Bloggers note: I originally published this post for the #p2p16 March contest. I have since updated with information for the #p2p16 October contest.
We’re just a few days away from the #p2p16 contest (to be held on October 22, 2016). So what it’s like once you’ve mustered up the courage to hit “Send” on your entry? Think about it this way: Have you ever played pin the tail on the donkey…with a live donkey…while being blindfolded in a dark room as people shout out tantalizing hints about how close you are? It’s exactly like that.
You just sent your query letter and first five pages to the esteemed contest editors. Now they’re going to review your work (and a hundred other people’s entries) and one of these editors may pick you to mentor for an entire month (for free)! So yeah, there’s a lot of anxious waiting and excitement.
The editors also have this deliciously tantalizing habit of teasing us poor entrants with hints about the queries they are shortlisting.
Trust me, if you enter this contest you will be reading every tweet that comes across the hashtag. You’ll be instantly convinced the editor is talking about your entry. They have to be! After all, what other entry could possibly be a YA Paranormal Romance with vampires and a strong female protagonist! That’s gotta be my entry she just shortlisted!! Right?
It’s terrible, but it’s fun at the same time. It’s also educational. Because sometimes we may recognize our entry (or something that looks just like our entry) and the editor will let us know why they passed. That can be tough feedback…but at least it’s feedback. And as writers, we live for honest feedback.
I couldn’t resist, so I went back and plucked out a few of the tweets editors sent out during last summer’s contest. As you can see they’re deviously non-committal
Actual examples of teaser tweets during the last P2P contest
(and the strange thoughts that ran through my head when I read them):
Editor tweet: YA Para – really clear voice, nice writing style plus interesting premise makes the shortlist.
What I was thinking: That’s me! I write in a clear voice and my premise is completely interesting! I’m being shortlisted!!…oh wait. I don’t write YA.
Editor tweet: Queries 27 & 28 both got a “Mayyybe?” reaction. Adult + MG fantasy. Unsure if either connects fully–some pacing issues.
What I was thinking: That’s me! I’m a “Maybe”!! I mean I write MG Fantasy and I totally have pacing issues…oh wait. That’s not a good thing is it.
Editor tweet: Query #21: Most promising MG fantasy so far!
What I was thinking: That’s me! I mean who else could possibly have a promising MG fantasy? She said I’m promising! ***swoons*** It’s me! It’s really me!! Oh wait…this tweet came out before I submitted my entry.
Editor tweet: Q10: Steampunk!!! Alt hist!!! Love the two plots and how they will work tgthr. I’m into this one. REQ! Yep
What I was thinking: That’s me! Two plots that work together is a perfect description of my story. And the editor even likes steamy punks. Which I guess could be one of my characters. Oh wait…I looked up what Steampunk really means. Never mind.
Editor tweet: One entry went from a maybe to #1 because it made me laugh and then gave me literal goosebumps.
What I was thinking: That’s me! My story is a riot, right before it scares the bee-jesus outta you! Yes, I’m totally getting picked! I’m number 1! Oh wait…I didn’t even submit to this editor.
Bonus: Actually, one of these tweets really was about my entry…care to guess which one?
Yeah, it’s all enough to drive you crazy. But as insane as it sounds, in some ways it brings the contestants closer together. We’re all stumbling around in that dark room, looking to pin the tail on that crazy donkey that won’t stand still, as the editors shout out encouragement. And believe it or not, as contestants we really start to pull for each other.
It’s a shared feeling of anxiety, anxiousness, excitement and yes…helplessness. But I’ve met some incredible people through P2P and if you participate, you will too.
Best of luck to all the P2P contestants this year.