Aug 12, 2013

Contest Results AND Guest Feature Alyson Schroll!

I'm doing a double today - combining my contest results with a fun interview featuring Alyson Schroll from over at Pages From My Journal, a fellow teen writer who attended the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference at the same time I attended Realm Makers.

So, first, the contest results, since I know you're all dying to hear about them. I had a total of 28 entries - eight more than I hoped for originally! - from 15 different authors. I never understood the whole thing about contests being so hard to judge until now. Thank you for making it nearly impossible.

But, I still had to choose a winner. Much as I hated to. As much as I would love to give you all the prize you deserve for buckling down and entering such amazing stories, the random number generator (a.k.a. my mom, who had no idea what was happening) has spoken, and the winner of the drawing for the (now signed) copy of Plot vs Character is...

J. Grace Pennington!

Grace, who not only entered the limit of five times, had the first-place entry and one runner-up that I couldn't bear not to post. I was very glad the random number machine a.k.a. mom picked her, and I felt wonderful about packing up the book today and scrawling her address on the front in Sharpie. Fantastic job, Grace!

In addition to the winner of the drawing, the three winners are:

1st: J. Grace Pennington - All My Tomorrows
2nd: Kitra Skene - The Magpie
3rd: Meaghan Ward - Don't Let Go

I'm going to publish these, starting with the first-place winner and going down, once a week. In addition, there were five runners-up I couldn't bear not to publish, so I'm going to go through those in no particular order. Those are a surprise; you'll have to wait and see whose are going up. ;) See, I really am the Queen of Torture. (I'm going to soften things a bit, though, and email the person whose entry is going up so they don't miss it.) I'm also going to critique every entry using my book review system, saying what worked for me and what didn't. So keep a watch out for Grace's All My Tomorrows and my critique sometime between tomorrow and Friday. I can't wait for you guys to read it!

And now, Alyson's interview. (I will also be answering the same questions, except about the Realm Makers conference, soon, except on her blog, so look out for that too.)

1. What made you decide to attend the conference?

I had heard about the conference through an author who had attended it and suggested I go to the teen day. Many people told me that going to a conference was the best way to get an agent or editor to read my work, so when I had a full novel ready, I chose to attend the entire conference.

2. Meet anyone special?

I met Ruth Samsel, who is a fellow agent with Rachel Coker's agent. Rachel and I have met and keep in touch so that was special. I also met Dina Sleiman who works for Whitefire Publishing and has posted on Go Teen Writers a couple times. It was nice to have connections with some of the people.

3. Did you do anything embarrassing?

In one of my appointments, I met with a man who didn't take fiction. This was embarrassing to me because I spend hours doing research and overlooked that major fact. But, I am very proud of myself that I didn't get lost. I am directionally challenged.

4. Were you as exhausted as I was?

I commuted to the conference, so the early mornings and late nights made me very tired. The first day was the day for teens and there were nine lectures right after another not including the morning and evening keynote.

5. Are you an introvert, and did that affect how you interacted with the people there?

Depending on the people I'm around, I can be very shy, but my confidence got a huge boost. Once I had my first professional conversation, I was good. I asked God to give me courage to talk to people about my story, and he did. I think I told my mom after that I didn't know where the extrovert in me came from. It sort of just happened.

6. Did you come home with any special encouragement or insight into your writing?

Many people complimented me on my professionalism, how prepared I was, and how I presented myself. One editor loved my writing style and one said that I communicate my ideas well. I was able to take their tips and immediately formulate a way that I would apply it. I think that helped. Agents and editors are looking for people who are teachable, and that's what I presented myself as.

7. Did you take lots of notes?

I took notes in every class. Some on my laptop, and some on paper.

8. Can we have a sample? ;)

One thing that really struck me as interesting was when an author explained the strategy behind length of paragraphs. When you begin every chapter with short paragraphs and slowly move into longer ones, the reader will begin to read it and then get hooked into reading the rest. I had never thought of it like that before.

9. Was there an assumption about conferences you had prior to going that was proved right or wrong?

Going into the conference, I had assumed that everyone was there to get their book published. I had not thought about the people who were there to learn how to write a book to begin with.

10. Would you go again?

I would love to go again. Hopefully, next time, I'll attend as an author.

Thanks so much, Alyson! (See, my first guest post and my first contest - I didn't do too bad, did I? ;)


Alyson Schroll said...

This was a lot of fun! Thanks for having me.

Sarah Faulkner said...

Sounds like you had a great time, Alyson. I really wanted to go to a fall conference, the American Chrisitan Fiction Writers conference. It's only an hour away. But it's so much money.
Hopefully I'll get to go to one before I start collage, we'll just have to see.
Thanks for the great post, Elizabeth, and the guest post, Alyson!
~Sarah Faulkner

Bethany said...

Great post! I also would love to have the opportunity to attend a writer's conference in the future, but I guess if God wants me to, He'll provide a way, as with all things.

Juliet Lauser said...

Congratulations, Grace! * is so happy Grace won *

Sandra said...

Oh, a combined post. O.o And a wonderful one too! I really want to go to a writers conference. Better start saving up. ;)

Victoria Grace Howell said...

Cool post! :) I've been to four conferences and I love the bit about paragraphs lengths. I do that in my own writing and it is so much fun. :D

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