Hard choices

First of all, a quick announcement. I finally have a Facebook profile and page!

Facebook profile:  https://www.facebook.com/judy.goodwin.9026

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Judy-Goodwin/282580281866578  (please come and “Like” me!)

Now to talk about hard choices.

head-in-hands

I have a couple right now:  First, I’ve decided to enter in my soon to be released YA Fantasy novel Journey To Landaran into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. Quarter finalists get a Publisher’s Weekly review, which is pretty nice. Grand prize is a contract with Amazon, which I’m a little skeptical of (I can’t find the boilerplate to see about return of rights or next work clauses) but might not be a bad thing. Their 2013 winner certainly seems happy and seems to be doing well.  And of course chances of getting the grand prize are slim. The contest allows me to be self-published simultaneously, so I just see it as a great chance for expanded publicity.

Now the hard choice. I received advice from one writer that I should drop my prologue because Donald Maas, one of last year’s judges and a very well known fantasy agent, generally despises them and cuts them. I’ve been polling my beta readers but I keep getting mixed advice. (Currently I think it’s standing at 3 for, 3 against!)

My daughter actually put forth the best argument to keeping it. It’s a pretty standard prologue showing the birth of the protagonists from the viewpoint of the character they must journey to meet, who will train and protect them later on. The benefit is A. meeting this protagonist and thus having foreknowledge that the viewpoints characters don’t have, and B. Setting up the larger political context of the plot. I’ve had no complaints really about the prologue not doing the job of pulling readers in, but then the first chapter does just as good if not better a job. There is nothing in the prologue that won’t come out eventually.

So right now I’m leaning towards cutting it at least for the contest. I may keep it in my own self-published version, as I get more feedback from readers. I’d love to hear comments from those following this blog.

My second hard choice concerns a short story I recently finished writing and sent to the Critters.org critique group, a massive group of sf and fantasy writers. The good news?  Most people loved the concept, loved the writing, and it was the most critiqued story of the week, currently at 50 critiques (the next on the list this week has 28 crits).

The bad news?  Nobody likes the ending. Argh!!  It’s too easy, and too positive. This means I have to figure out what the hell to do with this thing. I’ve gotten some good advice on where to change it and ways it could go, but having such an avalanche of feedback makes me want to just forget it and stick it in a drawer.

I wonder if other writers feel the same way sometimes. Eh, well I’ll probably sit on it until after the hoopla of the novel release is past. Then I’ll look at it again. Make it darker, I suppose.

And to those who have given me feedback, I heartily thank you. Even if it makes my head spin sometimes, I know it all helps me to grow as a writer.

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