Thing The First
Voting has opened in the Chase the Dream contest. This is a good, unique contest that lets you not only vote on your favorites, but also discuss the relative merits of each entry. Agent Laura Bradford and I have already made our official judge's comments in the comment threads. Take a look -- it might be useful to see how many people react to the same details in manuscripts, and how frequently we diverge. Reading is subjective, even when it's done by an educated reader.
By the way, this contest has a strong history of connecting writers with contracts. I asked for two fulls based on the manuscripts I saw, but one of the two will go to another editor here. It's so right up her alley. I just know she'll love the concept and the voice. Only time will tell if either of these manuscripts will go to contract, but so far, so good.
Thing the Second
Speaking of editors and agents publicly commenting about real work from real writers....
I don't want to get into a rehash of the #queryfail dramatics on Twitter and various other sites. This isn't the place to settle that debate. However, in the off chance that you aren't already aware of what happened, a group of agents and editors tweeted their responses to queries one day this week. If you haven't already read the actual tweets, go to Twitter and type #queryfail in the dialogue box. I thought there were many smart, educational posts made in the course of the day, and certainly, it might hammer home a few golden rules of querying. (Include the word count. Pretty please?) Could be useful to those about to query.
I'm not taking sides in the ethics debate that erupted over #queryfail. But this might be a good time to remind folks that we don't post specifics about anyone's queries or manuscripts without their permission. If we want to discuss something we saw, we make up details that roughly approximate what we saw but that don't resemble the actual submission.
Please don't take that comment as a criticism of the whole #queryfail process. It's not intended to be. 'Nuff said.
Thing the Third
We were talking the other day about writing fear and some of the ways people cope with that. Along the same thread, a friend told me about a pretty cool little widget called Write or Die. Do you guys all know about this? It's pretty nifty. I tried it out myself and had a lot of fun with it, but I was just writing notes. Maybe it's different if you're drafting an actual scene. I'd love to hear some feedback on it -- you know, I sometimes have to coach writers who are having a tough time with a manuscript, and I'm thinking this might be another useful tool in the toolkit.
But you tell me. Go try it out, and then let me know if it helped or hindered your process.