Saturday, September 1, 2012

8 Free Month-Long 1st 5 Pages Workshop w/ Guest Mentor Nancy Holder

Our September First Five Pages Workshop is full!

Entries will be posted for comments at noon on Monday, at which time the workshop will officially begin.

We have the amazing NYTimes bestselling author, Nancy Holder, guest mentoring for the month. Nancy’s work has appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times,, LOCUS, and other bestseller lists. A five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and Romantic Times.

She and Debbie ViguiĆ© co-authored the New York Times bestselling series Wicked for Simon and Schuster. They have continued their collaboration with the Crusade series, also for Simon and Schuster, and the Wolf Springs Chronicles for Delacorte (2011.)  (Click he for an UNLEASHED giveaway.) She is also the author of the young adult horror series Possessions for Razorbill. She has sold many novels and book projects set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Hellboy, and Smallville universes. 

She has sold approximately two hundred short stories and essays on writing and popular culture. Her anthology, Outsiders, co-edited with Nancy Kilpatrick, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 2005. Pretty Little Devils and The Watcher’s Guide Volume 1 appeared in the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age, and The Watcher’s Guide Volume 1 also appeared on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List in 1999. Saving Grace: Tough Love won the 2011 Scribe Award for General Fiction/Best Original Novel.

Nancy teaches in the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program, offered through the University of Southern Maine. She has previously taught at UCSD and has served on the Clarion Board of Directors.

Get those manuscripts prepped and ready to send. We'll start taking entries starting at noon and accept the first five entries that meet ALL of the formatting criteria listed below.

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 paragraphs. No attachments.

Before sending it to us, we suggest that you email it to yourself so you can see how it will come out.

Your entry MUST look like this:

Name: Your name
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.
7. Be prepared to receive honest, constructive feedback EVERY week and to participate through the entire workshop.

8. Provide honest, constructive feedback to each of your fellow workshop participants in a kind and courteous manner 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.

Happy reading and writing,



  1. Replies
    1. Times roman is fine. 12 pt. But I basically remove that information anyway by pasting it all into the HTML -- the reason for RTF format is to avoid getting hard carriage returns at the end of every line the way we do when the email is sent in plain text.

      Thanks for checking!

    2. Thanks for the reply!

      I finally got the double-space between paragraphs and not lines, but now when I paste it into Gmail it removes the formatting...and I'm in rich text. Grr. But I'll keep trying until 9am and hopefully I think I can get it by then. :)

    3. I had heard that gmail was problematic sometimes. You might try setting up a free hotmail account to mail it.

  2. Ooo, only 5.... I should have gotten up earlier. I'm on the West Coast.

  3. I probably didn't make it but I still sent something over.

  4. I think i would love to do something like this in future. But I'm still in baby writing stages (first "real" novel, 1st draft), so I don't want to get too ahead of myself. Maybe in a few months if I'm into another more serious project.
    I'm find it tricky knowing when to expose myself more. Or even when to start searching for betas or CP' a very first novel okay to do that with even if that novel is just a practice for you?

  5. I can't wait to get to work with you! I'm really looking forward to this!

    --Nancy Holder


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