Saturday, April 3

Posted by Laurel Garver on Saturday, April 03, 2010 10 comments
The deadline is fast approaching (tomorrow!) to submit your entry to my Eleventy-one Celebration Writing Contest in honor of making 111 blog friends. (For my new readers, the celebration has a hobbit theme built around the amazing age Bilbo celebrates in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.)

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 (give-and-take conflict) 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 (eastern daylight time).

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

Easter miracles
As many of you know, I have a fantastic teen alpha reader who's part of my church youth group and has been cheering me on since 2006. She graduates this spring and will be heading off to college in the fall. I'd already begun grieving her loss as I edited her college application essays around Christmas time, because all but one of her top school choices were far-flung.

At the Good Friday service yesterday, I got amazing news: she's decided to attend a great Ivy-League school right here in Philly--University of Pennsylvania! As I hugged her and cried happy tears, I said, "I was willing to let you go, but I'm just so happy for me that you're staying!"

I also recently got a very exciting incentive to push hard to complete revisions: one of those out-of-nowhere this-must-be-divine-intervention things. I can't say any more about it now. But watch out, chapters 10 and 11--you will be getting a hard thrashing! And chapters 12-20 will continue their strict weight-loss regimen that I've been attending to this week.

Have a joyful Easter, friends!


  1. I wanted to do this, but I'm out of time! I have 8 hours of church conference starting in an hour and spread over 2 days. I love it and am looking forward to it, but I let your contest slip by. :(

    Maybe I'll catch the next one.

  2. Yay! I'm thrilled that your teen helper will be staying close by. Your secret sounds very exciting - I'll be praying for good things. :-)

  3. I wanted to do this but I wasn't able to get started in time and now I have a packed schedule! This is what happens when I don't make a schedule a the beginning of the week!! Grrr!

    Great contest and Good Luck to everyone! Happy Easter!

  4. I am thinking of entering a scene, but I have a question I emailed you about rights.
    By the way, this contest made me think about how I could add layers to several scenes by increasing the persuasion/negotiation dialogue. Thanks so much for this excellent prompt.

  5. Hi Laurel! Ugh!! I feel terrible to have not promoted your awesome contest before now. I'm so sorry! Your one of my most favorite blog buddies and I'm kicking myself right now :( A link is on my sidebar now.

    I hope you have lots of entries, and I'll definitely be in on your next fab contest. That's a promise!

    Have a wonderful Easter, sweetie!
    ((hugs)) Nicole

  6. Sounds exciting! Glad you teen friend is staying - so nice for you both :)

  7. I've run out of time, but I wish all the entrants the best of luck and congratulations to you for hitting over 100!

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Waa! I need to put this on the blog. (Pulling the hair out now.) BTW, I know you had problems receiving my entry the first time. Did you get it the 2nd try?

    Finally, congratulations on your happy news - both about your friend and your writing. I look forward to hearing more.

  9. Hi friends: this is a no-pressure thing, so if you can't find the time to enter, I understand completely.

    And sorry I haven't been able to respond individually. My DSL has been very spotty all weekend; the connection goes down every few minutes. Argh.

  10. Hey Laurel,
    I've been sick so I haven't had time to...well, do anything but sleep, or I would have whipped something up for your contest.
    But, I have had your contest on my sidebar.

    I'm happy that your teen-reader is sticking around here (NJ). (Congrats to her for getting accepted to U of Penn!)

    Happy Easter,