Thursday, 8 December 2011


Brenda Drake is hosting a Blogfest Contest with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

A busy agent and author,  Ammi-Joan Paquette only accepts queries via referral or from people she has met at conferences so this is a great opportunity. 

The competition is happen’ ;)

If you want to join in head over to the Brenda Drake WritesBlog.

Here's how it's going down ...

Post the first 250 words of your finished, or not quite finished, manuscript (any genre) to your blogs. This contest is about voice--whether or not your character's voice matches his or her’s age. So if you mention the age or school grade in the first 250 words, please edit it out or block it out for this contest. Don't list the genre or title on your posts. If your 250 words falls in the middle of a sentence, continue to the end of the sentence.

From December 8th-9th hop around to other blogs and try to guess the age of the character, give critiques, or praise. Revise your entries, if you want, and email them to me by 11:59PM (EST) December 10th. (If you want, you may skip the blogfest/critique portion of this contest and just enter the contest.)

A panel of judges will choose the top twenty entries for the semi-finalist round, which will be posted on Brenda’s blog site

If you don't want your entry posted, don't enter the contest.


The only times Mortimer felt close to his parent came with chest pains and a stitch in his side. She only allocated him the minutes between meetings, nutrition breaks and training, and she walked fast. Their time together ran out when he failed to keep up with her in the corridor. It wasn't that he didn't try it was just that her legs were longer. Mortimer could recognise her spun-around and pinned down ponytail anywhere, it was the view he saw most of the time. One day, things went differently: Mortimer could keep up and his parent stopped when she reached the gym door.
Fast, like she couldn't catch her breath, she said, “Mortimer, get your things together.”
“What?" Mortimer asked. His heart slipshifted like the ship did when they dropped into standard orbit. "Me? Wha-”
“You played The Challenge.”
As if he could hide the rough pads, Mortimer tucked his thumbs inside his fists. He didn't get it, he’d been careful. Never played under his own I-dent. His plan to beat the Challenger, System-c, was a fail.
“I told you it wasn’t a game,” she stared at the ceiling. “Mortimer, there are reasons… consequences, for our actions.”
Mortimer’s tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. “Wh-where are you sending me?”
“To The Collective. Perhaps there you can learn some discipline. I should be able to visit. Maybe. Mortimer, I am expecting you to get things under control.” She spun around. The identpad reverberated when she hit lock and hurried into the gym.
If you are keen and good to go, entries can be sent now.

The cut off time is December 10th at 11:59PM (EST).

Entries should be emailed to:

Remember to exclude any information from your entry that reveals the age (like, actual age or school grade - hints are good).

When you are ready to email, include the age of your character at the end of your entry.

Brenda will be the only one who sees the age. Our three judges, a university press editor, writer, and college student, will not have the age.

If two out of three judges guess your character's age, your entry will move to the consideration round.

 From the consideration round, the top twenty will be chosen and posted on Brenda’s Blog by December 12th.



  1. He seems youngish. Maybe 13? A lot of worldbuilding here! Good job.

  2. I'm also guessing in the 11- 13 range. This is an intriguing beginning and a great set up.

    I think you could improve the voice by keeping a tighter POV on the Mortimer character. Just something to think about.

  3. Tough momma he has. Sounds like a tough world, too. I'll guess 14.

  4. I'm guessing 12ish. This is great for raising questions too. I'm wondering about the game and the Collective. Nice job.

    And, I'm definitely entering. I'd better do it now so I don't forget.

  5. I wanted to guess 13-15 but wasn't quite sure... not many tells. I will say that the first sentence grabbed me, but I had to re-read the whole first paragraph a couple of times.

  6. Hi Kelly
    Thank you. Welcome to Mortimer's world. ;)

    Hi Julie
    *grins Thanks. I'm thinking Mortimer. Way much harder now ;)

    Hi Jesi
    Mortimer's is not an easy life. His parent keeps busy.

    Hi Charity
    *grins Thank you. I'm glad you read and found yourself wondering about Mortimer's world.
    Good luck with your entry.

    Hi Christopher
    Poor Mortimer. He is growing up fast. I'm glad you were gripped by the first sentence but I'm worried about the first paragraph now.

    Hi Erica
    Yow. I'll tell Mortimer to get on with growing. Maybe he is precocious ;)

  7. THANK YOU!!!! to everyone who commented. I appreciate the time everyone took to offer ideas. You are all soo quick. Tomorrow is my day to read and comment.

    I may need to word count again before sending off my entry.

  8. I'd have to guess 15. I'm definitely intrigued by your entry!

  9. I'm going to say 13. He seems youngish, but like he's starting to grow up. Great intro!

  10. Hi Elaine! I'm beginning to think everyone but me writes MG or YA. I'd say your guy is about 14. Love his name and you have the jargon down.


  11. 13 perhaps? I like the cold dynamic between him and his "parent". It's interesting. I noticed you called her "parent" "mom" and by her name in this section. Perhaps some more consistency? At the very least it seems odd that he would think of her by her first name and mom in the same section. Good luck!

  12. I'd guess 14?? His parents seem to still be a huge part of his life.


  13. Hi GE
    Thank you :) I'm glad you were drawn into Mortimer's world.

    Hi Francesca
    Thank you :) I'm with your assessment of Mortimer as youngish.

    Hi Sharon
    THANK YOU!!! Consistency is the key in such a short paragraph. It has never contained Mortimer's parent's name before. That was a pure case of knowing too much in a re-write situation.

    Hi Julia
    For a woman who spends as little time with her son as possible, Mortimer's parent is hugely influential.

    Hi Denise
    That was a kind thought, the jargon is such an important part of scene setting.

  14. I was under the impression he was way younger, like 7-9.

  15. Hi :) I hopped over from Brenda's blog.

    This is a really interesting beginning. I think I'll go with 13. (Maybe 14 or a few years different on either side--considering he's grown up in a very different culture and so might feel/sound different...)

  16. @ Elaine

    Ha! I'm glad I was the closest ;) this has a very *Ender's game* feel about it.

    Oh, and you were BANG on for mine. 15 for the MC and Triss is 17


  17. I'm thinking 12. I really like how you use the word "parent" for describing his mom. It helps shows the distant relationship he has with his mom. Great job!.

  18. Hi Susan
    Thanks for calling by and commenting. Mortimer has a little more growing to do.

    Hi Crystal
    Closer. "Parent" is some serious world building, but she does maintain the distance between them, with difficulty.

    Hi Monkey
    You picked the exact age I pictured Mortimer when I first began. You were spot-on-with-spots ;)