NaNo Smackdown Scores a Knockout


Did you NaNo in November?

Did you get a publishing contract for the story you wrote during NaNo?

If not, you should have taken part in the Entangled Smackdown, held in conjunction with the Savvy Authors NaNo Boot Camp! First prize for one lucky member of the winning team in the lively competition was a book contract with Entangled Publishing.

Now it is my pleasure to announce the winner of the first annual Entangled NaNo Smackdown!

But wait! The thing is, I was so blown away by the caliber of writing that our twenty-two Entangled Suspense team members produced, that I decided not to award one publishing contract.

I’m awarding four contracts!

Wow! Unprecedented! Every single manuscript produced by our team during the Smackdown was great. Several were simply amazing. How could I choose just one?  In addition, I’m requesting fulls on seven other manuscripts that weren’t quite finished during NaNo, and I fully expect to acquire at least half of those when completed. They were that good!

The four winning stories range from a tight-paced thriller, to a classic murder mystery, to a quirky woman-in-jeopardy suspense, to an international special ops adventure. They nicely illustrate the wide diversity of storylines that Entangled Suspense is looking for in our submissions.


So, what the heck is the Entangled Smackdown, you ask?

Well, twice a year, Savvy Authors hosts a 50,000 word, 30 day Boot Camp, including during NaNo—National Novel Writing Month. This November was the first time Entangled Publishing hosted a pre-NaNo week of Basic Training, and we thought it would be a fun idea to offer a guaranteed publishing contract to someone from the winning imprint as an added team incentive. The event was a rousing success, with twenty-eight teams made up of 131 recruits who signed up to work on manuscripts targeting seven different Entangled lines.

During Basic Training week, eighteen Entangled editorial directors, managing editors, and editors from seven different Entangled lines mentored recruits by giving focused guidance on what their lines are looking for, as well as specific advice on participants’ individual plots. We continued to cheer on participants through the month of NaNo.

The goal for the competition? Simple. For your team to write the most words during the month of November and win the publishing contract for one of your members. By the end of NaNo, altogether our recruits had written over five million words. An incredible accomplishment!

My imprint, Entangled Suspense, had twenty-one recruits on our team, who were divided into four smaller teams to whip up the competitive fervor in true smackdown tradition. In Basic Training, I encouraged participants to turn in a beat sheet as well as a log line for their stories, then I went through them in detail, helping the writers map out and strengthen GMC, structure, and compelling elements in their plots. I am firmly convinced those intensive Basic Training exercises are why the Suspense team won the overall competition, writing the most words during NaNo. I’m all for writing by the seat of your pants if that’s your creative process, but if you have a roadmap to guide you, even a skeletal one, with conflicts and motivations hammered out ahead of time, you’ll write a lot faster with a better outcome. I think the quality of the manuscripts and number of words produced by our team definitely proves that.

I’m absolutely thrilled with the results of the Entangled Smackdown. It was a terrific opportunity for us to find some outstanding new talent for the Entangled Suspense imprint, and was an unmatched opportunity for unpublished writers to put themselves in front of an editor—with some great results for both. It was a win-win for sure.


And speaking of winners…

Without further ado, here (in random order) are the winning manuscripts from the 2012 Entangled Publishing NaNo Smackdown:

Out of Darkness by Cathy Morrison

So, About the Money by Cathy Perkins

Dangerous Loyalties by Tracy M Hopkins (w/s Teri Anne Stanley)

Personal Assistance by Louise Rose-Innes


Next year, I hope to see your manuscript on that list!  Meanwhile, good writing!

 ~Nina Bruhns

Editorial Director, Entangled Suspense

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1 Reply on NaNo Smackdown Scores a Knockout

  • Congratulations to:
    Out of Darkness by Cathy Morrison
    So, About the Money by Cathy Perkins
    Dangerous Loyalties by Tracy M Hopkins (w/s Teri Anne Stanley)
    Personal Assistance by Louise Rose-Innes

    I was a Brazen team member and thorougly enjoyed Basic Training and working with the Blaze editors. The coaching and mentoring was invaluable. Learning how to write a one page synopsis was great.

    I recieved my 20-page critique from Sue and Tahra this morning and am working diligently on making changes as per their suggestions. Their insight and comments were straight forward and to the point, with a much appreciated summary at the end.

    Has a date been set for the next Boot Camp? I will definitely be signing up for that one, too!

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