where the writers are
Writers helping Joplin, MO

You all know of the devastation that hit Joplin, MO. Folks are still looking for loved ones. Those who survived the storm have to figure out how to start their lives over. From scratch.

Most people have the inclination to be generous at times like this. But then they get busy, because the demands of day-to-day life are relentless. Maureen Johnson and friends decided to help guide people to donate by offering critiques and books earlier in the week. I was tied up at BEA all week, but I’m home now and it is my turn.

All you have to do to participate is to contribute at least $10 to the Red Cross. That will earn you one chance to win the FABULOUS GRAND PRIZE OF A MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE. If you contribute $50, you have five chances! If you contribute $1,000, your name goes in the hat one hundred times!!! (I figured that anyone wealthy enough to win a traditional auction has enough cash to pay a freelance editor for critique help. This is my way of leveling the playing field.)

If you win my contest, I will critique YOUR manuscript (yes, I am looking at you). I will read the entire thing or the first 400 pages (whichever comes first) and I will send you a letter with my thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of the story. Interested? Keep reading. (I’ve included alternate instructions for people who do not live in the United States.)

THE AUCTION THAT IS NOT QUITE AN AUCTION… BUT SORT OF IS…

1. Donate at least $10 to the American Red Cross, via the Ozark chapter website. At the bottom of the page, click the red DONATE button.

2. On the next page, click the button that says “Disaster Relief for Countless Crises (e.g. Tornadoes, Spring Floods, Wildfires, etc.)”

3. On the next page, click MAKE A TRIBUTE GIFT.

4. Page after that, click E-Card.

5. Page after that, fill out your personal and credit card info. At the bottom of the page, where it says “Tribute Gift Information,” click “Yes, I would like to send an eCard.”

SUPER-IMPORTANT!!! 6. Select an E-card. (I don’t care which one. It’s not really “in honor” or “in memory” of me, but this is your way of proving you made the donation.) Send the e-card to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com. E-card Subject can be “Writers for Joplin.” MAKE SURE YOU INDICATE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE DONATED!!

7. Complete the donation process, THEN send me a tweet or message on my Facebook page or comment to this blog letting me know how much you donated. (I hope this will encourage lots of people to join in.)

8. Contest will run until midnight, Eastern Standard Time, Monday, May 30, 2011.

9. Winner’s name will be drawn at random. For every ten dollars donated, winner will have one chance in the drawing. Winners will be notified by email. I make no promises or guarantees that my critique will get you published. Also, I can’t promise to show it to my editor or agent. But I will give you honest, constructive comments about your story.

10. In addition, I will give away at least five of my books to Almost-Winners, whose names will also be drawn at random. (If you are an author or an illustrator and you want to donate a book to the pile of loot, let me know!)

IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU CAN STILL PLAY! You can donate through the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, choose which of their projects you want to support, and send an email to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com with the details of your donation.

I got the ball rolling by donating $500. (I promise not to put my own name in the hat for a critique!) Now it’s your turn!!


(PhotoCredit: AP/Mike Gullett)