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Friday, October 3, 2008

Leesburg Idol for Writers

Friday evening, I drove twenty minutes to Old Town Leesburg, one of my favorite spots to shop, visit galleries, and eat. But this night was not for food, casual conversation, or gallery hopping. This was a rare occasion; it was Leesburg Idol for writers. As I parked my car and made the walk to my destination, I didn't know what to expect. Idol for writers...this should be interesting, I thought. I took part in this great adventure and entered the beginning of my novel, Kingdom's Gateway. The requirements were a cover page with the title, genre, and logline; a query letter; and the first three pages of a novel. A logline, should you be curious, is a one to two sentence summary of your story. It should be catchy, with personality, and show-off your unique voice. Not everyone stuck to the one to two sentence logline rule, as it is often hard to write what your story is about in so few words. But as all three agents (Idol judges) pointed is a must to master the skill of the logline.

To start off, we were introduced to our three great agents of the night, Deborah Grosvenor of Kneerim and Williams Agency; and Paige Wheeler and Jeff Kleinman of Folio Literary Management. Hearts raced, faces flushed, voices cracked while each logline was read aloud to the panel of judges for their first impressions. The judges deliberated (in front of us all) as to whether the story would garner an additional reading. They would decide if the submission would go into a yes, maybe, or no pile. If your story was put into the no pile, you knew the agent would not read past your logline. If it was put in the maybe pile, the agents would look further into your query letter, and if your logline made it into the yes pile, you were in the running.

I'm happy to say my story was one of the original six to make the final round, then two more were added from the maybe pile,bringing the total finalists to eight. The beginnings of all eight stories were read to the audience (for 1.5 minutes a piece). Then the round of judging took place. The audience voted for the winners of the first Leesburg Idol. It was enlightening, educational, and a great way to network with other writers and agents. And though I did not ultimately win one of the generous prizes, I came away feeling like a winner. The evening was a success for all!

If you live in the Northern Virginia area, you should check out Northern Virginia Writers and the Writer's Center for a listing of more great upcoming events.



Brianna Caplan Sayres said...

Wow,Mary. Sounds like a really neat event!

Congrats on making it to the finals! It must have been great to get that type of feedback on your manuscript.

Mary Rand Hess said...

Thank you, Brianna!

Kelly said...

Wow! What an amazing night! Congrats on being a finalist! I bet it was great to hear part of your story read aloud to a crowd!

hessgm said...

Hi, Kelly! Yes, it was a very engaging night. There are many good writers out there, that's for sure. And it was nice to be a part of a collective group, especially since writing is usually such a solitary practice.

Thank you for the congrats and for visiting!