Contest update: Intentions

(I’ll tag those who gave me advice or criticism in the Facebook version of this–thank you!–and those whose advice I still hope for.)

I’ve repeatedly appealed for your help selecting and revising pieces to enter in a novel-first-page contest. My quasi-deadline is today; after today the entry fee roughly doubles from just under $5 to just under $10, so I intend to make my entries today. (I’m scheduling this post to run somewhat earlier than usual so that anyone with last-minute advice can give it before I actually enter, but “speak now or forever hold your peace.”)

(As an aside, the “shorts” side of the contest has quite a bit of time left; I narrowed my choice of poetry down somewhat but still need your help on that front.)

After receiving excellent advice from Nate, Amanda, Hannah, and Holly, I have made my selections and made some small improving revisions. First, the three pieces I will not be entering:

  • “A Backwater Rebellion”: I have come to agree with most of my reviewers: This story is far too abrupt and confusing, particularly as it begins. It desperately needs revision.
  • Castle Commander: I agree with the initial review: There’s no obvious difference between this and your stereotypical fantasy novel. This was an experiment, and while I may return to it at some point the experiment was not really a succcess.
  • A Calculated Wager: This is one that reviewers seemed to overlook. It’s promising, but not there yet. As one would expect from its origin (I began it around the same time as the original version of An Internal Conflict, of which the piece of the same name in this set is a rewrite), it needs substantial revision.

The three pieces I intend to enter in the contest:

  • The Invasion: I wrote my first draft of this in eighth or ninth grade, and have continued to revise it often since then. Even this first scene could be improved, but I’m relatively satisfied with it.
  • Sunshine Civil War: This is the piece most liked by reviewers so far; the tone and style of the first scene is not typical of the novel (so far), but I’m somewhat hopeful for this piece in at least the first stage.
  • An Internal Conflict: A Second Time Around: This is my current favorite, and I’m glad to say that some reviewers agreed. Its primary weakness is that the prologue, in which Persephone reflects on everything that’s gone wrong, is absolutely necessary to the plot, the most important bit (which might make some readers more interested in reading more and so make them score it higher) has to be at the end of the prologue, and I can’t really make the prologue any shorter than its current length, which is too long for a single page (and WEbook’s “page” length is probably shorter than mine). But if this gets past the first round, I’m somewhat optimistic.
  • If you think I should choose differently (or if you’d like to make your agreement known), please speak up! And I still need your help revising the pieces and improving the plot summaries (warning: both of those links are to PDFs); if you have any ideas on either front, please let me hear them before the day is out.

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