We've all had those moments where it feels like the rest of the world is completely out of touch with our personal reality. I thought it would be fun to share some of our writing-related WT-? moments. I'm not sure we'll learn anything new from our examples, but I think they'll reinforce the truth that in this biz, you just never know...
I'll get us started with two WT-?s. I hope to read YOURS in the comments.
Some of you know the annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) competition is in full swing right now. Most of you don't know I entered. The competition has rounds through which your manuscript is elevated, much like an agent looks at a work: query, partial, full. ABNA limited the number of adult book entries to 5000. In the first round, they eliminated 80% of the entries judged on the query alone (although, oddly, they never used the term "query"). That hefty slice scared a lot of people. And for many folk who didn't have a decent query -- and especially for those who didn't even know what one was -- rightly so.
To me, 20% getting through based on a query for goodness sake seemed quite generous. I entered Sector C: high concept, not too science fiction-y for a general competition, with a decent query that had garnered several agent requests for partials and the full. (Have I mentioned the half-dozen personal rejections where the agents actually stated in no thinly veiled language that they expected this novel to sell and that I shouldn't have a problem getting representation for it? Believe me, you don't know what rejection really means until one of those babies lands in your inbox. And when it happens 5 or 6 times ... but I digress.)
Well, considering today's theme, you all know where this is leading. My query didn't make the cut. Let me repeat that. My query didn't make a cut that, at 20%, is up to 4 times more generous than agents requesting from the slush pile. Yeah, WT-?
I console myself with having the full currently being considered by two "Big 6" imprints.
Considering this has to do with another contest, you would think I really should have learned my lesson about entering contests by now. This happened a couple of years ago, in a competition hosted by a popular multi-author blog, with published authors as the judges. The contest had two rounds: query and the first 3000 words. I entered a WIP (which is still a WIP for reasons wholly unrelated).
The query passed easily. The excerpt was posted with an anonymous judge's comments. S/he had gone through the first few hundred words "correcting" grammar and sentence choices. About a third of the way through, s/he made this (paraphrased) comment:
I'm tired of correcting all the mistakes, so I'm not going to correct any more. I suggest you get a good manual on usage or, better yet, take a course at your local community college. An agent would never have read this far based on all the grammatical errors.So, um, yeah. Let me apologize right now to all my former students, employers and folk I've mentored for leading you astray all these years. I have been outed for the fraud I am.
What are YOUR WT-? stories?