So I've promoted this contest, but never actually participated. I entered once a few months ago with my polished YA MS, Dragon's Leap, and thought I'd give it a try again with Dragon Scales.
If you're thinking of doing this contest in the future, I now have more info on how it works. (That's good, right?)
You're encouraged to critique all the pieces chosen. Usually there are 50. This time there were 24. I think so many folks are focused on Pitch Wars, and preparing for that, that perhaps this one fell through the cracks?
In any case, I left feedback for all the MG selections, a total of six other story starters. All of them are amazingly brave for doing this! There were some really cool ones that I'd love to read more. The rest were YA and adult.
While the critiquing goes on, the Secret Agent appears and leaves feedback -- for all entries! This is great not only for the folks who entered, but for everyone who takes the time to read through to see how a literary agent responds to opening pages. I'm really looking forward to reading what the agent has to say about mine and the other MG selections.
On Monday (meaning we were given the rest of this week and a weekend to critique entries), Miss Snark posts the identity of the Secret Agent and the winning entries. Mine won't get chosen; some others really rocked it! But I chalk this all up to learning about publishing, and that's what's most important.
These are the guidelines from Miss Snark's email, announcing the selected submissions, and posted to her blog:
Guidelines for Critique on Miss Snark's First Victim:
- Critiques should be honest but kind, helpful but sensitive.
- Critiques that attack the writer or are couched in unkind words will be deleted.*
- Cheerleading IS NOT THE SAME as critiquing. Please don't cheerlead.
- Having said that, it is perfectly acceptable to say positive things about an entry that you feel is strong. To make these positive comments more helpful, say why it's a strong entry.
- ENTRANTS: As your way of "giving back", please critique a minimum of 5 other entries.