Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

So there’s a contest going on hosted by Amazon to find new voices in fiction. http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011

There are two categories: General Fiction and YA Fiction. Luckily, I happen to write in the latter category, so I’ve decided to enter.

The title of my novel. Image stolen from the band of the same name's website.

Unfortunately, after revisiting the novel I wanted to use, I realize it kind of sucks. Oh, I used to think it was all that. In fact, it was the greatest thing I’d ever written and couldn’t possibly ever write anything better. What an idiot.

I had shopped it around, got several rejections, and a handwritten note from one of the editors that said they really liked it but couldn’t use it at the moment. I was even allowed to send the first 100 pages to a literary agent based on my pitch. She told me she didn’t quite connect with the main character as strongly as she needed to.

Now after several years away from it, I can totally understand why. My protagonist is so guarded even with me. There’s nothing warm or endearing about her. Sure, she’s all tough and jaded, the kind of girl you want in a fight, but there’s nothing vulnerable about her.

I had a very sharp conversation with her yesterday (and yes, I was talking out loud). I told her if there’s one person she has to be honest with, it’s me. I can’t tell her story, and it’s a good story, if she doesn’t let me in. I don’t even know who she was before the story started. Oh, of course I know what happened to her (we call that backstory), but I don’t know what she was like. What were her hopes and dreams, who were her friends, how did she act? Believe me, I filled out all the personality/characterization sheets, but I was going on what she was telling me, and it wasn’t the whole truth. I’m not even sure if any of it was the truth or just what I was coming up with because she was not very forthcoming on her own. The main thing I’ve learned is that your protagonist cannot hide from you or the reader. Sure she can hide her true self from the other characters until it’s necessary, but in order to make a connection, she’s got to be real.

Good news: I might have gotten a glimpse of her last night, and I’ll be hounding her the rest of the day on giving me more. Bad news: from what she’s showing me, my whole story is going to change. Well, not the plot things, but definitely how she acts, how she reacts, the relationships she forms with people. I don’t think I can revise the first 3000-5000 words by the time submissions open, which consequently is at midnight. And though I’m a little more than bummed if I don’t get a chance to enter, at least I’ve been made aware of this fatal mistake. (Thanks, K, for that!) Who knows? I might just get accepted on another round of submissions.

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Much Ado About Nothing

As some of you may know, I play World of Warcaft, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. Though there’s not really much roleplaying involved. Basically you get together with your friends, if you have any, and kill things.

My main character‘s name is Nothing. She is a Night Elf rogue. “The rogues of Azeroth are the masters of subterfuge, skilled and cunning adversaries of those who dare not look into the shadows to see what lurks there. Roguery is a profession for those who seek the adventures of stalking in silent forests, dimly lit halls and heavily guarded strongholds. Using trickery in combat and able to vanish at the slightest distraction, the rogue is a welcome addition to any group of adventurers. Ideal spies, deadly to those they can catch unaware, rogues have no problem finding a place in the world. Deadly masters of stealth, rogues are the whispers in shadowy corners and the hooded figures crossing dark fields. Skilled with daggers and the art of silent death, these vagabonds and bandits skulk about Azeroth seeking targets and profit.” (http://www.wowwiki.com/Rogue)

My Azeroth Adventures installments are based on this character, whom I renamed Rumer. (Yes, even my characters have characters.)

In the past two years I’ve been playing this character, I have received much attention because of her name. Random people have whispered me saying they like my choice and that it suits the rogue class. Nothing is also the butt of many jokes in my guild. My favorite is, “We’re all standing around doing Nothing.” Pictures are posted on my Facebook and our guild’s Facebook page about anything that has the word Nothing in it, like:

 

 

 

 

 

and:

and:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So in case any of you are wondering where I came up with that name, I have written a little ditty about it.  Here goes:

Much Ado About Nothing

It’s nice to know you don’t love me for my beauty because she is ugly.

It’s nice to know you don’t love me for my money because she is poor.

It’s nice to know you don’t love me for my sex because she gives you none.

It’s nice to know you don’t love me.

Because I’m Nothing.

Cross My Heart; Hope to Die

Wondering what I’ve been doing lately? Writing bad poetry, of course. I really wanted it to snow today.

 

You promised me wind and snow

and gave me sun.

You promised fire and passion

and gave a cold shoulder.

You promised love and future;

I have the blackest nights.

Without you,

promises are my only hope.