What's in a Name?
Boroughs 2013 Novella Contest
Has the title of a song ever inspired you to write? We’re betting it has…and that you can take that title and make it your own.
We invite you to submit your 25,000-40,000 word, completed novella based on the title of a song – any song – that you adopt as the title of your story to: Submissions@BoroughsPublishingGroup.com no later than May 31st 2013.
Your submission MUST include a two paragraph synopsis of your story. The first round of voting will begin on June 10th 2013 and will be based upon your two paragraph synopsis so make it snap, crackle and pop.
First Round of Voting: By noon, PST, Monday, June 10th 2013 story titles and your synopsis will be posted ANONYMOUSLY on our website. Those that receive the top 25% of the vote in their sub-genre will be selected as SEMI-FINALISTS to go on to the…
Second Round of Voting: By noon PST, Monday, June 24th 2013 the story’s first 300 words (approximately 1 page) will be posted ANONYMOUSLY on our website for votes along with the title and the synopsis. In this phase, our Editors will weigh in and the top three vote-getting stories in each sub-genre will be selected as FINALISTS to go on to the…
Third Round of Voting: By noon PST, Monday, July 8th 2013, votes will be tallied one last time. The first 1,000 words (approximately 3-4 pages) of the story will be posted ANONYMOUSLY for consideration, along with the title and synopsis. The Winner of the WHAT’S IN A NAME contest will be announced at our Open House during the RWA national convention in Atlanta, Georgia (July 17th – 20th 2013) and we will have the results publicized on our website, FB page, Twitter feed and on Pinterest.
Beginning Monday, June 10th 2013, and for each phase of the contest, you and everyone you know should visit www.BoroughsPublishingGroup.com find the link to the WHAT’S IN A NAME contest, then cast your votes for stories that tickle your fancy and make you want more. You may vote for every story you like.
ALL FINALISTS will be offered:
THE FINALIST with the most popular website votes will be offered:
THE WINNER, chosen from our FINALISTS by our editorial staff, will receive:
Sign up for contest results through our newsletter or check back whenever you like for results.
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Knowing When to Stop
A colleague related a great quote to me recently, “Keep the company of those who seek the truth. Run away from those who have found it.” In the spirit of that wisdom, this month I bring you a question instead of an answer: How much is enough?
I’ll explain. I was deep in conversation with a friend last week about the “serial novel,” about Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas and the many long-dead authors who wrote them. We were also discussing the fact that it’s coming back as a literary style, how the ebook’s instant accessibility on the Web make this an appealing format for authors and readers alike. (We at Boroughs have a couple of serial works on the way: “Romantisodes,” we’re calling them, Montana John’s by Allie K. Adams and 101 Nights by Kellyann Zuzulo.)
Yes, small, easily digestible pieces of a larger literary work—that you can more cheaply abandon if it’s not working for you, or that you can happily await new episodes of like dessert—make total sense in today’s world. But at what point is the author/reader contract broken by dividing up the story?
For most of us, it’s television that’s the best recent example of this methodology. I never read any of those old serial novels in their original form, so I can’t speak to whether or not they were well crafted individually or if each simply cut off at the end of a chapter, but I have always taken the view that every discretely sold work should have separate closure; great storytelling is about a journey, about the author making a promise and then seeing it through to its conclusion. My friend is a scientist, and so I used the following analogy: A well-written “work” is when the author gives you an entire formula and the enjoyment comes from solving for the variables. In other words, a reader gets to make personal judgments about the actions of characters through a series of events. A cliffhanger happens when the author leaves out a piece of the formula and so there’s no way to solve for X. So, if that is actually the case, from what can the reader/viewer take enjoyment?
There’s no denying that cliffhangers are prominent these days. If you take some of the shows I watch—at the moment Game of Thrones, Dexter and True Blood—they love to end episodes (and even seasons!) with cliffhangers. I don’t (usually) feel manipulated enough to stop watching. But, why? And regarding a serial novel—or episodes in any grander story line—at what point do you feel pleasantly tantalized, and at what point do you feel the author has broken his or her promise? At what point is one’s needs not being met by the writers?
Think about it. Just how do you want to fulfill your promise to your reader?
During a recent day-trip with my family I ran across a quaint little shop in the North Georgia mountains where the owner offered for sale tiny little doors, eight to ten inches high. Fairy doors. Along with these came every imaginable fairy charm offering for your garden, yard and home: miniature benches, chairs, garden tools, houses… You name it, they were there. The idea the shop owner peddled was: If you place fairy doors out on your property, fairies will come through them to visit. If they are pleased with your offerings, they’ll hang out and protect your property.
So, how cool is that?
Initially, I found myself entranced. Then the Muse in me reared his head and snapped: “Hey! What if you invite those guys in and they have mischief planned?” Heavy sigh. This is often how the writer’s mind works: think worst-case scenario. I left the fairy charms at the store.
Magically, however, sometime in the next week a story idea popped. What if a girl, as a last resort for dealing with overwhelming negative odds, put out a fairy door and fairy charms, and her One True Love found his way back to her only because she had the faith to ask the Universe for him and his help? My fantasy romance short story Three Wishes evolved from there. Set in Savannah, Georgia, it’s a true fairy tale where love reigns supreme and wishes finally do come true. And it couldn’t have come at a better time than St. Patrick’s Day.
Hm. I think I should probably head back and pick up those charms.