Monday, September 19, 2011

Contests and Deadlines Oh My!

I love writing contests. They force me to sit in the chair and get the job done. I've entered two different contests to push my *shiny* in front of the computer and get my manuscripts polished.

Four manuscripts are entered in the prestigious Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest. I'm polishing two of them and fine tuning the other two. I entered the Linda Howard Award of Excellence because Southern Magic is committed to excellence in first round and final round judging. I expect solid feedback and fairness from this contest that I can use to fine tune my WIPs for future submissions. I believe there is still time to enter the contest. If you're on the fence or worried about the costs, offer to judge the contest and get a $5 discount on your entry!!

I'm also officially entered in the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. I haven't submitted my entry because I'm still polishing my chapter, but I've got the blurbs ready and a short one posted on the Mills & Boon Website. I'm super excited about the story. Last year I entered the contest with another story and I had so much fun. Even though I didn't win the Mills & Boon contest in 2010, I ended up writing a brand new story and it's placed 2nd in the 2011 FAB FIVE contest and has been requested. So I feel like I won by entering the contest.

This is why I enter contests folks. Yes, it's great to win or to final, but the reason I enter is to discover a new story, give myself deadlines, force myself to sit in the chair and see if my new ideas are going in the right direction.

But I am also careful about which contests I enter. There are some that don't match my writing style. Others may not have judges in the final round who fit my targeted line. Or I may have had a bad experience with the contest and have decided to put my money somewhere else. I usually enter 5-6 contests a year. I keep track of the finals/wins/placing and whether or not the final judge requested my material as a result of the contest. My spreadsheet helps me determine where to put my contest money.

For fun I am going to keep you posted on the Mills & Boon contest with little additional blurbs and bits of the story.

Here is my Mills & Boon short blurb for THE MAVERICK'S RED HOT REUNION:

Maverick Zach Tanner returns home to rebuild his dying friend’s resort, but he doesn't count on the woman he once loved to handle the construction contract. Now he's determined to satisfy his craving for Kennedy Gibson without losing his heart.

Here is my longer version which gives a bigger picture about the story:

Corporate Maverick Zach Tanner returns to North Carolina to rebuild his dying friend’s resort. He’s got the money, the power and the will to transform Sweetbriar Springs into a premier spa for the glamorous, but he doesn’t count on the woman he once loved and lost to handle the construction contract. 

Construction company owner Kennedy Gibson is eager to bring her best friend’s last wish to life, but when she realizes Zach is her new boss she’s terrified he’ll learn the truth about their breakup. She denies the attraction sizzling between them and works with the one man she vowed never to hurt again. 

Zach thought he’d buried his desire for Kennedy five years ago, but he’s still drawn to her. He’s determined to seduce her and satisfy his craving for her until the project is completed to get Kennedy out of his system. 

Kennedy yields to Zach but protects her heart. When their friend dies, the barriers to their emotional union drop and they turn to each other for comfort. But Kennedy’s secret threatens to destroy their red hot reunion. Only the power of love can heal the wounds of their past and give them the future they deserve. 

I love the longer version, but the trick to writing and submitting is to learn how to carve away the words to get to the heart of the story. I'll use both these versions to create different elements for my new story. I can build a synopsis out of version 2. I can build a query letter out of the 1st and 2nd versions. I can build a story out of a sentence if necessary.

This is why I write. I write to discover stories about two lost people who find each other and discover home. Love matters. Romance isn't dead. And I love Romance!

Do you enter contests? If not, what's holding you back? Tell me why you love or don't love contests.


Gail Hart said...

Christine - The longer blurb sounds intriguing. Good luck in the New Voices contest!

Christine said...

Thanks Gail. I wish there was room for it in the blurb section on the website, but the smaller blurb works. Someone did say she was concerned about the "dying friend" part, but you know what? It'll be a great story and it'll draw attention to a disease that deserves attention.


Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

I'd read it. :D Good luck with your submissions, Christine!

Christine said...

Thanks Carol. I appreciate the support. I'm gathering my nuts and squirreling away my thoughts about the story while I revise my current WIP.

So much work to do!!


Jen Daiker said...

So many fabulous things happening over here!!! I'm new to your blog but already loving it! Following now and excited to see future posts!

Lexi said...

Awesome blurb, Christine! Your story sounds like a winner. As you know from our conversation a few weeks ago, contests are a mixed bag, IMO. You are smart to keep track of them and put your money where you get the most return! Keep me posted on how you do.

Christine said...

Hi Jen: Thanks so much for following me :-) Glad you're excited. I am on a roll!


Christine said...

Hi Lexi: Thanks for visiting the Veranda. I'm so excited about the contest and the journey. Glad you like the story idea. I do, too. I have a special reason to write this story. One that draws attention to a disease that is dear and close to my heart!


Katherine Bone said...

Good luck, Christine! You know I've already put my entry in the New Voices mix. I can honestly say, it's not so bad having the world look at it, but then again not many people have read it as of now.

Your entry is going to rock! Keep moving ahead with your eye on the prize. ;)

Wishing you lots of luck with all your contest submissions!