I entered the marvelous agent Janet Reid’s (of Query Shark fame) Liz Norris Pay it Forward contest back in March. The winner gets a trip to New York for the Backspace Writer’s Conference and lunch with the Shark. In an amazing display, over four hundred people entered. Ms. Reid has spent the last weeks giving tormenting hints and tantalizing blurbs about our entries. In general, keeping everyone who entered on a string by dangling how many have been cut and how many promoted without enlightening anyone. Fiendishly, she’s promised to announce the finalists this weekend.
This reminds me of two things:
First, a writer’s life is full of waiting and you’d better get used to it. If you’re not waiting on query letters you’ve sent to agents, you are waiting on something else. Inspiration to finish a chapter. A beta reader’s comments. An editor’s decision. Or most glorious, waiting for that first glimpse of your finished book on a store shelf. It takes a boatload of patience to be a writer. Nothing is going to happen overnight. Resign yourself to years.
The second thing this flaunts is the necessity of good hooks in your writing. You want to keep those readers interested and coming back for more. I’m not only talking a hook for your query or your opening page, but chapter hooks. Using hooks at the end of chapters can drive readers to turn that page and find out what happens next.
The Shark is an accomplished setter of the hook. She has us coming back to her blog over and over. Though I don’t hold out much hope that Kindar’s Cure survived the cut of almost four hundred manuscripts, I’ve become a nervous Nellie, checking back repeatedly to look for updates. I’m embarrassed to say how often.
And now, back to waiting…
Edit: Looks like I didn't make the nine finalists or my confirmation got lost in email outer space. A big congratulation to the winners, and I certainly learned a lot.