So, I'm going to enter a contest. Most people know that it costs money to enter contests, and as I am right now trying to pay off some debt, I don't have any extra money to enter contests. However, there is one contest called the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest that is held annually and it is free. Of course being free, it doesn't offer any cash prizes, but if you end up in the top 3, you get your query letter and the first 10 pages of your manuscript professionally critiqued. That doesn't sound like much but hey, what do you expect for free?
The contest rules are fairly simple. You have to send in a short query, a one line catch phrase and some pages of your work. It is a live contest, which means that it is being judged as we speak and will continue to be evaluated until the contest is over on the 18th of this month. The problem that I am having is that it calls for unpublished works that are contemporary middle grade fiction. This means that even though I self-publish, that those that I do publish are actually published and are hence not eligible for the contest. Also, contemporary middle grade fiction is a fictional work that is set in present day time. It cannot be science fiction, fantasy, historical or steam punk. It can however have some fantastical elements to it, hence, Cali's little world does fit the criteria. But, I must choose a book that has not been published yet. That is harder than it sounds and I don't have a lot of time left to decide.
I would ask you all what you would choose, but you have no idea what I have written. I would love to enter the book that I am writing now, but it is not finished and part of the rules state that the book must be completed. So... I am thinking that book number 3, The Death Collectors might be good enough to present. It needs work but I have to assume that the judges expect the manuscript to have some rough edges. That being said, I am not certain that I actually wrote book 3 in a manner that would allow it to stand on its own. It is possible that I wrote it as a continuation, or as a part of a series of ongoing books and story. I can't remember when I decided that I should write each one as an individual book and not depend upon the other books in the series to help explain aspects of the current work. This is harder than it seems because, in my mind the story is ongoing and I know all of the backstory. My mind automatically fills in the blanks when I am writing. I must consciously fill in the back story to some extent in each book as I am writing so it doesn't seem like I am filling in the blanks. It must always flow smoothly, not feel like the reader needs to catch up.
When I started my first Cali book, Veteran of the Silent War, I had no idea that I would be 8 books deep into the story a few years later. It would be amazing if I could share this series with the world and I will continue to try to make that dream into a reality. But right now I need to re-read some of book #3 and get it sent.
Live will and be good to each other.