Brigantine Media is announcing a brand-new contest for writers -- with a twist. Entries to the Publish or Perish contest include both a manuscript and a marketing plan. Winners receive a publishing contract for the book and a $2,000 advance against royalties. The deadline to enter in August 15, 2015. Writers can enter the contest at www.PublishOrPerishContest.
And I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of Samantha Lien's consultation is Suzanne Warr!
And the winner of ZEROBOXER is Stephanie Garber!
Congrats! E-mail me so I can have your book mailed to you and the consultation set up. If I don't hear from you by the end of Wednesday, I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I'm thrilled to have debut author Megan Morrison here with a fantastic guest post and a giveaway of her YA fairytale retelling, GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL. I loved fairytale retellings and Cheryl Klein is Megan's editor, so this is a must read for me.
Here's a blurb from Goodreads:
Think you know Rapunzel's story? Think again, because the tower was only the beginning..." -- Jennifer Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of THE FALSE PRINCE
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so---her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can't imagine any other life.
Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He's the first person Rapunzel's ever met who isn't completely charmed by her (well, the first person she's met at all, really), and he is infuriating-- especially when he hints that Witch isn't telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised ... and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.
So here's Megan!
I HEART MY EDITOR
“Editors are looking for books they love. Writers are looking to find editors who can help their books be their best . . . And almost nothing is better on both sides than making that connection and finding that match.” – Cheryl B. Klein, SECOND SIGHT
My debut novel, GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL, is coming out next week. That is an
It’s been eleven years since I first submitted GROUNDED for Cheryl’s consideration. She liked it, but not enough to want to publish it – yet. She gave me some very critical, very important feedback, and sent me off to try again.
Smash cut to 2012. After a lot more writing and many life changes, I finally revised GROUNDED to my satisfaction. Even so, before asking Cheryl to read it again, I stopped to take one more step.
In 2011, Cheryl self-published her own book, SECOND SIGHT: AN EDITOR’S TALKS ON WRITING, REVISING & PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS. (She actually did a guest post about it right here on Literary Rambles!) I bought her book, read it, and tried some of the techniques therein to help prepare GROUNDED for submission. I did this for a few reasons:
1) It would be insane not to consider the editorial advice of the editor I wanted to work with. After all, if by using her strategies I could better my work, maybe she’d decide that my work was worth publishing.
2) By letting Cheryl’s book guide me, I could get an early sense of whether we were really a good author-editor fit.
3) I needed to get some distance from the draft in order to decide whether it was really ready, and I hoped that the exercises in SECOND SIGHT could help me be a little more objective.
In particular, I used the following exercises from SECOND SIGHT:
• I charted the plot
• I wrote the flap copy
• I cut most of the adverbs
• I read aloud dialogue that wasn’t quite working and tweaked until it did
• I made a playlist for inspiration (here it is on Spotify)
Finally, even though I already knew Cheryl, I carefully read her chapter on query letters and paid close attention to her pet peeves. I crafted a query, sent it, and ultimately my dream came true. Cheryl acquired the book!
Even after the book was officially a go, Cheryl and I continued to use techniques outlined in SECOND SIGHT to get the book from where it was (good) to where it needed to be (better, tighter, stronger). We kicked off the editorial process for GROUNDED with two great exercises:
1) Write a letter about the book
Cheryl asked me to write her a letter answering these questions:
- What did you want to do with the book? What did you want the book to do?
- What is the story (briefly)?
- What is the book about in a larger sense?
- What do I love about the book?
- What do I suspect needs some work?
This was an excellent strategy for many reasons. It allowed me to articulate my hopes and dreams and wishes, and it asked me to identify my darlings (so that later, when Cheryl inevitably asked me to kill some of them, she would be able to make a diplomatic approach). It also pushed me to admit what I already knew were the weaknesses of the story, so that Cheryl would know exactly where I most needed and wanted assistance. It opened important lines of communication between us.
2) Make a book map
Cheryl suggested that I make a chapter-by-chapter “map” of GROUNDED. This is essentially an outline of the book, just a few sentences per chapter, capturing the most important plot moves and emotional points in the story.
This was enormously useful to both of us. For me, writing out the key moments in each chapter helped me to see that some chapters were acting as filler, while others were repetitive (revealing similar information, striking similar emotional notes, etc.) For Cheryl, the book map provided a short, easy-to-swallow version of the whole book that allowed her to see the whole arc at once so that she could more immediately determine which beats in the story were missing, which were excess, and which needed to be rearranged.
In the end, it turned out that Cheryl and I were a very good fit for each other as author and editor. She is a note-giver; I am a note-taker. Her detailed, 18-page editorial letter and the frighteningly thorough line edit that came afterward were just right for me. As much work as it was, that level of attention and care made GROUNDED a better book.
In fact, just before sitting down to write this post, I got to hold a hardcover copy of GROUNDED in my hands for the first time. I opened it to a random place and started to read, and – here’s the amazing part – I was able to keep reading without flinching. Nothing made me cringe (and you writers out there know just how big a deal that is).
I am endlessly grateful to Cheryl for helping me to make my debut novel a book I’m truly proud of, and I strongly recommend SECOND SIGHT to anyone out there who is working on a children’s book and is ready to take that manuscript to the next level.
Megan Morrison is a mom, a middle-school teacher, and the author of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic). GROUNDED is the first book in the Tyme series, co-created with Ruth Virkus. Visit her at meganmorrison.net.
To order a copy of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL, visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound.
Megan is generously offering a signed copy of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL and a limited edition chainmail bookmark to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through May 2nd. I’ll announce the winner on May 4th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an International giveaway.
Here's what's coming up:
On Monday I have an interview with Sabaa Tahir and a giveaway of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, her YA fantasy that is one of the books getting lots of buzz.
Next Wednesday I have an interview with agent Brent Taylor and a query critique contest.
Next Saturday I'm participating in the May I Suggest Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great newly released YA choices or a $10 Amazon Gift Card for you to choose from.
The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Krista Van Dolzer and a giveaway of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING, her MG historical contemporary story.
Wednesday that week I have a guest post by Donna Galanti and a giveaway of her MG fantasy, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTENING ROAD. Donna was an intern with an agent and has lots of great advice to share on querying.
The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Jenny Martin and a giveaway of her YA science fiction TRACKED.
Hope to see you on Monday!