Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Thursday, March 29, 2012

update #11

There's nothing like a nice yummy slice of pie or cake after a delicious dinner is there? 

Here, choose one:




No, wait, you have to look at these too!





And don't forget cookies! Cookies are delicious!



Chocolate chip cookies and milk? Honestly, that's almost perfection right?






Now, choose one.

Ok, two.

No more.


That's our job on the Liz Norris Pay It Forward Debut Novel contest.  As we read the entries it's clear it's not a question of sorting good from bad.   Every entry has merit.  And honest to god, if you know nothing else about me, you know if it was crap, I'd be the first one to tell you. And make you spell it correctly.




Despite all your foolishness of single spacing and incorrect pagination; even despite the hurling locomotives that have another THINK coming---every writer who entered is a good writer. The entries don't resemble the slush at all.  They resemble finalists in writing contests I've judged over the years for MWA and RWA chapters.

This is making me very unhappy in the best possible way.


44 comments:

Feaky Snucker said...

Spoiled for choice - the best kind.

Charlie Holmberg said...

Ha ha, that is good to hear. Good luck with your "desserts" ;)

MittensMorgul said...

I'd take the chocolate cake, but that's just me. I can see how this is a problem. A delicious problem, but fattening, too. Good thing sharks have quick metabolisms!

Colin Smith said...

Wow... assuming my humble entry is included in this comment, I feel as if I've won already. Thanks Janet. Made my day. :)

Jamie Wyman said...

I'm with Colin on this one. I just read it to my husband and he said, "So there, neener neener."

Thank you, Janet and all the judges. I know this can't be easy on the eyes, brain, sanity or anything else.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

That's great! Congratulations to all those who entered. It's always lovely to hear you are not crap, especially from someone who knows what they're talking about. ;)

Polly said...

That's so lovely, yet I still feel like Dorothy at the end of the "Wizard of Oz" - "I don't think you have anything in that bag for me..."

The Writer Librarian said...

Made my day too, in every possible way. But, as my grandfather once said, "When you stop getting better, you stop being good." Next task: whipping my crappy query into shape.

Janet Reid said...

yea, well, none of you can write query letters for shit, and that's the truth. I glance at them just to see what category we're in and the name of the main character.

:(((

Lanette said...

This is both good and bad news. Good because I've just been told by the awesome Janet Reid that I can write and write well. Bad because I'm competing against 400 other good writers.

w8lessopr8r said...

So, it couldn't be THAT expensive to treat 416 of us to the Backspace Writing Conference ...

MittensMorgul said...

It's good to know that queries are the great leveler. And also good to know you have a pile of fantastic manuscripts to judge us on instead of a pile of crap queries!

The MS might be longer, but at least they don't make you want to claw your eyes out, it seems. Which is truly the best news I've heard in a long time. I'm honored (if my MS is included in that comment) to be in such good company in the contest! :)

Colin Smith said...

"...I glance at them just to see what category we're in and the name of the main character."

Our queries can't be *that* bad if we've got that much right! ;)

Dana said...

Wow, even with the 'can't write query letters for shit' comment (but what else would one expect from the query shark?), this blog post totally made my day, and made me happy that I entered this contest.

Thanks for that.

D.B. Sieders

Sarah said...

Hear, hear, Lanette! I agree this post both lifts me and makes me bite my nails at the same time. I'm waffling between "I can't wait for April 24th!" and "I don't want the 24th to get here."

Also, I hate queries...but not as much as synopses. *shudders*

Brent Stratford said...

Wow! Just wow. It is fantastic to hear that your work is not crap from someone so notoriously critical. Since only one of us can win. We all better put some serious work into writing better query letters.

Achilles said...

"Now choose one. Ok, two..."

"Two"??? Does this mean there might by a second place prize and/or two winners?

Charley said...

Good drama requires conflict, and we've made the judges conflicted. Given you your just desserts (hey, someone had to say it). Success! All else being equal, I predict the winner will be whoever figured out how to attach chocolate to an email. (Alas, the Ghirardelli sort of squished out the bottom of my wireless box.)

Rick Anderson said...

Wait a minute. Sorry Janet, but I ain't buying it. I know mine was crap(.)(!)(?)(?)(?) Crap-e diem.

Judith Gonda said...

I agree with the other comments. Your post made my day. Hoping you'll pull an Oprah, Janet, but instead of cars for everyone...surprise! Everyone gets published! Yay! *jumps around room* Best. Contest. Evah!

Lanette said...

I'm with Judith. I'll take a publishing contract over a new car any day.

Janet Reid said...

Ok, everyone is a good writer except Rick. Better?

NicW said...

Wow. I don't know if there's a better compliment for writers than to be compared to cookies. I hope mine's macadamia nut! :-)

Robin Connelly said...

Are you going to email writers to see if you can use some of their query's for Query Shark?

John Lucas Hargis said...

Rick should have kept his mouth shut...

Larissa said...

I must need therapy or something. Instead of hearing a compliment, my immediate reaction is that you clearly mean every entry but mine.

Is there a Neurotic Writers' Anonymous?

Glad the contest judging isn't painful, but sorry your decision is going to be hard.

Oh, and thanks for the updates!

Michael Seese said...

So if I'm reading correctly between the lines, you soon will have 416 +/- new clients.

Seriously, you had me at "good writer." Thanks so much for the compliment. It really does me (and I'm sure all of us) good to hear something like that, considering that we usually hear, "Thanks, but no thanks.

The Writer Librarian said...

Not to overdose the shark with chum, but I'm with Robin...all us sucky query writers need is a compass to know when we're on the right track (or the wrong one!).

Wry Wryter said...

Pick me, pick me, I bake...well not really but I know someone who does.

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...

Larissa ... you and me both. I read it feeling totally emotional and awesome. Then that nasty little voice crept up and said "Settle down girl -she's not talking to you. Clearly an agent would have responded positively by now."

I think we all have that voice. Its moving PAST it and giving it the finger that counts. :-)

Now regarding the query. Ms. Shark already received my first one as a QS submission. It hasn't been used yet, but its there. The funny part of this story .... what I sent in with my contest submission was my GOOD one. My revision. Yikes.

GO AHEAD AND LAUGH.

Ps. Thanks again for this contest and the updates. You already know it,but we love you.

kaycamden.com said...

Well, I need a drink. I thought my query was decent. I worked for two years on that sucker.

416 good writers and 416 crap query letters. I think it's time for agents to DO AWAY with the need for query letters since these numbers prove a divide between good writing and a good query letter. Anybody with me???

M.V.Freeman said...

I loved this post--so positive (and yes, I like a good slice of something sweet!)And The cookie monster picture--had me laughing out loud!

Thank you!

BPatterson said...

What a wonderful note! I'm going to bounce all week. :D

(Though I do understand your pain. I used to judge a cosplay costume contest based solely on craftsmanship. We had a guy who spent two years hand-molding 38 resin-cast armor pieces, against a girl who spent three years hand-sewing a 16' wide cape with the most ornate anime-style applique I've ever seen. We had sixteen ties for second place we had to narrow down based on the stupidest piddly little crap. It was the most amazing/difficult six hours I'd spend in a year.)

It now occurs to me that the only person who questioned our judging and bitched about the fact she didn't place -to my and another judge's face - had the worst costume in the contest.

Though, I am curious, would it be considered bad taste to submit our query letters to the shark after the contest ends? (Without expecting any special chance to be chosen for the shark, of course.)

Janet Reid said...

Kay, your query was the exception to the generalization.

Bonnee Crawford said...

If all the cake is so delicious, why don't you just keep all of it? Yeah, pick winners, but let the others have some glory too if they're that good. DON'T LET DESSERT GO TO WASTE! GIVE ME THE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!!!

Ellen said...

So if we win, do we get to learn which dessert our project was equated with?

I'd guess mine would be the walnut cookies. It looks delicious and innocuous. But it can totally kill you if you're allergic. >.>

Achilles said...

Gulp. Like Kay, I also thought my query was pretty decent.

I have to think some (20? 10? 5?)of our queries (other than Kay's) stood out among the dreck. Hopefully?

Or maybe I don't want to know...

Anyway, congrats Kay on being the exception!

Colin Smith said...

I honestly thought my query was pretty good too... but I'm still glowing from the manuscript comment... :D

kregger said...

Rats,

Now I have to re-think the log line/rhetorical question with character soup and synopsis with a heavy dose of backstory for the first paragraph of my query.

starting over

Was it a dark and stormy night when my MC jumped the shark...

That's not it--too voicy.

Back to the query drawing board. I hate drawing!

Rick Anderson said...

Kay, way to go!

Feaky Snucker said...

The fiery jealousy I feel from being Canadian, and ineligible for the contest, has changed my eyes from blue to green. *howls*

But, congrats to everyone who entered! I hope the person who needs this the most, wins. :)

Rick Anderson said...

Seriously, have all the entries been read? Sheeeeeesh, if so, that is amazing.

Kay Camden said...

Thanks, Achilles and Rick. I've been trying to comment, but the word verification isn't working for me. I think I've had a heart attack and died anyway, so it really doesn't matter...

Rick Anderson said...

Kay, very happy to hear of your excellent query but sad to learn of your recent demise. Please send postcards from the other side. I need to know if they have cookies and cupcakes there too.