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Elly Helcl writing contest
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Elly Helcl

Elly Helcl is a stay at home mom who lives in Blaine, Minnesota with her husband, two young daughters and three cats. When she isn’t writing you can usually find her curled up reading a book or cross-stitching. Elly first developed a passion or writing in the fourth grade when she was taught how to write haiku’s. Since then, she has branched out into writing poems and books. She has done some weird but interesting things in her lifetime. In 2008, Elly won a 200 player “Pure Bred” Texas Hold 'Em tournament and took home the $120.00 first prize and in 2009, she competed in the National Monopoly Championships where she tied for last place with ten other competitors. She hopes to compete in the Monopoly tournament in 2013 to defend her sullied honor. If you have any questions or comments she can be reached at

Story: Betrothed to a Vampire


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
The rewrite is always better than the original.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
Jump right in until I stall and then I write an outline.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I go back, reread the writing, change what I think needs to be changed, and feel confident that I have done my best.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
Yes, I would pay someone to edit it!!! I can't believe I missed the simple errors!



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This was an amazing short story. i wish it was an entire book because i just couldnt quit reading it.

Lisa Rose

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Elly, I loved your story. The opening paragraph was hilarious!(Hopefully, you meant it that way, but I have a strange sense of humor). I cheered when Danielle outsmarted her father with Doug. I did notice a couple of things in your text. the word 'dad' should be capitalized when used in place of a name. For example: "Hi, Dad." Also when one character is speaking to another character there should be a comma. You wrote: "Aww, don't ruin my fun Dougie!" Pierre giggled at him. There should be a comma after fun. But those could just be typos. Again good story. The part I liked the best? Peeking around the corner, I grimaced to find my dad draining yet another friend of their blood. No matter how man times I tried to warn them, my friends just didn't believe me when I said "my dad's a vampire'. I knew I should be heartbroken, shocked or at least sad to see my friends' body dumped unceremoniously on the floor, but I did warn her. "Dad!" I jumped through the open doorway to confront him. "You can't keep eating my friends! Someone is going to start wondering where all the 'runaways' are disappearing too!" Love that part! If you have the time please read my story 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.


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The writing is interesting and I didn't expect the surprise twist in the end.


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Worth the read! you wont regret it.


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It was awesome. Love the characters love the ending. Just awesome!


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Well done! You had me guessing until the end :-)


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I giggled a lot. Captures a teens rebellion perfectly but with fangs

Book lover

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Nice little twist in the end :)

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!