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Judy Copek

An information systems nerd for twenty-plus years, Judith is a survivor of Dilbert-like re-engineering projects, 3:00 a.m. computer crashes and the Millennium Bug. In her writing, she likes to put a literary spin on technology. When she’s not gardening, travelling or puttering about the kitchen, she’s researching her next novel at Burning Man or in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Judith is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and New England Pen. She has published poems, short stories and memoir as well as two novels, The Shadow Warriors and World of Mirrors.

Story: I Was A Catfish for the DEA


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?
A man with a gun comes through the door. The idea is to have something surprising (but foreshadowed) happen. You can go back and foreshadow it after the fact.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
No outline--that would spoil the fun, but I know the beginning, a few big scenes in the middle, and the end. I have a setting and characters which I develop in the writing process.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I rely on my writing group to keep my story in focus. That being said, sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling for your vision of the story. Until the final galley proofs are returned, the author can always revise.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
No, my story is fine. It went through many revisions and iterations.



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Nice reading.


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Funny Fish! From his first run-in with a shark (May Day! May Day!) to a very scary incident with a six-foot sea snake, to a heroic deep sea rescue of women and children from AK47-toting pirates, this nerdy James Bond robo-fish is a delight. No spoiler here, but I loved the surprise ending.


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At last--A STORY! So many of these things in the contest do not meet the criteria for "story." This one has character arc (development) and the character makes a choice and takes action to change his situation. It's a novel idea to have the story from the POV of an AI/robotic fish, and the setting is interesting. Lots of techie details for those who like them. Good motivation and a promising ending with hope that our character can now live his own self-directed life with free will. As I said--that is a STORY, when we have a character who starts out kind of clueless but who knows there's a problem, and through his own efforts and struggles he reaches a decision and goes through with it to become free. Bravo. Bravo!

Book lover

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Good story! Kind of a strange story but good. I am still trying to grasp the whole idea of a story being from a robotic fishes point of view.

M.J. Milner

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This IS a great story! I love this voice- you had me at "slippery as snot on a marble." Because we are competing I'm giving you 4 out of 5- please don't hate me for being conflicted!

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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. [...]
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!