Today You Can Tweet Your Proposal to Agents! #Pitmad

One of the most nerve wracking times for a writer is when we send out our work. It’s sort of what I imagine an artist feels like putting up their creations in a gallery. It’s no longer in our heads or buried away in a word document. It’s out there and people can choose not to like it. And then there is crying.

That can be one take on the submission process.

The other side? Pure euphoria. We’ve done something. We set about to accomplish an article, short story, or novel and we finished. Putting together the proposal is the after party. And what happens after it’s sent off? It’s all whirlpool tub and wine or maybe we just collapse and don’t move for a day or so. Either way, it’s a huge relief.hashtag

Now, if you have not submitted your work and think you might be close to doing so there is a huge opportunity happening today in the Twitterosphere between 8am and 8pm. Book Baby, a self publishing website mentioned this article about submitting to agents today only, using various hashtags. They even provide instructions and tips.

Why do I bring this up? Because some of you may be ready for that next step. If you have your elevator pitch down and are about ready to send it out anyway why not give it a try? You don’t have to sign with a particular agent. This is a chance to see what happens. Nothing may happen. But something might happen and that’s one of the reasons we write.

If you do this be sure to let me know @parttimenovel.

Happy submitting.



100 Word Challenge for Julia’s Place – Those Putrid Sunny Days

Here is my entry for the 100 word challenge for Julia’s place to titled: Those Putrid Sunny Days.


Malcolm Belfore was a child of study and thus hated summers. While all his classmates celebrated the newly won summer, Malcolm pulled out his calendar and crossed off the first day of summer.

“humph!” he growled when a joyful student rushed past shouting jubilantly.

“Bah!” he barked when he saw two high five.

“Malcolm, are you alright?” Mrs. Appleton asked while eyeing him over her glasses.

“I hate summers,” he muttered.

“But Malcolm, children love summer,” she returned.

“Not all of them.” He said pouting. He lamented every single putrid sunny day until the children began returning to the routine.

Submit your entry HERE.




Kurt Vonnegut On Short Stories


My friend Josh loves Kurt Vonnegut. If you know him it should come as no surprise. I bring him up today because I recently unearthed a few short stories to submit to a local writing contest. If you are a Michigander go HERE for details.

Whenever I begin a new project whether in writing or on the house I read and watch videos about how it is done. Obviously, short stories are more compact and can even be more complicated than a novel. You have to be precise in every single word in order to avoid wasting the readers’ time.

Below is a video of eight principles Mr. Vonnegut employed to write successful short stories. I am glad for his sage advice.



3 Day Novel Throwback

Though it is done and over I wanted to share I post I wrote about the 3 Day Novel contest before I participated in it for the first time four years ago. I hope you will enjoy it. Rereading it makes me want to attempt it next year. Perhaps I will.

Sweaty palms, thoughts racing, constantly distracted, and trying to clear my mind. Sounds like a first date, but it’s actually a mental swirl occurring eight days before The 3 Day Novel Contest begins. Last night The Weaklings took a step forward into the public spotlight and my mind kicked into the “I’m late for work during rush hour” mentality. Photos were taken, interviews conducted, and soon we will be in the local newspaper. Exciting? Certainly. Terrified? Unequivocally. The panic can begin.

            The 3 Day Novel Contest is a fantastic opportunity. I have never attempted anything of this sort. My first novel, which I am currently writing, will take me at least two years to complete. Obviously, this test will be a stripped down attempt, but nonetheless daunting. My original idea was to write a thriller set in a fictional communist country. I have since scrapped it (with much encouragement from my brother weaklings) to stay close to that with which I am familiar.

            I have decided upon a prequel describing the events that catapulted my existing novel into motion. It has no overlay and is devoid of any characters pertained therein. This gives me the chance to understand the history of my novel better and practice my abilities as a writer. An outline will be posted shortly.

            Through this experience I hope other people around me (namely you who are reading this) are encouraged to write and will discover the adrenaline rush that is overtaking me. Three years ago the thought of writing a novel, much less one in three days, had not even begun to formulate in the dusty corners of my mind. Now, with discipline and constant badgering from the weaklings, I will be well on my way to completing the first two books in a series! It is not too late to register. Visit The 3 Day Novel Contest for details and start stockpiling food.

            I shall now return to pacing in front of my computer. Waiting. Thinking. Hoping, that the splendid dialogue and clever plotline that circulates in my mind will make it to the page intact.

Until next year.



Remembering the 3-Day Novel Contest

The Weaklings – Our Photo For The Grand Rapids Press

It started out as the most outrageous statement I had ever heard. “So we need to try this sometime. Can you imagine writing a novel in three days?” thus said Matthew Landrum as he discovered the annual 3-Day novel contest over Labor Day Weekend. I took it as a sort of joke at first. After all I had been working on a novel for three stinking years. There was no way I could do that, I thought. Could I?

Then I was creating an outline. My writer’s group The Weaklings (a play on C.S Lewis’s and Tolkien’s Inkings) began to discuss logistics. Where would this take place? What would we eat? How long would we have to write to complete it? What would we write? Slowly but surely each member looked at this Mount Everest of novel writing contests and began to believe that it was something we could finish.

The three day novel contest is exactly that: Start at 12:01am on Saturday and write until 11:59 on Monday evening. You cannot type a single word before or after that time frame and a person must sign and date a form saying you have not. Outlines are okay, but other than that, its just dreaming up as much of the novel in your mind ahead of time before you begin.

Obviously the novels composed during this weekend are not your average novels. No eight hundred page tomes are penned, but eighty to 100 pages are within reach if you are prepared.

The 3-Day Novel is a juggernaut. Once you are in it there is no stopping. And after that brief moment of despair or trying something new you cannot allow yourself to think twice about it, you must highlight, delete, then begin a new sentence in one continuous action.

Through the contest we went on walks, shared the occasional meal, and for motivation I called my wife, talked with a fellow Weakling for a moment or read the article that made it into the Grand Rapids Press and on the Mlive website.

During the two years I did compete, I wrote two novels. The first is titled For the Glory of Nequam. It is my attempt at exploring the evil in my world and how it began. It is the story of a promised young boy who seeks fame, fails and then attempts to restore the glory of his city no matter the cost. 

The second novel is titled Dacia. It’s about a language expert who is commissioned to travel to Romania to help sway them to join England’s cause during WWI. He falls in love with Katia, a native Romanian and after she goes missing while hiking, discovers a society of werewolves that have lived in the Balkans for centuries.

The contest was so much fun that I am getting filled with the thrill of competing in it once more. Not this year though, but perhaps next. Now I am focused on getting published.

Please enjoy other 3 Day Novel memories below:

If you are participating this year, good luck!



Short Story from Julia’s Place “Would Seven Prove To Be Too Much”

I put a post about this word challenge on my blog last week without much of an introduction. This post is an entry in a writing contest at Julia’s Place called the 100 word challenge. It is a wonderful way to hone your skills, be choosey in your word selection, and try to be compelling in a brief amount of space. It’s sort of like tweeting a story or a writing sprint.

Titled: Don’t Be Like This Guy

Dirk put the phone down wondering if he was jeopardizing his chances of landing an agent.

He’d been calling all day asking for Mrs. Swenson of Swenson Agency Limited. However, she did not return his calls nor did Veronica her assistant.  He wondered if Veronica was actually taking his messages because he could hear her drumming her fingers along the desk, especially after the sixth call.

But this is what being an author is about, right? You have to do this to get published, don’t you?

So, Dirk pick up the phone, breathed a heavy sigh, and dialed again wondering, would seven prove to be too much?

Write today!



A Helpful Writing Contest

Yesterday I posted my 100 word challenge. It comes from the site Julia’s Place (here) and I’d like to mention it to my readers. I believe her contests are tremendously helpful for the writer trying to hone their skill and if you are a writer trying to reach the next level of the craft, sign up and try next week’s prompt.

The 100 word challenge makes you be selective and confines your writing, forcing you to exercise your writing muscles. The premise is, you are given a few words and they need to be included in the 100 words you write. Then follow the instructions to post your link on her site.

See yesterday’s post for an example.

Special thanks to Josh Mosey for bringing them to my attention.

I apologize for the short post, but I have something I am working on.

I will inform you all next week.

Keep Writing – 1000 words this weekend? You can do it!



Year End Writing Contests

As we move through the summer at such a rapid pace I began to reflect on the end of the year. I have goals that I wish to accomplish, and I realized some of them might take a bit more time than my usual 5-6 hours a week I spend writing.

I’d like to share some writing contests with you today. Why do I mention them? Because sometimes it is nice to hunker down and get something accomplished. There is something about a writer locked in a cabin that is alluring to me. Disappearing for an extended piece of time and then emerging with the Great American Novel!

So if you want to finish a novel this year, perhaps use the thrill, comradery, and intensity of these contests.


National Novel Writing Month

Here is the link:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

3-Day Novel Contest

This is the most notorious contest I know. My writers group has, for the most part, done this each year. I highly recommend this literary adrenaline rush.

Can you produce a masterwork of fiction in three short days? The 3-Day Novel Contest is your chance to find out. For more than 30 years, hundreds of writers step up to the challenge each Labour Day weekend, fuelled by nothing but adrenaline and the desire for spontaneous literary nirvana. It’s a thrill, a grind, a 72-hour kick in the pants and an awesome creative experience. How many crazed plotlines, coffee-stained pages, pangs of doubt and moments of genius will next year’s contest bring forth? And what will you think up under pressure?


1st Prize: Publication*
2nd Prize: $500
3rd Prize: $100

*The first prize winner will be offered a publishing contract by 3-Day Books after the winner announcement in the January following the contest. Once the contract is signed, the winning novel will be edited, published and released by the next year’s contest. 3-Day Books are distributed by Arsenal Pulp Press.

How about you, what opportunities are you taking to finish your novel this year?