Thursday, September 23, 2010
Community vs Contest
While I love NBC's "Community," this post is not about the show. Rather, it's about the community of writers, bloggers, agents, published and represented authors that form a supportive network across the interwebs. Interestingly enough, I've found that the most helpful, talented and altruistic people tend to shine through during a contest.
Think about that for a second. Here we have a competition among many worthy adversaries for a coveted prize. In any other community, be it other arts, sports, business, people would be clamoring over each other for attention and trying their damnedest to out-do the next guy.
But not with writers. Writers support each other and offer their praise, criticism and unwavering encouragement. For every author gaining representation, for every book sold at auction, for every project opted for multiple sequels and movies, the writing community grows stronger. This is one case where competition really does improve the craft of everyone involved, if you're open to criticism and change.
I'm posting this today because I was lucky to be a finalist in a recent contest at the Adventures in Children's Publishing blog. While I didn't place in the top 3 winners, I wasn't disappointed. The critiques I gathered on my pitch and query from other authors and contestants were invaluable. I've already used it to strengthen my delivery and see what works and what doesn't.
And to be honest, as soon as I read the pitch for the winning entry, I knew it was special. Something about it just clicked. I'm assuming this is what agents look for in their slush piles. Meagan Spooner's "The Iron Wood" sounds absolutely amazing. Click through to read her full query, but here's a snippet:
When Lark develops abilities that doom her to life as a magical battery, she must escape her energy-starved city and fight to survive in the monster-infested wilderness beyond long enough to find others like her, and the key to her own powers.
And it was very cool to watch her pitch/query grow in strength over the weeks. Congratulations to Meagan on a well-deserved win!