February 26th, 2008

Mindy's head shot


I received a surprise package from Kelly Milner Halls. Inside, were two subs that I had entered into the 2007 SmartWriters WIN contest.

One was my middle grade novel, IN MY HEART, that won an honorable mention (I was thrilled when it was announced this summer)! Kathleen Duey gave me some great compliments, such as: Really a stunning opening scene. Huge emotional possibilities in the plot. And then she gave me amazing advice, which has helped with every manuscript I've written or revised since. She said: One tip: Scenes are usually best when just shown. I noticed a few places where you summarized quickly, then showed what you had just told.

I had no idea that my YA, DO UNTO OTHERS, had made it to the finals! I actually cried when I read the wonderful letter that Terry Trueman wrote. He said my story made the final five works in his deliberations and is a terrific piece, with great promise. Yay! And, he said: Naturally, if the voice hadn't been powerful and believable and the promise of the story hadn't been present, it wouldn't have been successful. Then congratulated me for making it to the top five. He also said I have real promise as a writer and offered to chat about writing and my work. I can't get over how incredibly nice and generous he is!

I was so happy to read the reasons he gave for not selecting it as the winner...because I believe I already fixed them all! I also eliminated one of the characters, and overhauled the entire beginning.

This came at the perfect time for me. I've been concentrating on my middle grade novels--two that are polished, one that I'm revising again, and my NaNo novel which I believe is the strongest manuscript I've ever written and have been getting incredible feedback from my groups. I hope to have it ready to submit by May. Even though I love middle grade, and plan to write many more in the future, I still love DO UNTO OTHERS, and had planned to do everything possible to strengthen it enough to submit again. Now I truly believe that I will make it shine! So, once all four of my MGs are polished, I'm going to attack my YA again. I don't care if it takes a million revisions...I will find a way to make this one work!

So thank you so much SmartWriters, Kathleen Duey, Terry Trueman, and all the wonderful writers who have helped me improve over the years. I can't even begin to express how much your help and kind words mean to me!
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