Friday, November 30, 2012

Write A Novel With Cupid!!! (#WanWc)

NEW UPDATE on applying: I have chosen my two YA writers from my #PitchWars folder. Now I'm looking for a MG writer, an adult writer, and one more YA writer. And I need a guy! Which means we might get up to six. And then we'll need a new name. That's okay! BE ON TWITTER @ NOON ON DEC. 1ST! Doing a little CLC quiz to find the rest of my team! Be there!!!! 

Since I did so terrible with NaNo (I still blame the month of November, no matter how pitiful that sounds), I decided I needed to find a new time to get my next WIP going and finished. And fairly quickly. Cause that's how I like to work, anyway. I figured I'd do better if this was something public, with participants, just like NaNo.

So, good news! You guys can (and should) do it with me! But there is a little added bonus for a few writers. Five to be exact. 

While all can participate and give updates on their progress, I'm choosing 5 writers that we'll focus on for updates/progress/cheerleading. Of course this will be done on the blog and the Twitter hashtag #WanWc. It'll be like a little Cupid writing team--Cupid and the Ferocious Five. (That's not too cheesy right? Oh well, cheesy is okay.)

The first draft will be written during December and January (I chose two months since we have the holidays). Then we'll work together to build a strict schedule for our revising/editing/polishing. We're not just writing a first draft here. We're gonna work together until those babies are shiny!

So how do you become one of the Ferocious Five? 

Well, I'd love to choose 2 or 3 from my Cupid PitchWars Inbox. But not all, because I want more than just YA genres. I'd love to have a MG author, an Adult author, and it would be cool to have at least one male author. 

BUT I haven't yet decided how I will choose my Ferocious Five. Ugh! Stay posted.

Update: If you submitted to me for pitch wars, email me or tweet me TODAY (30th) and let me know you are interested in one of the WanWc slots! I will choose those slots TONIGHT! 

Should you apply for the Ferocious Five? 

First, you must be an un-agented writer. 

But also keep in mind:

How quickly do you like to write a novel? If you like to punch it out in two weeks, you might not be best for this schedule. Or if you like to take a couple years to get one done, you might want to reconsider taking part. But if the two months for first draft, and then a few months for revising sounds like it's your kind of speed, please apply! 

Also, this MUST be a brand NEW wip! You must be starting a first draft at 0 words! Now, if you're like me, you have your sorry little NaNo project sitting there with several thousand words, but nowhere near 50K. This is not for those projects. Like me, you'll have to work on those separately. Also, if you just finished your NaNo first draft and you'd rather spend your time revising that wip, you may want to reconsider applying. But maybe you didn't get a chance to do/finish NaNo and would love another chance to start fresh now. Please apply!

All MG, YA, and adult genres are invited to apply!

Questions below! But remember, I haven't announced how to apply yet. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A NaNo Inspirational Interview! (Julie Murphy!!)

We're almost to the end of NaNo!!! Ack! If you're still working toward that 50K, read this, then get back to work!!!!!

A lot of you probably already know how crazy cool Julie Murphy is, which is exactly why I've been wanting to do this interview for FOREVER! See, Julie decided to do NaNo last year and well, the rest is...simply...inspirational. :)

So welcome Julie Murphy to the blog! Her novel, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY, comes in 2014 from HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. For more info check out her website, and her twitter!

Tell us a little about SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: 

First off, HI, CUPID!!! I’m so excited to be stopping by the blog!

Here’s the tagline for SEMV: When sixteen-year-old former ballerina, Alice, learned she was terminally ill she made a list of things to do and people to ruin––all her scores were settled, until she went into remission.

I can’t say much else for now, but I will say that there’s a boy. His name is Harvey. And I may be in love with him.

How long have you been writing? 

Do you ever watch those shows like American Idol and the people on the show are like, “OMG. I’ve been singing my entire life.” When I hear that, I think, “Well, no, actually you haven’t. I mean, there was a time when you couldn’t talk and people had to beg you not to cry during a family photo, so no, hopeful starlet, you have not been singing for your entire life.” BUT I get what those people mean. There’s always been a tune for them, even when they didn’t know what it was. And that’s how stories were for me—they were always there. Seriously, I am a devout seeker of truth, but I’ve always been a terrific liar. I’m sure somewhere in my parents’ garage, you could find a notebook full of horribly angsty poetry from Julie: The Teenage Years, but I didn’t begin to take writing seriously until 2011-ish. Side Effects was my second completed manuscript.

When did you write SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY and how long did it take? 

Well, SEMV was my NaNo book last November. I hit my 50k at about three weeks in, and then took a few weeks off and finished the manuscript in December. I’m a strong supporter of NaNo. It forces you to sit down and write the dang thing.  And, of course, there’s the community and accountability that comes with it.

Did you have any struggles? If yes, how did you get through them? 

Am I excited for the next season of Downton Abbey to air in the US? (Answer: DUH! YES! DUH!) The struggles were constant. There were 57 word days. But then there were also 9k word days. I had to get past my doubts and just write. I had to stop wasting hours slaving over character names and the stupid stuff we let ourselves get caught up in.  My real struggle, though, came after NaNo. I had no clue how to end my book and I was so scared that my book would just sit there forever unfinished. I had a WAY crazy idea for an ending and I knew it might not sit right with a lot of people. Even when I told my trusty alpha reader about it, she wasn’t so sure. But then she told me to write it because, really, what’s the harm in that? If it was wrong that was okay. That’s what revisions were for.

What part of writing this novel was your favorite? 

The day I saw the sun rise. I had to be at work in a matter of hours, but I’d written through the whole night and had gotten so swept up in the story that it stopped mattering if agents or editors or readers wanted my book because I loved it.

How did you know when SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY was complete and it was time to find an agent? 

Well, with my first manuscript, I never revised it much and I sort of just dumped it into a whole bunch of agents’ inboxes and said, “PICK ME!” With as much as I loved SEMV, I couldn’t let it suffer the same fate. I’d gotten hooked up with a few critique partners and was about 75% of the way through my revision when YOU announced a contest on your blog for the month of February. (Disclaimer: DON’T DO THIS.) Even though I wasn’t quite done with the revision, I entered the contest, then hustled like crazy to finish my revision before I made it to the agent round. Around that time, I also began to query.

How did you find your agent? 

My agent and I had our fateful meet-cute in the slush pile. She requested. I sent. Four days later, she asked for a phone call. I guess all that sounds simple, but there was plenty of rejection before that moment—especially since I’d already queried something else.

Did you ever enter in any contests? 

FOR SURE! Contests gave me more than just requests. Contests gave me community and support. The experiences I was given here on your blog and on Miss Snark’s First Victim were invaluable. (I entered other contests as well, but the names escape me!)

Do you have any advice for writers when it comes to choosing the best agent for your work? 

YES. There’s no such thing as a dream agent. Maybe after time spent working together it will turn out that you and your agent are a match made in heaven, but there’s no way for you to know that until you’ve spent time working together. When you get to that oh-so-awesome stage where you get to talk to an agent, remember that the perfect agent will not only love your book, but be able to articulate why. Once your book goes on submission, it’s out of your hands, so you want to know that the person speaking on your behalf knows what they’re talking about.

Tell us a little about how you found your publisher: 

Alas, this is something I can’t claim credit for since my agent did all the leg work. I will say that I was VERY excited about seeing my editor’s name on our list. She was always someone I’d wanted to work with if I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity.

What part of this whole process has surprised you the most? 

The community, the community, the community! It’s incredible, isn’t it? There are all these incredible people who I’ve never met face-to-face,  but who I can’t wait to someday hug the crap out of! Thank you, Twitter!

If you could go back and do anything different, what would it be? 

Is it obnoxious of me to say nothing? Every mistake I made, I learned from. I probably should have never queried that first book, but my querying experience would have never gone so smoothly the second time.  

Okay, well, actually there was one thing. I misspelled my own title in the first four queries I sent out for Side Effects May Vary. So, yeah. That was embarrassing.

Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? Can you tell us what you're working on now? :) 

Did I DO NaNo? Not really. Did I SIGN UP for NaNo? YES. As I type this, my word count is 14,122 words and I’m cutting about 9k. I hadn’t planned on signing up; I blame peer pressure. In my defense, I did have my first big revision due this month. Unfortunately, I can’t share any specifics about my current project, but I can tell you that I know my character’s favorite shade of lipstick. (Obviously, things are getting serious.)

I had SO much fun with this interview! Thank you so much for having me and if any of y’all have any questions, leave a comment. I’ll try to pop back in and reply.


See!?! Crazy cool! Staying up all night to write? Amazing! 9K a day? Wowza! And I CANNOT WAIT to read SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY! Is it 2014 yet? :)

Thanks Julie!!!!

Now doesn't that make you want to go finish your NaNo? YES!!!! Good luck everyone! And thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNoWriMo Guest Post (Ilima Todd) and Check-In!!

Not only do you need to check in for NaNo today, but you also need to read this really fun and inspiring guest post by Ilima Todd! Don't forget to follow her blog and tweets too!

To check in, give us the usual: name, title, word count.... and let us know what you have planned for this last leg of NaNo. Or let us know if you won, so we can celebrate with you! 

Now let's turn it over to Ilima...

Why I Love NaNoWriMo

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, which is why I love it when November rolls around. There’s just something magical about thousands of writers coming together in crazy drafting bliss. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, but when I’m on that track next to those who get it, the dips don’t seem so scary.

My main advice is to forget all the advice and do what works for you. If that means writing forward and not looking back, do it. If that means bouncing around from scene to scene or editing what you wrote the day before, do it. Ignore the “experts” and just write—it’s as simple as that.

Each night in November my CP’s and I email each other our word count for the day and a short snippet of our writing. With only positive cheerleading allowed, we pull each other through those crappy days and encourage to the finish line. Here’s a sampling of what can be found in those daily emails:

So I started out with a dream that is also a flashback within a prologue. Um…

I’m already veering from the plan. *clings possessively to 30 page outline*

For someone who doesn’t really grasp the rules of using the em dash, I sure use it a lot.

I’m just going to ignore the CP who already hit 50K. She does not exist. Poof. Go away.

Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Other Shiny Things. How do I turn off the internet, again?

I am drowning in dirty dishes. This is why paper plates were invented, people.

My writing SUCKS. Why the crap did I ever get into this business in the first place?

Blinking cursor. Blinking cursor.

Stayed up til the wee hours to write new scene, then woke up three more times during the night because the muse wouldn’t shut up.

I wrote, like, 200 words today. Aack! Muse…where did you go?

My bar graph is still above that diagonal line…that’s all that matters.

The honeymoon is over! I hate Nano. This is stupid. :P

I made a playlist for my book. Then googled actors to play my characters. Then designed a book cover.

Got 5K in today. 5K!!!! I’m amazing. I rock. I can’t believe those around me aren’t constantly blown away by my awesomeness.

Why, hello shower. Nice to meet you.

I wrote THE BEST kissing scene today, then jumped ahead and wrote the next one, just for good measure.

Time to stalk my Nano buddy list and evil laugh at everyone I’m beating. Just kidding. Kind of.

Is there a genre called YA erotica? Because I think I just invented it.

I’m setting fire to my 30 page outline.

Dear Stomach Flu, it’s NOVEMBER. You are not allowed to visit. Be gone with thee!

Wait, MC. Where are you going? Come back. COME BACK.

I’m just going to ignore that other CP who is going out on submission before me. *deep breaths*

I cried four times today—whimpering out loud and everything. I don’t know if I can do this.

We ran out of Diet Coke. And milk. But…DIET COKE!

Nope. I did NOT go back and make all the changes needed to accommodate new idea, erasing several hundred words that no longer work. I would NEVER.

Used the F-bomb in my novel. Twice. Then the word “balls” in reference to male genitalia. I am going to hell.

I’m sure a lot of this sounds familiar. And crazy. But we writers are artists, and the best artists are a little off their rocker, don’t you think? So cheers to all you Nano-ers out there…you are crazy, and you can do it. I believe in you!

-Ilima Todd


Haha! We writers are crazy! Doesn't it feel good to know your not alone though? :)

Good luck with the rest of NaNoWriMo everyone! Don't forget to check in below!   

And don't forget submissions for Pitch Wars opened today. Check that here

Thanks everyone!

More PITCH WARS Info!!!!

Submissions start today (11/26)!!!!

My awesome bio:

I work undercover connecting writers with literary agents. I know it sounds cheesy, but I do. And it works! I've helped several writers find their agents right here on CLC! Well, their awesomeness did most of the work, but I gotta say something, right? :)

I fuel myself with chocolate and cheese (not together), love fictional people (whether they're my own creation or someone else's), and try to have ALL THE FUN, ALL THE TIME!!! You know you want to join me! So pick me!

My awesome wish list:

I'm looking for any YA! I'm not going to exclude anything because I don't want to miss out on something so amazing, that I'll break my own tastes for it. So if you write YA and want to submit to me, please do. But fyi, here are my specific tastes:

1. ROMANCE, ROMANCE ROMANCE!!!! I love me some YA with romance! Send to me NOW!

2. I also love contemporary! Whether it's horror, thriller, or fun. I'd love for you to make me laugh or scare me silly.

(If you've combined those two, send for sure!)

3. Anything with a really fresh, unique concept! I read A LOT, whether it be published YA or submissions to contests. I want a story that stands out! Amaze me with your creative genius! (This especially pertains to paranormal or dystopian genres.)

4. Commercial is great! But I'm not against a more literary tone.

5. I may not be the best at critiquing historical, even though I love it.

Now go send me your work, so I can stalk you! :)

And here are the deets on what you need to know: 

The cut off time to get your applications (query & first five pages of manuscript) in is 8AM EST on December 5. Send your applications to

Writers can apply for up to 3 coaches. The coaches' categories are set. Coaches can only consider the categories they've signed up for. Writers cannot apply for a coach that is not in their category.

For additional information about this contest go HERE.

· This is open to finished manuscripts only.
· You may only enter one manuscript.
· Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.


Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)

Name: Your Name
Genre: The genre of your manuscript
Word Count: The word count of your manuscript

Query letter here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

And check back soon for a complete list of the amazing agents participating in the contest. There's over a dozen! 

Today all the coaches are posting bios/wish lists on their blogs. So before choosing your top 3 picks, check all the coaches' posts in your category before deciding which coach to submit. To jump from blog to blog, just click on our pictures below.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

CLC NaNo Check In!!!!

Hey everyone! Time to check in again for NaNoWriMo!

Tell me all your info including your word count!!!!

Then tell me how you're enjoying your NaNo experience.

More fun NaNo stuff coming soon.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Pitch Wars"! The Deets!

We're extremely excited to announce an upcoming event where agented authors, industry interns, and editors team up with aspiring writers to shine up their manuscripts and pitches to present to some awesome agents.

Here's the deets...

·     The teams will consist of 1 agented author or industry intern or editor (coaches) and 1 aspiring author.

·     November 26: The coaches (listed on the linky below) will post on their blogs what genre/category they want to coach. They'll be very specific genres. Aspiring writers will hop around and decide which coaches best fit their manuscripts.

·     November 26 through December 5 at 8PM EST: Aspiring writers will submit 3 "applications" to their top choices for coaches to the contest email ( That means, participants will send three separate emails to the contest email addressing each with one of their three top choices for coach.

·     December 5 through December 10: Coaches will read the applications and pick teammates.The coaches don't have to pick from their applications. If a coach passes on an application, it is then up for grabs and another coach, if they haven't connected to their applicants, can snatch it after notifying the applicant and if the applicant chooses the coach.

·       December 12: Teams will be announced. On the announcement post there will be instructions on how the winners must send their work.

·       December 12 through January 16: Each coach will read their teammate's manuscript and give general notes on any issues they find. The coach will help their teammate get his or her pitches ready for the agent round.

·       Note: The material for the agent round will be a 3 sentence pitch and the first 250 words of your manuscript. Coaches will read manuscripts and query letters only once and give notes. It is up to the writer to use the notes from their coaches to get the manuscript and query letter in as best shape as they can to send to requesting agents. The coaches will critique the three sentence pitch and first 250 words. The coaches will read them as many times as they deem necessary. In no way will writers expect the coaches to read the manuscript and query letter more than once or the pitches more than twice.

·       January 20: Coaches will submit shined pitches to the contest email.

·       January 23 and 24: Agents will read and make requests on the pitches they like (it is likely that not all participants will get requests).

·       January 25: We'll announce the team with the most requests and who will take home the winning prizes (an amazon gift card for each).

·       This is open to finished manuscripts only.

·       You may only enter one manuscript.

·       Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.


Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)

Name: Your Name

Genre: The genre of your manuscript

Word Count: The word count of your manuscript

Query letter here  (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.


REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Our mentors ...

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