• Hetal Avanee

the dawn of FicFest


You might have heard the news: the #FicFest submission window closed yesterday and oh my goodness did it receive a rave response! All of the mentors (myself included) were overwhelmed by the number of entries. Concrete numbers haven't been shared yet, however, it's my assumption that the NA category had the lowest number of submissions. It's the nature of the category. :)

Doesn't mean I didn't read every one of them - even the non-speculative fiction ones - and the quality of work is stellar people.

Thank you for introducing me to your precious novel babies. I understand that you're nervous about sending your words out into the world to be judged, so let me introduce myself so you can decide if you'd want to work with me.

Three things to know about me right off the bat:

1) I really enjoy GIFing. Half my twitter posts will feature them. Get used to it. Ever since I was taught to meme, an obsession was born. :D

2) My sarcasm is never mean. If you are easily offended, maybe I'm not the right mentor for you.

3) I am all about the developmental edits - I will not be line editing or looking for more than the most obvious grammar gaffes - and I will be looking at the WHOLE manuscript. I wish someone had helped me with plot/character/story development earlier on in my query process. Maybe I wouldn't have burned those earlier contest wins.

Other things to know...

I've been writing on and off for nine years.

I started seriously submitting about nine months ago.

The writing bug bit me when I was preggo with baby one.

At the time, I thought "I have all these ideas. It'll be easy to put them on paper. This will be so fun!"

Boy did I have a lot to learn.

There are two trunk novels from the early days that will never see the light.

It's for your own good.

I've got about a dozen other stories started but not finished that I might get back to sooner or later....but probably not

The story I pitched in DVpit was one I'd completed about two years ago. I shelved it, knowing it wasn't good enough, but not knowing why. I thought about it. I scoured the internet on structure and prose and popular genres. Basically I absorbed all the information I could. And what I learned was that at the heart of my story, my pacing was way off.

So I learned about story structure, parts vs acts vs scenes. I studied plot points and story deconstruction and character arcs, and identified where these elements lacked in my story.

Long story short - there was a lot of editing done before I started entering contests.

More recent story - after some contest feedback I reordered, rewrote, and repolished the first quarter of my piece.

And this novel baby, folks, is the one that's out in the world.

Though I'm by no means an expert, I have taught myself a lot and want to share my knowledge with you.

I promise to be kind,

but I'm also very honest.

There might be times you love me,

but sometimes you'll be thinking "what the hell!"

But that's what I've done with past CPs.

I question, I prod, in the hopes that your story is stronger for it in the end.

Dear Future #FicFest Mentee: Buckle up. It's going to be a bumpy two months.

#FicFest #amwriting #contest #amquerying