For those who don’t know, I’ve spent the last month on tenterhooks waiting for results of yet another Twitter writing contest. This one though, was a bit different.
Instead of one of the multitude of events like #Pitchwars or #Pitmad geared at gaining an agent, #ShoreIndie, started by Sione Aeschliman (@writelearndream) is aimed at helping indie and hybrid authors cross some of the gaps that open up when you aren’t depending on a publisher or agent.
By far, the biggest hurdle is editing. I’m a fairly competent self editor, and I happen to live with another writer who is also a very good editor, but sometimes issues arise that need an outside set of eyes. In fact, I recently found myself in a situation where for once, I didn’t just need copy editing or a few suggestions from a beta reader or critique partner. I needed an actual developmental edit. I needed someone to look at my book and say, “Ah, here’s the problem. Have you considered doing this, or rearranging these things here?”
My story, a gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, practically wrote itself. Unfortunately, I’m an underwriter and it came out novella length, which can be a really tough sell–what I needed was someone to help me take it to the next level and create a full blown novel.
Enter ShoreIndie. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of ten finalists to spend seven weeks working with an editor doing just those kinds of edits. Even better, I got to work with Jeni Chappelle. Jeni was a familiar face from several other Twitter contests, and while our paths crossed, it was never in such a way that we were able to work together. Finally, the third manuscript was the charm and we spent a very stressful month and a half getting bombarded by reality while trying to turn my little alt-history novel into an actual BOOK (this overlapped with the time when Ash lost her job; Jeni’s cat suddenly became very ill and had to be put down; I think one of us was sick at one point, and I started having computer and car problems). Still, we persevered. But when it came time to turn in the manuscript to the judges, I was so nervous. I’m still convinced that had life not steamrolled both of us, we could have done more. But I am not complaining in the slightest.
I mean, runner up isn’t bad, right?
I want to say a huge thank you to Jeni, Sione, and the three judges: Ember Casey, Bill Cameron, and Elise Kova, who all had wonderful things to say about my book:
“I loved this entry! The premise was so fun and original, the worldbuilding was vivid and colorful, and I loved how the book kicked off the action from the very first chapter! An enjoyable adventure!” –Ember Casey
“There’s a spunk to the voice I like. Also, loved how it just started in on the action.” –Elise Kova
“As I read this novel, I kept thinking that the author must have really enjoyed writing it because every page is infused with an infectious joy. The concept is fun to begin with, and the author’s handling of it was simply delightful. It made me wish I lived on the timeline where Marie Antoinette formed a monarchy in Quebec though I wouldn’t want to find myself at the tip of Louise’s blade.” –Bill Cameron
I don’t know just yet what the next steps will be, but I’m sure you’ll hear about them soon. Overall, it was an amazing experience, especially since this was the first year for the contest. I can’t wait to get started!