Writers Rendezvous May update – Part 2

I mentioned some places to get feedback on your writing in the last post. Here are more options.

Bardsy’First Chapter Contest is open for entries until June 20. They’re looking for first chapters that grab their attention and leave the reader wanting more. Your chapter should set the stage for the story to come, establishing key elements like character, world, and conflict. You receive professional and substantial feedback on your story via our Publishability Index. After that, you can revise your entry before judging begins. 3,000 words max. $20 entry fee. $1,000 top prize. All finalists receive $50 and anthology publication.

And if you’re writing romance or women’s fiction, I recommend the Good Book Collective, who will critique your writing, cover designs, and more. For just $30, the 30-page review will give you the feedback you need to make the right changes, enter that contest, and/or keep writing forward. The feedback on the first thirty pages includes information about the plot, pacing, and characters, as well as readers’ overall opinion on the selection. They also have these options: Hook Wars – Readers will rank up to five hooks (maximum 150 characters each) and can provide feedback about their favorite ($20). In Cover Duels, readers choose between two covers ($20). For Blurbs & First Five Pages, readers give feedback on an author’s blurb (maximum 75 words) and up to 1,250 words ($30). For a more complete reaction, their Step-by-Step Review asks readers to respond to a short novel description, a longer description, the first thirty pages, and the complete manuscript. Readers decide at each stage if they want to continue and provide feedback ($100).

British company Flash500 runs a contest for the first chapter of an unpublished novel. They are looking for a novel opening of up to 3,000 words, plus a synopsis of the story (max 750 words) to be submitted together in a single file. If your first chapter is longer than 3,000 words, simply close the entry within the 3,000-word limit and make a note at the end (which will not be included in the word count) stating the chapter continues beyond this point. This is an annual competition: entries close on October 31. Entry fee: £10 for one novel, £18 for two novels, £26 for three novels. Optional critique of one chapter and Synopsis: £35 per story. Prizes will be awarded as follows: First prize: £500, Runner up: £200

Westport Writers Workshop is planning to launch the Westport Writers’ Dramatic Lab. This new learning and community platform will focus on performance programming and events, specifically for episodic television, screenwriting, playwriting, short film, sketch comedy, spoken word, individual coaching, and industry resources. If you are interested in receiving their emails, please sign up here.

Savvy Authors is a community of online writers who offer inexpensive classes and a Pitchfest in October. They open up their website for three days during which you post your pitch in a forum to agents and editors. Pitchfest works like this: after 9 AM EST the day of the Pitchfest, post your three-line pitch as a comment on the agent and editor posts. These posts will be linked from the Sweetheart Pitch Page. You do need to register, but it’s free and we’ll send you reminders and tips about pitching! You don’t have to be a paid Savvy Authors member. (Their basic membership is free…) Lastly, they ask you to review the Pitch Rules before pitching.

The Blood Pudding, a literary journal, is looking for submissions of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction ranging from microfiction to short stories. and hope to publish them in their next issue: ISSUE 10. Submit here.

Wondering whether the publisher you’re considering, or an email you’ve received about your book, is a scam? Check the company out with the Alliance of Independent Authors, who rate these companies from Excellent to Watchdog Advisory. They rate almost 1000 service providers from publishers to designers. They also offer a book, Choose the Best Self-Publishing Services, free to members. Membership starts at $89 per year. Writer Beware also reports on publishers with problems, and their site is worth checking out.

Recommended by Jane Friedman This article is by Stephen Marche, author of the AI-generated novel The Death of the Author. He offers a fascinating look at how he used various AI tools to achieve specific effects in his novel, and comments on the implications of the technology for writers. This is worth a read regardless of how you feel about generative AI. Read it at The Atlantic.


Campfire is a writing software for people writing long series of books, where you want to keep track of characters, locations, family trees, etc, complicated stories, and speculative fiction. If you write epic fantasies, long-running series, or complicated stories with lots of world-building, this is worth a look. It includes character sheets, family trees, mapmaking tools, and much more. Here’s a one-minute video to give you some idea.https://youtu.be/h_p2AaeSJ4U

And here are a couple of websites that enable you to write and design comic/graphic stories, which readers pay to read on an app. They seem very similar to me, so make sure you check carefully before deciding on one of them.

Both Tapas and Webtoon are home to thousands of creator-owned content with amazing, diverse visions from all over the world. You can create original romance, comedy, action, fantasy, horror, and more.

See you next month!



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