Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Another fab contest- Donna Alward’s Perfect Pitch January 18, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 3:38 pm
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Hopefully everyone who had positive feedback from the 2009 Presents contest are working on finishing their stories and polishing their chapters, ready to send in to the editors!

But I know many who received the “form feedback” aka rejection have been feeling just a tad despondent and wondering what to do next.

Here’s a chance for those of us who have decided that perhaps Presents isn’t the line our voice best fits and are looking around at the other Harlequin Mills and Boon lines.

Pitch contests are happening regularly over at eHarlequin this year for various lines, and they are a fab opportunity!

Honing a pitch is a necessary skill anyway. Pitches help us to really get to the heart of what our story is, the characters and their conflicts. They’re what we put in a query letter to a publisher or agent. Not only that, these pitch contests are a great chance to get immediate feedback from an editor on our story ideas for those chosen to pitch, and to bypass the slush pile if she asks the writer to submit.

There’s also a different pitching contest- with an excellent prize. Donna Alward, who writes Harlequin Romance, is offering to mentor one writer for a year. Clicking the heading will take you to eHarlequin for more details, but I cut and pasted the main announcement.

Donna Alward’s Perfect Pitch Contest

Now that the wonderful Winnie Griggs has finished her pitching workshop, here’s your chance to try out your skills!

It can be for any heat level or subgenre of romance – spicy to sweet, Inspy, Paranormal, Suspense, straight up Contemporary, Historical and anywhere in between. The contest closes Friday midnight EST. I’ll pick five winning pitches and announce them on the thread. Each of those winners will send me a first chapter. I’ll then judge the first chapters and one person will get me as a mentor for the year. The thread will be here for you to post any questions and to read the winning entries! What are you waiting for? Get pitching!

What: Donna Alward’s Perfect Pitch Contest
Where: Eharlequin!
When: One week only – Jan 18th
Who: Unpublished Aspiring authors
How: E-mail me your pitch at donna@donnaalward.com.

This is a fabulous chance- Donna is a talented and generous writer! Friday deadline- gotta be quick!

I’m working on my pitch and my story. I’m seriously behind on my word count targets but the good news is I am getting a grasp on the conflict in my story.  The internal conflict was there all along, built into the characters, but the external conflict was missing. I realised today that something that was part of the story all along, almost background, a subplot with one of the secondary characters, can be a rich source of external conflict. It links deeply into the theme of the story, which is that true family is about ties of love, not ties of blood.

 Now I just have to write it!


Wonderful Michelle Styles article…

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 11:19 am

… called Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover  just out in Living North magazine.

I adore Michelle, though I’ve never met her! She’s a fab writer, a great ambassador for Mills and Boon in particular and romance writing in general.

The one surprise in the article- I never knew she was American! I’d always assumed she was from the North of England where she now lives. People in that region are reputed to be warm, practical, but also direct and not the type to suffer fools gladly. Michelle is a support to many unpublished writers, dispensing to the point and wise advice, that fits perfectly with that North Country image!