In between reading books for my critical thesis, I've been polishing my manuscript because there are several opportunities coming up that require submitting the opening pages.
I already sent the first five pages to a contest sponsored by the Dallas/Ft. Worth Writers Workshop. The deadline was last week and I didn't want to miss it, so I submitted it before the winter residency at Vermont College.
In some ways that is very sad, because the one hundred books I read and the dozen of essays I wrote during my first two semesters finally gelled during the lectures and discussions I attended on campus. I've come up with a new first sentence filled with mystery and emotion. I hope it will capture a reader's attention in a way my previous opening did not.
But, all is not lost!
I get to send that first sentence and dozens of its followers (up to 500 words) to Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency for the contest she has set up on her Kidlit blog. First prize is a 15-page critique!
Here's the entire lowdown on Mary's contest. It's a great way to get an agent's reaction to your work.
My SCBWI chapter also has a manuscript critique/contest in conjunction with their spring conference. I have another week or so to polish my first ten pages that will then be considered by an agent or two editors. But I won't know the results of that until the conference on March 27. (And I have to wait even longer on the Dallas entry, that's not until April 9!)
Mary Kole says she'll take about a week to consider her entries. That really appeals to my desire for immediate gratification!