius, she’s started a really exciting and very useful critique blog hop. Basically, you post your query and first 250 words, get critiqued by other writers (hello y’all!) and do some critiquing of your own (which is extremely helpful for everyone involved).

So, without further ado, here is my entry for the 2015 Critique Blog Hop:

Title: BEWARE OF BOLTON MANOR

Name: Amelia Creed

Genre: NA Romantic Suspense

Word Count: 70K

Query:

Junior estate agent, Olivia Abate, the walking cautionary tale for fresh starts, has one goal – to get the Bolton Manor listing before her dolt of a coworker. Their unethical rivalry takes a grim turn when the old woman who owns the property suffers a mental breakdown, and Olivia must spend a week at the manor if she wants a signed contract and the coveted promotion.

Ignoring her hesitation, Olivia deals with quaint guests fond of collecting serial killer memorabilia, perpetually hung-over nieces, and apathetic servants, one rehearsed smile at a time. Her only escape is the dry-humored heir of the estate, Thomas Bolton, who appears to be as starved for companionship as the manor is for renovation. His odd disdain for newcomers and Olivia’s fear of gaining an unjust advantage barely keep them from crossing the professional line.

Her moral dilemma vanishes along with her coworker, and Olivia faces the gut-wrenching possibility that she might lose not only her career and the promise of an uncommon relationship, but also her life.

BEWARE OF BOLTON MANOR is complete at 70,000 words and is a standalone novel with series potential.

250:

The faux leather on the backseat was peeling off and Olivia Abate’s best stockings already had two holes in them. Served her right for cheaping out on her last shopping trip and fidgeting since she had jumped into the cab. The driver’s road manners didn’t help either.

“Is there any possible way we could go faster?” she asked. The driver looked at her in his rear-view mirror, using his tongue to clean the remnants of his lunch from his teeth. Olivia pretended she didn’t notice. “Or find a shortcut?”

“No can do, Miss. We’re on the shortest road and I ain’t keen on getting a flat tire,” the driver said.

Olivia nodded and looked over her shoulder in the rear window, biting the inside of her cheek. Still no sign of another car. That could only mean two things – either her coworker had gotten lost on the muddy roads or he had already arrived at the manor. Or maybe he had given up on the challenge altogether.

Gazing down at the single sheet of paper in her file, marked ‘Bolton Manor – potential listing’, Olivia tried to find some sort of detail that could give her an advantage. Apart from specifying the size of the domain, the number of rooms and adjacent dwellings, such as the boat house, and the current owner, there wasn’t much written down. Not even a picture of the estate.

And for a junior estate agent, such as Olivia, that meant trouble; taxing, exciting, and career-defining trouble.

Thank you to all the writers who will take the time to critique my work. You guys are awesome for doing this and for having the courage to put your work out there and receive feedback.

And have an awesome day!