Saturday, February 25, 2012

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012-Round Two

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

My Leap Year 2012 just got off to a good start, not only did I get my first French review of Trois autres Malaisie the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, but also my novel The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady, which was short listed for 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom Award, just made it to Round Two of  the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012.

Round One was based solely on the 300-word pitch.  There are 5000 submissions, and 80% didn’t get through.  Your pitch has to be well written and it must stand out. The good thing about this, it forces the writer to zero in on what their book is about in a way that captures the reader’s attention.  If you don’t, they won’t even bother with your novel.  This is true for agents, too (and for publishers).  Accept it, and nail that pitch!

Here’s what worked for me (268 words):

The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady
A story about lonely hearts, second chances, lost teenage love,
and the delusional, idealized love of erotomania…

         All it took was one look through a rearview mirror to convince Jonathan Brady that a well-known socialite Cabrina Chaval is still in love with him.  During Cabrina Chaval’s debut in The Magic Flute twenty-two years ago, Brady was only sixteen, too young to understand the implica­tions of that look—the way she poured out her heart, her soul to him.  Now she’s contacting him again. 
         When Cabrina Chaval invites Jonathan Brady, an economics professor, to paint her house during the summer, he convinces himself—through a series of coincidences—that she truly does love him.  Because of her prominent position in society and the fact that she’s still married, he accepts that their love must be kept secret. 
While recap­turing the innocent love between two sixteen year olds and coming to terms with the sudden loss of his domineering mother, Jonathan Brady’s delusion takes him through five distinct stages of love—from Heightened Aware­ness, to Playful Pursuit, to Courtship and Romance, to Jealousy and Suspicion, to Reconci­liation and Acceptance—all unbeknown to Cabrina Chaval.
Through a chance meeting, Cabrina Chaval begins to reconstruct Jonathan Brady’s life and, in the process, elevates his love for her to its penultimate stage—Eternal Love.
The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady (96,800 words) was named a short-list-finalist in the 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom novel contest and an earlier version, under a different title, an almost finalist in their 2008 contest.  It also placed fourth in the 2008 National Writers Association novel contest.
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*Update: The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady just advanced to the Quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012!

Compare this (if you want) to the version that got through to Round Two for their 2010 Award, though under a different title.  Minor changes here and there, except for an additional paragraph that wasn’t in the original.  Those minor changes do add up!

Here’s also the link to the pitch that made it through to Round Two in 2011, a different novel.  I have since overhauled that and re-titled it to The Mother of that Boy since the book is more about the mother than the boy.

So that’s three Round Twos in a row.  For the Second Round judging the field will be narrowed to 250 entries in each category (general fiction/young adult) by Amazon top customer reviewers from ratings of a 5,000 word excerpt (about 18-19 pages.)  The Quarter Final Results will be posted on 20 March.  That date is already circled on my calendar. It's time to move into those upper rounds...

What would truly make this Leap Year special for me is to breakthrough in even a bigger way with an agent and a two book deal.  That’s my major goal for 2012, one of the reasons I’ve cut back on blogging.  Instead I’ve now spending that time (including some overnighters) rewriting three novels and part of a fourth for both the Amazon contest and James Jones Fellowship.  Sent in four entries last night, a two-page outline and 50 pages of each, which I’ve been going over and over again the last two weeks, a culmination of a very tiring two months.

But I’m just getting warmed up.  If I’m truly going to make this year special, I have to do what it takes.  Pull out all the stops and take some serious risks.  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing the last few months.  How about you?  What are your plans for 2012?  A good confidence builder for me was listing out my top 25 achievements (which I stretched to 50) and that really got me thinking about my life and the direction that it's heading.  If you've never done that, or it's been a while, I highly recommend it.  It definitely raises your self-esteem because its proof that you have accomplished some things that you're  proud of.  (It doesn't matter what others think; these are your accomplishments.  They can list their own!)

Good luck, especially for those of you still in the running in the Amazon contest or are considering joining next year, and for everyone else, too!  Let’s make this Leap Year special for all of us!
               Borneo Expat Writer 

*Here are six lessons I learned from joining Amazon competition.

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


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sintaicharles said...


Borneo Expat Writer said...

Thanks! Let's hope it makes it to the Quarterfinals, that's when they read the entire novel. Would love to take it all the way...