Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 ABNA Update #1

I've mentioned before that I am one of the contracted Quarterfinalist judges for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award each year.

This year I'm intrigued to see how things pan out with the new changes to the contest system.  In previous years, there had only been two categories for writers to enter, adult and young adult.  This year, Amazon decided to open things up more and now there are five categories: General Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and finally, Young Adult.  Unlike previous years, I am *not* judging in the young adult category. This year I am judging in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror category.

I have received five anonymous manuscripts that I have to read and review by the beginning of April.  It is such an interesting process to judge for this contest because not only am I reading to see if the premise is intriguing and the characters engaging, etc, but I also have to take tons of notes as I read so that when I go back to do my review, I can cite each piece of information that I use to discuss the work.

While I have a lot of fun reading each new story (it's so fun to just read a book with NO prior knowledge of its content sometimes), the critical skills necessary to reading for this specific contest can become fatiguing.  It's absolutely rewarding at the end, though, like when I found out that one of the books that I read and pushed forward last year (Regina Sirois' On Little Wings) actually went on to WIN the category. I CANNOT wait to see that book resting on my Library's book shelves this summer.

This year I decided to tackle my largest manuscript first and though I cannot tell you about what I'm reading at this point, I will say that it's an interesting story with genetic mutations and an alien presence. Currently I'm speculating about how the main characters will save the world...

I'll try to keep you posted...

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