I’ve been a bit busy over the last few weeks. I admit it – I’ve been a bad blogger * head hangs in shame* ;). To make it up to the blogosphere I plan on writing two this week. This is the first, and the second will be in the next few days. Stay tuned for that second one because I have so much to say about the writing conference I went to. Oh, it was a FANTASTIC experience.
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks, but by far the most important is hearing back from the Colorado Gold Writing Contest.
Does that last sentence make you think I won, or at least qualified for something? Well, I won’t leave you hanging too long. *insert evil laugh* But first I need to explain what was at stake. The Colorado Gold Contest accepts the first twenty pages of a novel. They accept submissions in a variety of genres, but the caveat is that they must be unpublished. The prizes are: a nominal cash amount for the ultimate winner, and a guaranteed editor or agent read of entries that make it to the finals. The second part was what I was hoping for, drooling over is more like it.
Now I knew my chances were lower than some of the other submissions – Silent Witnesses is my first novel – but I wanted to enter anyways. Why you ask? Why not polish myself up a bit more and present a fully-formed writer to the world? Well, the answer is complex. My primary reason was to gather valuable feedback, but a secondary – although almost equally important – reason was that I wanted to challenge myself. I’m not always totally motivated intrinsically. I sometimes need a little outside pressure to raise my anxiety and push myself to act, sharing my novel with judges and leaving it open to their critique provided just the anxiety-inducing impetus I needed to polish up my first few chapters and press forward with my overall revisions.
So, I won’t leave you in suspense any longer – drum roll please… I didn’t win. I know you’re shocked and dismayed. The world is not the same place it was when you woke up, right? Well, it’s okay, it really is. It’s okay because I received very valuable feedback and praise. Some of the feedback the judges gave me helps me fix a logic problem through the first portion of my book. It’s something that my beta readers have previously mentioned, but that I didn’t know how to address. Finally, lightning struck as I read my critique, and so I have a solution to a niggling problem that was dragging my first chapter down. Yeah! The best part by far of the critique, though, was the praise. Both judges commented on how strong each voice is, and that’s tremendously important given that I have three 1st person POVs. Apparently I’m walking that tightrope pretty successfully.