Wednesday, March 3

Posted by Laurel Garver on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 27 comments
Yes indeed, the happy day has arrived! It's time for my Eleventy-one Celebration in honor of making 111 blog friends. I couldn't have asked for better timing than 3.3 to announce the festivities. I believe Tolkien would heartily approve of the felicitous connection:

"Bilbo was going to be eleventy-one, 111, a rather curious number, and a very respectable age for a hobbit (the Old Took himself had only reached 130); and Frodo was going to be thirty-three, 33, an important number: the date of his 'coming of age.'"
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 30 (emphasis in original)

It was hard to not go excessively hobbit-y with this celebration, since my inspiration for 111 was Bilbo's birthday. But since this blog is dedicated to all things writing (and I don't write fantasy), the contest will merely have a little hobbit flair.

Part One:
Fabulous followers prize drawing

"As for the hobbits of the Shire...they delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted."
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 11

Hobbits are generous and love comfort, so Part One of the contest requires little or no effort on your part. Just be or become a follower for a chance to win a copy of Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon.

If you are one of my original 111 followers, you will automatically get two entries in the drawing. New followers who join by 10 AM EST March 13 will each be automatically entered once.

I'll draw the lucky name from a hat with the aid of my hobbit assistant. (Here she is in her hobbit burrow, all curly-haired, large footed, wondering when we're going to serve second breakfast.) The evening of 3.13, I'll announce the winner. Just my way of saying thanks!

UPDATE: Abby Annis was the lucky winner of this drawing.

Part Two: Quest for treasure

"Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the Shire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpected return. The riches he had brought back from his travels had now become a local legend...."
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 29

The second half of the celebration is a writing contest.

Let's start with the tantalizing treasure to be won:

Grand Prize
A 15-page critique OR copy editing
From a professional editor with 14 years' experience and a masters degree in journalism

Runner-up prizes (3 total):

An 8-page critique OR copy editing

The Scene Book: A Primer for the Ficition Writer by Sandra Scofield
Scofield's primer on the basic building block of fiction--the scene--is the one resource that took my writing to the next level. It's like an MFA course in travel size. It covers everything you need to know to build solid scenes that flow logically and artfully build and release tension.

You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation by Deborah Tannen
If you ever want to write the opposite-sex POV, this is an invaluable resource for understanding the differences between how men and women talk. Tannen is a linguist who studied gender communication styles and does an in-depth analysis. It's a fascinating book written for a general audience that will improve your writing AND your relationships.

What do you need to do to capture such fabulous prizes?

Contest rules:
1. Submit a piece of original fiction (not previously published), up to 700 words. It can be flash fiction or a scene from an existing WIP that works as a stand-alone scene. It may be any genre except erotica or horror. And please refrain from using R-rated language.

Your scene or story must be dialogue-driven and show an instance of negotiation and persuasion, like the post-party scene in Fellowship of the Ring in which Gandalf convinces Bilbo to leave the ring of power in the Shire (pp. 41-43). You can read an excerpt HERE.
(This is meant to illustrate the type of scene, not the style. You don't have to mimic Tolkien.)

2. Include your name, e-mail and postal addresses with your submission.

3. By submitting to the Eleventy-one contest, you give me permission to publish your winning entry on Laurel's Leaves. Payment for this publication is stipulated above. (The editor in me had to include that legal stuff. If you have concerns about rights being granted, drop me an e-mail.)

4. Send your submission via e-mail as inline text to laurels (dot) leaves (at) gmail (dot) com.

5. The deadline to submit is Sunday, April 4, midnight EDT.

Many thanks to all of you. I look forward to the prize drawing and reading your amazing dialogue scenes!


  1. I am already a follower:) This sounds wonderful! Have a blessed day,

  2. Oh, I like this. Am I allowed to enter? I mean, I get crits from you every other month, but I don't have any of those books, so....

    If I'm free to enter, I will. :)

  3. I'm already a follower too! Fun contest- thanks Laurel. And congratulations!

  4. Wow. Fun contest, Laurel. I love the Hobbit tie-in! :-)

    I'm already a happy and loyal follower.

  5. Oh, I like this. I'm already a follower...
    What is Flash Fiction? I keep reading this word and have no clue what it is!

  6. I want to win this but I have questions. My text has some navel gazing starts before it transitions into dialogue. Could I submit something from a central portion of my novels?

  7. Karen: Thanks for your loyalty. Hope you'll consider submitting to the story contest also.

    Simon: go for it. If you win first, I can get you a book instead if you prefer.

    Tamkia: Thanks! I hope you consider entering the Part 2 story contest. Should be fun.

    Shannon: I'm not one to do things by halves. :-)

    Elle: Indeed. Easy contests are nice, right?

    Kelly: Flash fiction is a very short self-contained story under 1K words (some publications limit it to 500 words).

    T. Anne: Narration can be included, but dialogue should drive the plot in the scene. You are totally welcome to submit a scene from one of your novels. Good luck!

  8. This contest/celebration sounds wonderful! I'm already a follower!

  9. Oh how exciting. This will be great fun. I think I was your 101 follower, thanks to Simon.


  10. Uh, apparently not! I do that sometimes; forget to follow. Oh well, that's fixed now.


  11. Congrats! That conversation book looks like something that I need. Might participate in the contest. I love writing dialogue.

  12. A whole month to stew over it?! Please post reminders closer to the deadline. I can't enter yet. I won't be able to manage the anticipation! I reallllly want one of those crit prizes. :)

  13. What a great celebration for your eleventy-first. Bilbo would be proud :)

    I'm an "original" follower!

  14. What a fun idea. Me's have to go comes up with me precious for submission. K, probably not in that dialect though. I'll post a link on my blog.

  15. Bethany: thanks. Hope you consider entering the story contest.

    Donna: good news--you're in the first 111! My hubby asked to be taken out of the drawing and I realized I'd once had to sign up as my own follower (weird, I know) to be able to e-mail another follower through blogger.

    Mary: Please do enter!

    Amber: Will do. I'll likely do some helpful posts about dialogue and negotiation in the next month as a tie-in/reminder.

    Jemi: I was quite chuffed when I discovered the 111 and 33 connection right there in Fellowship.

    AJ: Thanks for the shout-out. Much appreciated. Strangely your bit of dialect reminded me more of Petrie from the Land Before Time (a sappy kids' cartoon about dinosaurs). LOL.

  16. Manuscript Makeover is a great prize. I love the book. I'm off now to check out your other recommendation. :)

  17. Stina: Only the best for my fabulous followers! thanks for coming by.

  18. I love that you announce the Eleventy-one festivities on 3-3. How auspicious that is. I'm feeling quite hobbity myself. :D

  19. Yay! I'm already a follower. Now to see what kind of fic I can come up with for this most excellent contest. :)

  20. Tricia: It was rather seredipitous. Hope you'll enter the writing component!

    Sarahjayne: I thought you'd be all over this one. :-) Looking forward to reading your entry.

  21. Oh, very cool contest, Laurel!! I will do my best to enter your writing contest! What a fun prompt!

  22. I just found you, but I'm a follower now. This is such a fun way to host a contest. Thanks for the giggle.

  23. Clever contest! I had a scene in mind, but alas it was 200 words too long. I'll see if I can come up with something else...

  24. Great contest! I am a follower and do my best to enter. Thanks!

  25. Just added myself as a follower; I found you from sarahjayne smythe's blog. I think I'll try my hand at this contest too. Thanks for setting it up.

  26. Carol: Yippee. Can't wait to read it!

    victoria: Welcome. Glad you like the theme.

    Livia: Hope you're still able to participate.

    Christine: Sorry it took so long to moderate comments! Doh! Looking forward to seeing your entry!

    EP: Welcome. So glad you're willing to enter!