Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Now This is a Contest April 13, 2010

Filed under: Write,Writing Contests,You Can't Do It Alone — justwritecat @ 2:27 am
Tags: , ,

Over at Sarah with a Chance (love that title), you can enter a fantabulous contest.  Check out the details on her blog  And let me offer congrats to her – her book is going to be published in 2012.  Yay for her – and yay for us, because it gives unpublished writers hope!

So, I think I have a contest/blogfest problem.  Like, maybe an addiction.  I enter one, and for a few minutes – maybe even a couple of days – the excitement and anxiousness all mingle together and fill my body with this warm, heady feeling.  And then, it goes away.  And I need another fix.  Is there some kind of support group I can join?  Maybe a five-step program (because ten or twelve steps is way too many).

No?

Damn.  Well, guess if you can’t beat an addiction…you try and justify it.  So here goes.

Entering contests and blogfests is fun and a great way to waste your time  improve your craft.  You work on a query/logline/scene and revise until it can be revised no more (on your own).  You enter.  You wait for feedback (if you’re lucky).  And then, you either a) find out what you thought was your best is not or b) find out you’re not the hack you thought you were.  I’ve been really, really fortunate.  The feedback I’ve received on recent entries has been incredible.  Helpful, yes – but the positive remarks also gave me a much-needed shot of confidence. 

And even when you enter a contest – and do not come out the winner – you don’t lose, either.  If you really worked on your entry, then your query/logline/scene is the better for it.  It’s amazing what happens when you do ‘micro-revisions’ – when you work on one scene or even part of a scene.  Every sentence, every word is scrutinized in a way not often done during larger revisions.  Yes, when doing any size revision you should pay attention to every single word – but sometimes it takes focusing on a small section of your novel to really get what that means.  To feel the pacing of your scene, the flow of your writing. 

Recent blogfests – Opening Scene, Murder Scene, Bar Scene.  Recent contests – First 250 words, logline and opening paragraph. 

Results – comments from readers that help me fine-tune each scene or make larger changes if needed.  And that logline contest?  Whew, working on loglines is hard.  But – while I didn’t win – the agent contacted me and said I’d made his top list.  He extended an offer to read my query, and if he passes – to let me know why.  Now, I consider that a win-win situation. 

Hmmm….maybe I’m not wasting my time using my time wisely after all.