Friday, March 18, 2011

CRITIQUE CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT...With Awesome Prizes! (And Show Me the Voice Contest Entry)

It's been a long time since I've hosted a critique session here at Random Thoughts, so I thought it was time to do one again.  This time we have a special prize.  Judith Engracia, Literary Assistant at Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency is going to judge your entries and choose at least two winners.  The two winners will receive a ten page critique from Judith!  How awesome is that!!! 

I adore Judith and am sure you will too...

Judith is a literary assistant at Liza Dawson Associates, handling audio rights and digital publishing. She graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University with a B.A. in English and History on a full presidential scholarship. Prior to joining Liza Dawson Associates in 2010, she interned at Random House and a number of literary agencies, including FinePrint Literary and Nancy Coffey Literary Management. She is currently building her client list and looking for all types of fiction, especially middle grade, young adult, urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance. When she's not reading, she is either training for her next martial arts test or causing mischief with her Siberian Husky, Grendel.

Here are the rules...

Your manuscript must be a complete mg, ya or fiction novel.  You must email me the first 100 words...more or less, don't end in the middle of a sentence.  I will take the first 50 entries and then close the contest.  You may submit one piece to be critiqued.  If you enter, I hope that you will take the time to critique at least 10 other people's submissions.  I'll post the entries on Monday. 

Email your submission to me at skmayh at q dot com in this format:

First 100 words

Good luck everyone!

In case you hadn't heard Hilary Wagner's wicked cool book, Nightshade City made it to the final round of the SCWBI Crystal Kite Awards.  If you are a member...Please hop over and give her your vote!  Nightshade City is an awesome book!

YIKES!  I forgot that I had entered Brenda Drake's Show Me the Voice Contest!  Here's my entry...Any input will be appreciated.  :)


David jumped in front of the shopping cart.

Mom stopped abruptly.

“Can I get new sneakers?”

“You can wear the ones you have until the end of the summer. We’ll get you a new pair, right before school starts.”

David tossed a box of chocolate Pop Tarts in the cart. “But Mom, school doesn’t END until tomorrow! I hafta wait all summer to get them?” David squeaked.

Mom didn’t answer, which meant she DID expect him to wait all summer.

“Oh well at least I know what kind I want. I want a pair of black and white Ninja Heelys.”

Mom continued reading the label on a box of Cap’n Crunch. Then she looked over the top of her glasses. “I can’t see the point in spending sixty dollars on a pair of sneakers that turn into roller skates when you already have roller blades.”

“But, Mom, they’re wicked cool! I have to have them or everyone’ll think I’m a loser.”

“If you save your allowance and earn the rest of the money you can buy them yourself.”

“Awe, Mom, how can I earn sixty dollars plus tax this summer? I only get two bucks a week. Summer vacation is only ten weeks, so if I save everything I’ll…” David paused, “only have twenty bucks.”

“You’re right,” Mom said. “Ten weeks times two dollars is twenty dollars, but your birthday’s in July. Grandma Pat and Uncle Ken always send you money.”

“Oh yeah, they send me however old I am in dollars.


Have a great weekend! Don't foget to vote for the Crystal Kite Award and to send my your first 100 words of your completed manuscript by Monday...


  1. Thanks for inviting me to read the entries, Sharon! I'm so excited for this :)

  2. That is terrific, I hope you get some good entries!

  3. Sharon, you are so generous! Thanks for sharing this. I'll pass it on to my friends!

  4. Hi Sharon .. hope everyone has so much fun with this .. enjoy the weekend .. I'm popping over to see the other Hilary (no doubt a few more around too .. at least her name is spelt right?!).

    Cheers Hilary

  5. Awesome contest! I'm e-mailing now!

  6. Sharon, What a wonderful contest. Thanks for hosting it. Great idea. :)


  7. Yay for Jude! Welcome back! Though I won't be entering I wish everyone THE BEST of luck! Great contest, Sharon!

  8. Awwww what a GREAT opportunity!!! Thank you Sharon K Mayhew and Judith Engracia!!! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!! Take care

  9. Awesome contest, Sharon! Thanks for lending your expertise, Jude!!

  10. Thanks Sharon!

    Just sent the email to you! :D

  11. Thanks for hosting this, Sharon. An Jude what a thrill it is for me to have you view my excerpt. I hope you like it.


  12. So nice of you to host this! Very awesome prizes!

  13. Cool contest Sharon! I just sent my entry.

  14. This is awesome, Sharon and Jude. I won't be entering, but I'm excited for those who will be entering. :)
    And, I'll tweet it and put it on my sidebar.

    Happy weekend!

  15. Thanks for hosting this contest, Sharon. What a great opportunity. I have entered.


  16. Sharon, since I've met you, you are constantly full of awesome and good will! You make the writing a world a better place!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  17. You and Judith are so awesome! Thanks for the opportunity.

    Bigs Hugs,

  18. How very, very cool! Thanks for the contest - you rock :)

  19. Fantastic contest. I wish luck to the entrants.

    Have a great weekend.

  20. Hi Sharon,
    Nice one and I wish all those who enter, the very best.
    Hope you are having a nice weekend and stay warm.
    In kindness and may you get to see the 'supermoon', Gary :)

  21. This is so generous of you, Judith and Sharon! What a wonderful opportunity!

  22. You're making me wish I'd finished my revisions on Star Swans, but good luck to everyone who can enter! I'm happy that Jude is blogging again.

  23. What a great contest! Lucky I clicked through to see if your Show Me The Voice entry was up yet! (I'll be back to critique that when it's posted.)

  24. Judith Engracia has always been on the top of 'my wish list'. She is fantastic, generous and kind. Good luck to everyone.

  25. I love when you do theses, if always has wonderful people involved… thx for your time and effort, as well, a big thx goes out to those other people involved to make this happen.


  26. Awesome contest. My manuscript isn't quite ready yet, but good luck to everyone.

  27. This is fun. I don't read a lot of chapter books, yet. (My kids aren't that old.) I do like the voice of David, though. It reminds me of my little brother and how he was in elementary school. I can almost picture him just from how he talks. Nice job!

  28. I haven't read a chapter book, since I was reading chapter books. Ha ha. But, I like the beginning of your chapter book, and I can relate to the character, remembering what it was like to really want something at that age.

  29. I love the chapter book! The voice hooked me and I can totally relate even tho I'm (cough, cough) 33. One thing, tho. There are a few brand names in there like Pop Tarts and Cap'n Crunch. Would you be better off saying cereal and toast?? Just thinking. And I love the title!!! :)

  30. Thanks for letting me know about the contest!

  31. I do think we get a sense of who David is, and I enjoy his banter with his mom b/c it illustrates their relationship and how they get along really well. However, I'm not sure the namedropping works in your favor. I love what you're portraying--a lot of teens care about what's hot right now in fashion and shoes and electronics. But giving the name brand like that will date your story and you want your story to be timeless.

  32. Oh! stopped by the for the blgogfest and another contest too! Thank you for that bonus!!!

    I loved this line "Mom didn’t answer, which meant she DID expect him to wait all summer." and him tossing the poptarts in the cart :)

  33. I like how David shows off math without turning the book overly educational. I hope that continues. Maybe consider cutting "Mom stopped abruptly" and putting David's dialogue in the first line? Mom's reaction is implied, and this throws action in the first line.


  34. I'll second Margo on the favorite line. Nice job :)

  35. You have great voice there. I can really picture David. The story sounds intriguing.

  36. I love this! I laughed at the roller blade part. This passage reminds me of shopping with my mom when I was a kid.

  37. I'm with Margo and Jolene on the favourite line, love it! I think this is a really sweet start for a chapter book and I like the voice in particular--I get a real sense of who David is, and from the first page, I feel like I know what kind of book it'll be. Great!

  38. Great voice - sounds like lots of the kids at school! :)

    Could you lose the 2nd line about the cart? I don't know if you need it - we get the characters and setting very quickly. Nice job!

  39. Returning the read :)

    I like the first line. It makes us wonder what will happen. However, you may want to either cut out the second line or add some more imagery to work it in. Also, I'm confused as to David's age. At first, I thought he was a teenager (probably because I read a lot of YA and automatically assume everything is as such). The way David acts made me think again and wonder if he isn't in elementary school.

    Overall, this is a cute scene, and the dialogue is nicely done.

  40. Thanks so much for letting me know about this Sharon! It sounds like an awesome contest. Unfortunately I can't enter, because my MS isn't finished. I'm in the middle of a rewrite and only have about half of it done.

    Best of luck to all who enter, though!

  41. I'm not in the contest, but found you through a friend's blog. Nice opener. You did a great job capturing the boy's voice.

  42. What a great contest!! I wish I had a finished manuscript so I could enter, but alas, I’m still working on my historical/fantasy romance. Good luck to all who are eligible to enter!!!

    The only critique I have on your entry is the slang. I’ve heard so often how it can date your book.

  43. Oh no! I missed the news about the contest.

    Great 250 words. It's a little hard for me to crit because it's not my genre. I get bored reading early chapter books to my daughter. Not enough conflict. ;)

    This one is great. I had a hard time at first because of the lack of setting, but then I remembered the genre. I still think you could give a little more though. Are they at a grocey store or a store like Walmart? A little more description could go a long way. Is it busy? etc. Of course, take these suggestions with a huge grain of salt. ;)

    Good luck!

  44. Awesome contest Sharon. You amaze me:)

  45. what a great contest! Too bad i missed it. :(

  46. Hi.. just popping in to say hello. Looks llike an awesome contest. See you soon, take care, Keri