Our November 1st Five Pages Workshop will open for entries today! We will accept the first five middle grade or young adult manuscripts received by email starting at noon. Lisa Gail Green and/or I will work alongside our guest mentor to tell you what we see in those first five pages with respect to your voice, plot, characters, setting, pacing and writing in general. Depending on the mentor's schedule, she may comment only on your initial entry, on the initial entry and one revision, or on both revisions. You'll also get feedback and comments from your peers throughout the month, and have the opportunity to post revisions each week so you'll end up the strongest possible start.
A.C. has been madly in love with writing since she was in kindergarten. She shared her first original story in first grade, which dealt with a gorilla finding someone naked in the shower, and was, sadly, the culmination of her humor writing skills because it got her kicked out of class.
She wrote all through middle school and starting submitting novels to publishers when she was thirteen. All through high school she wrote in a notebook instead of taking class notes, finishing several more novels. Fast forward through college, a graduate writing program, and three novels written during her graduate program. SCARLET, her fabulous retelling of the Robin Hood legend, came out this year. You can catch her on her website or on twitter as @acgaughen.
So there you have it, overnight success in a lifetime, and she's here to pass on what she has learned to help five workshop participants develop their manuscripts and start off right.
The rules are simple. We ask that you follow all of them, every week for the duration of the workshop. Properly formatting your entry may sound like a pain, but it's good practice because agents and editors will expect you to follow submission guidelines too. It's part of showing your professionalism, and writing is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Entries that do not meet all of the criteria below WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Read all the rules and be prepared to follow them each week, otherwise it isn't fair to take up space in the workshop. We always have more entries than we can accept in any given month.
1. Manuscripts must be middle grade or young adult.
2. Manuscripts do not need to be completed, but must be your own, original work.
3. Send us the first five pages, with each page approximately 250 words, max 1250 words.
4. Do NOT send any synopsis or summary information.
5. Make sure your entry is properly formatted, in RTF format, and sent IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL, single spaced, with a blank line between all paragraphs expect the header information. No attachments.
Before sending it to us, we suggest that you email your entry to yourself so you can see how it will come out.
Your entry MUST look like this:
Name: Your name7. Be prepared to receive honest, constructive feedback EVERY week and to participate through the entire workshop. Not all feedback will be positive. The purpose of the workshop is to help you improve your manuscript, not to tell you that it is wonderful.
Genre: Young Adult XXX or Middle Grade XXX
Title: Your title
The body of the text, max 1250 words, must be SINGLE SPACED. There MUST be an EMPTY LINE BETWEEEN paragraphs. (Hit the 'Enter' button twice.)
If your manuscript is formatted in standard manuscript format, double-spaced with indents at the beginning of each paragraph and no extra space before or after paragraphs, then this will not come through correctly for reading on the web. The easiest way to get the formatting the way that we need it is to copy your snippet, put it into a clean MS Word document, select all the text, change the paragraph spacing to single space, then do a search and replace for ^p and replace it with ^p^p. This will take each paragraph break and turn it into two paragraph breaks. Or, of course, you can go through and hit the enter button again a second time after each individual paragraph.
Create a new email through an email provider other than GMAIL and click on the format text tab at the top of the message. Gmail seems to insert AN EXTRA line for every blank line. It may even insert a blank line between the header information, which should have NO blank lines between paragraphs. To get around the gmail problem, the easiest thing to do is use another email provider if you already have one, or to create a free hotmail account.
In your blank email message, set the message format to “Rich Text,” then paste in the text of your entry.
8. Provide honest, constructive, and thoughtful feedback to EACH of your fellow workshop participants in a kind and courteous manner by Thursday night EVERY week.
9. Send the revised version of the manuscript back to us--following all the above rules--by 6:00 PM on Sunday nights, properly formatted, every week until the end of the workshop.
That's it. Again, remember that you will need to understand email formatting to submit to agents anyway, so this isn't all a wasted effort.
Send your entries starting at noon (Eastern Time) today to kidlit at writeedge dot com.
Accepted entries will be posted at noon on Monday, at which time the workshop will officially begin.
Happy reading and writing,
Martina and Lisa