Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The GM&C of Writing Contests

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m entering my first contest in just over a year. With some fear and trepidation I admit. So, I went back to Deb Hale’s website and reread her article on contests - The GM&C of Writing Contests. As always, she doles out a lot of good advice. And made me think about WHY I’m sending out those first 30 pages next week.

First, is to get feedback. And yes, I know I won’t agree with all of it, but as my story is set in a less than popular time period, I’m curious about how those outside my critique group will react.

Second, of course, is that I hope to final. Yes, it would be good for the ego, but the main reason I want to at least get to that last round is the judge for my category is with a house to which I’d love to sell my book.

So, there’s my motivation. But what about goals, you ask? Hmm. I have to think about that a little more. Mostly, I would say, my goal is to get my work out there among a more varied group of readers. And learn from the feedback. Well, ok, yes, I’d love for my hero to receive a nomination as well – the contest I’m entering has a separate category for best hero. And I think my hero is just yummy enough to win .

Conflict. Yep – I’m prepared for the “dreaded Cs” Deb mentions. Prepared enough to accept that I’ll receive both positive and negative comments. And honest enough to admit that some of them likely will hurt. But having survived six years of university where professors weren’t known for pulling punches when marking and commenting on essays, I have fairly tough skin. Not impenetrable, but it does deflect a fair amount.

And there’s not doubt that meeting the contest deadline is good practice. I’m fully confident I will do so – the entry is pretty much ready, just waiting for some critique. And I have a couple of changes to make as a result of listening to a workshop by Barbara Keiler yesterday (a tape from the ‘96 National Conference).

On the flip side, I have to go over the GH entries I’m judging one more time, then send the marks off to the National office. This is my second year as a judge and I have to admit, it’s a challenge – but a welcome one. I’ve learned a lot from reading and thinking about the partials I received. Scoring is always difficult – both those to which I give lower end marks and those I love and want to score high. Without being able to give feedback, it’s more tricky, knowing that the authors have to try to interpret just from a single mark.

Well – that’s it for me today. I’m actually writing this while at the office, composing it in Word for uploading once the modem line is free. My husband and I share the one line (we run a small company together), so I have to wait my turn!!


No comments: