Posts Tagged ‘contest’
I thought I was making good progress in getting my manuscript ready for the Golden Heart competition. I’ve edited 80 pages, trying to dig deeper into the minds of my characters and getting rid of a lot of “he said, she said” tags, replacing them with action tags instead.
I’ve even succeeded in making good, ol’ dependable Brad a little less boring — at least I think I have.
So I’ve been hard at work and I thought I was getting the job done. Then I read today’s entry over at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. Now I’m not so sure.
Am I choosing vivid enough nouns and verbs, instead of relying on adjectives and adverbs? Sometimes.
Does each scene end with a hook? Well, maybe. I want to keep reading … but that may be because I know what’s coming up next.
Do my characters’ speech and interior monologues sound natural and appropriate to their backgrounds, interests, etc.? I certainly hope so, but I’ve never given it much thought.
Do their speeches take gender into account? God, no. Do men really speak in shorter sentences than women? I didn’t know that.
Do the syntax and paragraphing creatively showcase my voice and make it distinctive? Hmm. I just write and my voice shines through — I hope.
Have I used short paragraphs to speed up the pacing? Ha! I have that one covered. As a journalist, I’m used to writing shorter paragraphs.
Is my synopsis short and concise, focusing on the hero and heroine’s GMC? Short, yes. GMC? Not so much, considering the story was until recently short on that.
There’s so much to think about — more than I realized. I really do have my work cut out for me.
Got my critique back this afternoon, and I was right: The manuscript definitely needs some help.
I’m not going to lie: It was a bit unnerving to see all that “red ink” on my pages. But it was also edifying, because she said a lot of the same things I’ve been thinking.
Just the other day, I started to wonder if I spent too much of the first page and a half setting the scene … and sure enough, Shea suggested I cut the first page or so and start with more action.
She also pointed out that I need to keep the thread about the book Erin gets for her birthday going — and I’d noticed it’s not as strong a presence as I’d like.
As for Brad, she didn’t exactly call him boring … but she did point out that he’s, well, “bland” … and that’s just a nicer word for dull as dirt.
So it looks like I have my work cut out for me. Good thing I’m up for the challenge. I got an e-mail confirmation today from RWA that they’ve received my entry.
Your manuscript, Operation Snag Brad, has been entered in the Contemporary Series Romance Category of the 2010 Golden Heart Contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America, Inc. Please send six copies of the partial manuscript, six synopses, and one full manuscript to (address)
Guess I won’t be getting back to Kari and Damien anytime soon. Fixing up Brad and Erin is going to take up all my free time between now and Dec. 2. 😀
But when I’m done, it should be a much stronger — and hopefully sell-able — story.
No, I didn’t win the Golden Heart … Technically, I haven’t even submitted yet, although my check is in the mail to reserve my spot.
I did, however, win a critique of the first 15 pages of my entry from the gals over at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. (They’re the 2009 GH finalists.) That’s a photo of the Web page, blurry as it is. Trust me, it’s my name there under “Day 2 Winner.”
That’s right: I’m finally the lucky one. (I rarely win anything. When I go to the casino, the Boyfriend wins a pile of cash and I lose as much as he wins …) I was so excited to see my name listed as the winner.
Then reality set in and I started thinking, “What if she says it sucks?” I don’t have time to completely revamp the thing before the contest deadline.
I’ve been assured that we all have those moments of doubt where we think we suck (thanks, Anne Marie!). And it is better to get some feedback now, when there’s still time to improve the entry. By this time tomorrow, those first 15 pages will be in my critiquer’s capable hands.
I can’t wait to get some feedback.
This time, the check for the Golden Heart contest really is in the mail. I dropped it in the mailbox this afternoon.
As I told the Boyfriend, that means I’m really committed. I must whip Brad & Erin’s story into shape. It needs to be the best story it can be, because if I’m going to spend all that money to enter a contest, I want a chance of winning.
It’s time to get to work.