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Can We Guess Your Character’s Age? Contest …Semi-Finalists

Monday, 12 December 2011  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

We have semi-finalists! Each semi-finalist will have their own post, so scroll down and view each one. Please feel free to comment on the entries’ posts (be nice in your critiques). I have to say that the writing and stories were so fantabulous it was hard to decide. I hope you got enough critiques during the blogfest to determine if your characters’ voices matched their ages. Thank you to everyone for being so kind. I love this community, you all are so helpful and generous!
How it went down yesterday…  
The three judges met at my home for a lunch of  pancetta pasta, salad, red-velvet cupcakes, and triple chocolate hot cocoa. Yum! With full bellies, we played the game Can We Guess Your Character’s Age? I’d read an excerpt aloud and each judge wrote down the age they felt the character was on a dry erase board. When we had finished, the judges had successfully guessed ages for thirty-five entries. 
The next round was now about what voices matched the age the best. Enter my wonderful writing buddy, Erica M. Chapman who read late into the night to help me pick the top twenty. Thanks, Erica, you are so beyond awesome! (Please note: This contest wasn’t about perfect grammar but about voice.)
I’m happy to leave the final decision to our wonderful judge …

Gabriela Lessa is an editor, literary agent assistant, writer, blogger, journalist, Brazilian, insomniac and word nerd. In addition to being an Associate Editor at Turquoise Morning Press and an assistant at a major New York-based literary agency, she works independently to offer editing and consulting for authors. Her work is to make manuscripts shine! Check out her reasonable editorial and consultant rates here. She’s simply great! Now, I wish I could enter *pouts*.

Follow her blog, it has some great information!

And, of course, we have prizes … 
1st place – Edit of first 30 pages + 25% off any services they want to hire

2nd place – Edit of first 20 pages + 20% off any services 
3rd place – Edit of first 10 pages + 15% off  

If you’re not already following Gabi on twitter or her blog, please do – she’s aAHmazing!!!!!

What did you learn from participating in this contest?

Check back in a few days for the winners! I’ll be drawing names from the linky list of participants for door prizes.

Filed: Contests, Misc

  • Cassie Mae says:

    Congrats to all the finalists!!! This was a super fun contest and so great to see all the guesses and meet some awesome people 🙂

  • Ahh, sweet–I’m a semi-finalist! Woot! I’m excited to have made it to this round.

    I definitely learned some things about voice from this contest–both from reading some of the other contestants’ entries as well as the helpful comments on mine. This was a great idea. Even if I hadn’t made it to this round, it would have helped my voice. Thanks again!

  • I am so excited to be a semi-finalist! 🙂

    I definitely learned a lot from the comments on my excerpt. In fact, I was inspired to make a few tweaks that I think further helped to clarify my character’s age.

    I love the idea for this contest, because it made me really think about clarity in my writing, and how to communicate facts to my readers without coming right out and stating them. What a skill, to be able to weave all sorts of vital information into the texture of our character’s language, behavior, choices… How can our writing not improve if we start developing this kind of consciousness??

    Thanks, Brenda, for the opportunity! I feel like I’ve already won so much.

    BTW, is it OK to reveal the age of my character on my blog now?

  • Jenny says:

    Congratulations to all the semi-finalist! Good job! I learned a lot about my main character’s voice. For the most part, everyone got really close to my character’s age, which means I’ve pretty much succeeded in my attempt. I am looking at ways to solidify his age a bit more, and this contest helped to narrow it down.

    Thanks, Brenda, for another great contest!

  • I’m a semi-finalist? Wow!

    I agree with Deborah–I learned a lot from the comments and was able to make some tweaks.

    Thank you so much for hosting this contest–it’s been so much fun to see the entries. And thank all of you judges for the time you put into this!

  • And yes, congrats to all the semi-finalists. Great work, everyone! I’m having to tear myself away from reading all of the entries right now. Looking forward to getting back to them this evening!

  • Robin Weeks says:

    Yay! I’m so happy! This is an awesome contest and so helpful to make me aware of voice.

    Ohhh I hope I win! 😀

  • Congrats to everyone! This contest really helped with understanding voice and how important it is. It was also fun to read what everyone else was writing and to give and receive tips which is always helpful! Thanks again for all the comments and advice and good luck to the semi-finalists 🙂

  • Cecilia M. says:

    Congrats to all semi-finalists! I really enjoyed participating in this contest, and look forward to the next one. I really learned alot on this one.
    Thanks Brenda!

  • Heather Webb says:

    Yay! Made the semi-finalist round. I absolutely loved reading everyone’s entries–how different we all are! I want to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone for your helpful commentary & kind words!! Good luck to the semi-finalists. 🙂

  • R.A.Desilets says:

    Thank you, Brenda for this opportunity! Very glad to be in the semi-finalist round ^_^

    Glad to see that the major rewrite I did is getting a decent reception – I was hoping it would be a bit… better than the lackluster one I had before! And I have someone very special to thank for that 😉 [1000th.monkey, cough]

    I love this writing community. The advice that I’ve gotten from these contests and the connections I’ve made has been incredible.

  • E. Arroyo says:

    This was fun! Thanks for the opportunity and Congrats to the winners. =)

  • This was fun. What did I learn? That nearly everyone is writing YA or MG. I felt quite out of it with an adult protag. Hmm.

    Congrats semi-finalists. Thanks judges, although I would have been happy to help with that spread you provided, Brenda.


  • Melinda says:

    Thanks for the fun contest and thanks to everyone who helped me with my first 250! It was fun to read everyone’s first pages and guess the MC’s age.

    Happy to be a semi-finalist! Thanks again!

  • Thanks to Brenda and the judges for organising this competition, it was great fun guessing all the characters’ ages. Congratulations to all the semi-finalists.

  • Gyran Gymble says:

    My thanks for this contest. Everyone tended to guess on the younger side for my main character so I’ll be working on a few pieces to show her actual age.

    Congratulations to all the semi finalists

  • Shell Flower says:

    Wow. I have learned so much from reading all the entries with only voice in mind. Voice is so important and so are the first 250 words. Great contest, thanks!!!

  • Becca says:

    I learned that everyone thought my character was way younger than she actually is.

  • writeidea says:

    Congratulations to all the semi-finalists. I enjoyed trying to guess all the character’s ages.

  • T. Drecker says:

    Thanks, Brenda! This was a great idea. It was fun to read everyone’s entries. Congratulations to everyone, who made it!

    Red-velvet cupcakes and hot chocolate, huh? *sigh* I think I’m going to spend the afternoon in the kitchen. Yummy!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thanks everyone – I’m so glad you all got something from the contest. I’ve entered many contests (hardly ever won) and it the contests like this one, that has a critique portion, that have helped me the most in my writing. You all had great writing and fun characters – the judges had a fun time reading them. There were many stories they wanted to read more. Excellent job everyone!

    Oh, and yes, you all can post your ages on your blogs now, if you want.

    Hugs to all! <3

  • This was FUN! Thanks for allowing me to be part of it ;o) <3<3 Congrats to the semi-finalists!! Some really great writing in these!

  • I’m excited for all the winners and thank you for the chance to participate.

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