Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday FAMP and Blogfest First 200 words.

Today I'm going to write a very contradictory post. Don't say you weren't warned.
I am participating in Deana Barnhart's fourth week of her month long blogfest.  This week's assignment is to post the first 200 words of a novel.  I am posting from my WIP because, to tell you the truth, I am kind of over the book that I am currently querying agents with. 
Now here's my contradiction:  From a marketing perspective, blogfest and contest posts can often turn off your followers. I know. Insane, right? But it's true. Yes, blogfests can build followers, which is awesome. And contests can help connect you with other and help get your work critiqued, again, awesome for the aspiring writer. 
But, depending on your message (remember you gotta have a message?), a follower who comes to your blog to find advice for themselves and frequently finds you are instead posting only self-interest posts such as critique my first 200 words, well, they may get bored.  You may be the best writer, and your first 200 words may be AMAZING, but let's face it, we're all a little self-involved. And sometimes readers see you've posted your query, or first page, and say to themselves, "Um, what's in it for me?" True story.
I'm not telling you not to participate in these fests, but do so in moderation.  Be aware.  Remember your readers and try to keep in mind what they want and what they're getting.
All that being said, I am very much enjoying Deana's blogfest and am continuing with my entry below. 
Laura Barnes
middle grade fantasy 
First 200 words
Mina hated waiting, and even her mother’s best Patience spell was not enough to keep her from aimlessly pacing her room. In less than an hour, she would celebrate the thirteenth hour of her thirteenth birthday, and her magic would finally flow from her fingertips showing once and for all that she was not a weirdo in the world of witches.
Mina moved to the Mystic Revealer again. To any outsider this would look like an average girl staring endlessly into a mirror, but the object showed more than her reflection; it showed traces of magic. She searched the outline of her image, like she did most mornings, looking for any sign, small as it may be, of her magic leaking. This time she truly expected to see something different – a glint of what was about to come, a shimmer around her reflection – but the Mystic Revealer didn’t show anything but the same old Mina. Today, she told herself. It’ll be there.
“Mina? Time to go!” her mother’s voice sounded as if it was in the room with her thanks to the Close-Call spell, but she knew her parents were already in the garage. 

I welcome any comments. This is still a work in progress and I need the feedback.  Even if you aren't participating in the fest, your thoughts are welcomed.



Sharon Bayliss said...

Hi Laura,

I really enjoyed this. It was clean and to the point. Partly because I know what happens next from the query, I feel really bad for Mina, knowing that the magic she longs for will never come. I seriously wish I could cast a patience spell!

One minor thing - Is the "Mystic Revealer" something different than just a mirror? This makes it sound like she's just looking in the mirror. If it just a mirror, I think calling it a mystic revealer is unnecessary. If it is a magical object different from the mirror in my own bathroom, give the reader a clue to suggest that.

I think you've got a winning premise. Good luck!

Kimmy said...

Mina is the name of my bad girl in my first YA novel!

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks for that point, Sharon. I will fix it! Kimmy, great name!

Michelle Fayard said...

You have a lot of charming voice with your MC, Laura. I would consider deleting "for the seventh time in the last fifteen minutes," since you have two numbers in the previous sentence. Another thing I like is you've taken a common tween concern and tweaked it into a magic setting--a very good "sWitch!"

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks, Michelle. Done!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh, I love the voice in this! I would definitely read more.

her magic would finally flow from her fingertips (comma) showing once and for all that she was not a weirdo in the world of witches.

To any (an) outsider (comma) this would look like an average girl staring endlessly into a mirror

This time (comma) she truly expected to see something different

Andrea Mack said...

An interesting commentary on blogfests, Laura. I would imagine it depends on how often you're doing them, and whether you're also continuing to post on the things your readers expect from your blog.

Now, for my comments on your 200 words:

I love the first paragraph. It pulls me into the story and makes me want to know more about Mina's magic. And it really sounds like a MG novel to me, so I think you have the voice down.

I also loved the unique details with the different spells and the Mystic Revealer.

I only have one tiny suggestion. The word "aimlessly" is likely not needed, since the reader will get that from the pacing.

I'd definitely read on to see where this is going.

Laura Barnes said...

Thank you, Andrea. I will take it out!

And yes, I agree totally when you said: "I would imagine it depends on how often you're doing them, and whether you're also continuing to post on the things your readers expect from your blog." If you continue to give what you promise to give, it shouldn't be a problem to self-indulge.

Marcie B said...

Hi Laura ~ I was wondering if you did this on purpose: finally flow from her fingertips ?? See the alliteration? Just something to think about. :)

Laura Barnes said...

Marcie, I did do it on purpose - does it totally bug?

Stephsco said...

I found your blog from the twitter-pitch contest (in which I did not participate but still read through all the entries). I love your story concept and the idea of a girl leaking magic at puberty. I don't read middle grade but I liked the story. In 200 words I already have an idea of the voice and setting of your story. Great job!

Theresa Milstein said...

You are so right about blogfests getting to be too much. I've only participated in about 2 or 3. While I've gained followers, I think there's something different about reading nonfiction and fiction too often on a blog.

I LOVE the title of your book. I hope Mina finds her magic!

alexia said...

I like this a lot!! My only tiny critique is the last sentence. It is a bit longish, and "close-call" made me think of a near accident or something, before I got what you meant.

Awesome job! Good luck in the contest!

JRo - Jaye Robin Brown said...

I liked the alliteration and the voice. Great job.

Angie Cothran said...

I loved that I had an instant feel of the voice and the world building. So cool. I would buy this if it was on the market. Well done.

Donna Perugini said...

Michelle had a great play on words there!

Like the fun alliteration, Laura.

I also had wondered about the 'close-call' until I reread it again. Name change for it?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I remember LOVING your query and I love what you have here. One suggestion: maybe say 'in less than 60 minutes' b/c that sentence has a lot of 'hours.' Btw, thanks for the reminder about blogging not being about us:)

Laura Barnes said...

Thank you for all the great comments! Jamie, I'm glad someone mentioned the "hours". I had 60 minutes and then changed it but I didn't like it. It's good to get the feedback!

Anonymous said...

Hey Laura,

I remember your query too and these 200 words are fab! Great place to start and I feel hooked. Great intro!


Christine Danek said...

Great intro. I really like her voice. Nice job!

Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Laura,

I've left a response to your comment on Bird's-eye View,

Wishing you a great day!


Donea Lee said...

Hi Laura! I'm sorry this is coming after the deadline for the contest (my bad...:(), but I really like the premise. And the title - clever!

I agree, you could lose "aimlessly". I also think you could break up the "In less than an hour" sentence. Period after "thirteenth birthday". And then start "Her magic..."

I think you wonderfully show how anxious she is and you make me hope along with her! Great job ~ and best of luck with this!

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