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Harlen Bayha writing contest
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Harlen Bayha

I was born. I nearly died of the flu a couple of times. Freaked my parents out some. Went to school, learned to read, hid under the covers with a flashlight and a book. Got an Apple IIe as my first computer, and started writing stories on it way back then. Sixty-four kilobytes of memory and real floppy floppy discs, baby. I got knocked off my bike or skateboard a few times trying to get home after junior high. That hurt. Then I got a car and nearly killed myself a few more times. I can vouch for the safety of the Volvo brand. Wouldn't be here without it. I started writing my first novel in high school. Finally finished it last month, about 20 years later. Don't judge. Now, I'm a Motivational Technologist, and people may laugh at the title, but they still use it every chance they get. I like that. And I'm healthy, happy, and have a great family. What I want now is to entertain people with stories. Let's do it. Under the covers, with a flashlight, baby. Read me. Read me all over.

Story: Gandalay Marketing


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?
Free-write. The technique is simple -- for 15 minutes, type or write anything. Never go back to correct anything. Do not stop. Keep going. Just write, don't judge. Do this every day for a month, and see what happens.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
For fiction, I've done both. I prefer jumping in, because I usually have no idea where a story will take me. With my novels, I need to make an outline (which I promptly ignore). The exercise helps me formulate the plot, key events, and conflicts.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
If one person says it, it's their opinion, and peace out. If many people say it, it's important, so I take it to heart.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
I believe creators need to let a work of art go after a certain point. I reached that, and now I would not change it--not because it's perfect, but because I want to direct my energy toward my next story.


Frances Macaulay Forde

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Yes, an excellent piece of writing. Well done. Not my genre but very well executed (no pun intended) with strong characters and sense of place as well as depth with the drama arising out of the locations and props. Good stuff!

Rebekah Loved

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I was immediately connected with the main character and could form a clear picture of the futuristic world without being bombarded with unnecessary information. It kept the suspense untill the very end. I'm left wanting more of the writers fantastic mind. This is a story well written. Nice Job.


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Wow. Mall Cop meets Daddy Day Care meets Super Sad True Love Story By Gary Shteyngart. You know, the more I read the stories in this contest, the more I realise that I haven't written anything for anyone but myself. This has mass appeal. It really does.


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Excellent story! By far the best I've read so far for this contest. Happily give it a 5 stars!
Wildcard #2
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
America's Next Author

#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!