Tuesday, November 3, 2009

America's Next Top..... Novel

Yes, yes that's what I said. Here's the official press release! Register and join in the fun!

Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)--Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions," says publisher Jeff Gerke. "We're presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting 'the people' decide which one should be published."

The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.

The first phase will consist of no more than the book's title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.

"We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel," Gerke says. "There are marketing skills to be developed--and you've got to hook the reader with a good premise."

Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book.

The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.

No portion of any contestant's mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.

Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.

"We're also running a secondary contest," Gerke says. "The 'premise contest' is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009."

The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book.

The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.

"It's a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn't receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest."

The premise contest is open to anyone with a completed Christian speculative fiction manuscript that meets MLP guidelines for length, content, genre, worldview, audience, etc. To enter, authors must complete the acquisitions form found at the Marcher Lord Press site and supply all the components listed below on or before October 29, 2009.

Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.

"In order for this to work as we're envisioning," Gerke says, "we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you're not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I'm sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!"

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNo Update!

Xan looked behind her and saw Raidin. “Didn’t I tell you to leave me alone?”

“I came for bread.” He took a basket and began filling it.

“You just had to pick the basket with a pink lace didn’t you?” Xan asked, laughing at the frilly basket.

He looked down at the basket then leaned towards her, speaking in a low voice. “Don’t you think it compliments my eyes?”

Xan’s mouth dropped. Was that... A sense of humor? Yes, yes it was.

A wonderful scene inside a bakery shop. I just love making fun of the manly, emotion deprived knight. Currently keeping up with my 2,000 words a day word count, I'm quite motivated. Though I spent way too much time playing and not enough writing at Panera Bread, so my back is rather sore. Plus my wonderful brother knew I was next door at Panera and didn't come visit me on his break! What is that? Though he did wave to me through the window at one point.

I am still plotless, though I am starting to see some details. So far so good! I will keep you guys posted throughout the month! How is your NaNo coming? Any fun tidbits to share?

Writerly Gadgets and Gizmos: Organization

Every November I scour the NaNoWriMo forums for new websites, computer programs, and gadgets for writers. Throughout my searches I have discovered some great Writerly Gadgets I use to help me in my writing. The first gadgets I want to talk about are organizational gadgets.


One such gadget is Mind42.com. Technically Mind42 is not a writing website, nor is it in anyway creative. It is a mind mapping site that can also be collaborative. Originally designed for businesses, I find it a helpful tool for organizing. Last years Nano, I had a very large space ship, and I could not keep track of what was on which decks, halls, ect. The mind mapping set-up makes it easy to organize website articles and pictures as well, allowing you to make notes on each ‘node.’

For fantasy novels, I love Mind42 to keep track of each character’s possessions, weapons, and keep events. I have an entire tree filled out for races, classes, culture, geography, and government in the world my fantasy novels are set in. You can close the nodes or open them depending on what you want to look at.

Index Cards:

Okay, so they aren’t really a gadget, or a gizmo for that matter, but they are helpful for organization. Once again, I use these for fleshing out worlds, ranks, characters. A lot like Mind 42 but you don’t have to have a computer or internet access. I work better on things that don’t have internet access, personally, because there’s less distraction. I carry an index card box in my car just in case I get an idea while driving, and I drive a lot. Though I use mine to organize individual projects, index card files can also be used as plot closets. When needing a plot you can easily access one you didn’t have a chance to tackle before.


Most people are familiar with WikiPedia, a collaborative encyclopedia. Now you can create a Wiki of your own. Sites such as tiddlywiki, pbwiki, MindTouch, and WikiSpaces allow you to create an organized digital notebook, or encyclopedia completely customize to your writing. This can even include research materials. Like Mind42 you can use your Wiki on the web as a collaborative effort if you so choose.

How about you? What do you use to organize your novel? Do you write an outline? Or do you just let it go and hope you don’t kill a character you need later on (guilty!)?
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