Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Public Lessons

Ah, the Mills & Boon New Voices competition is over and no, I am not a finalist in the Top Ten. But I feel like a winner just the same. Why? Because I put myself out there and no one came out and said,
"Yuck, your writing stinks and you should take up knitting." Yay! I also got some fabulous feedback from non-writers who had never read my work, but who knew me as just their neighbor or their friend. For many of them, this was the first time they'd read anything I had written.

The best thing I heard? "I can't stop thinking about the characters. I can't get them out of my head."

Mission accomplished.

I learned that while my story might not be the story the M&B editors and judges wanted to move forward, that my characters resonated with my readers (at least the ones who stopped by to comment or to talk to me in person). I'm glad. I am heading in the right direction. If I can create characters that jump off the page then it is only a matter of connecting them to the story that resonates with an editor and/or an agent. Both, really.

Other lessons learned by entering this competition?

*I can put  my work out there and the sky won't fall on my head.
*I can juggle multiple projects at a time.
*I can put my name out there and promote my work.
*I can be encouraging to strangers who have the same dream.
*RWA and all the local chapters I belong to are golden in their ongoing professional support.
*My critique partners and writing friends rock in their support.
*I am not alone and many of the writers who did post their work do not have my kind of support.
*I have control over three aspects of writing: writing my stories, querying, & learning craft.
*I can write and revise very fast when the pressure is on.
*I can balance the various aspects of the writing business based on my appetizer of the experience.

I am glad I entered this competition. I will continue to pursue publication through all the avenues available to me in this business. I can't control WHEN I will connect all the dots and the stars align, but I can believe in the power of my dream.

Thanks to everyone who supported me. Be sure to check out the web site for the Top Ten. Read them. Have fun. I'll post the winner here when she/he is announced!


Justine Dell said...

That is the best quote, ever. It's always nice when some says they like your work. It makes you feel legit, doesn't it? ;-)

Is this the first contest you've entered?


Christine said...

Hi Justine:

No this isn't the first contest I've entered, but it is the first public one I've entered where anonymous people the world over could comment on my work. And rate it! Publicly. Scary stuff.

I'm kind of a contest junkie. I've finaled in the 2008 Touch of Magic, the 2009 Maggies, and I'm a double finalist in the Emerald City Opener contest.

I like entering contests because they give me deadlines and an opportunity to sit on an editor/agent desk should I final.

I need to become a querying junkie now.

Cheri LaClaire said...

I loved your 'lessons learned.'

Christine said...

Thanks Cheri! And now? Back to the drawing board. Or should I say "writing board?"