Thursday, March 15, 2012

Every Step Closer

What I'm Reading Now: City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare

As a few of you may remember, I entered a writing contest in November. I knew the work wasn't ready, but I decided to go for it anyway to gauge if I was on the right track. I got my act together, cleaned up the first 4,000 words of my novel, wrote my first synopsis, crossed my fingers, and hit submit.

Four months later and a gmail alert pops up on my desktop - results from the contest! Not really knowing what to expect, I was a little hesitant to open the judges' scoresheets. I remembered while reading the contest rules that you had to score at least a 160/200 and place in the top three of your category to be placed in front of an agent. I was just hoping I'd scored above 160.

I'd been having nightmares all week about what kinds of things the judges would say. I welcome criticism, I think know it's the only way to improve, but sometimes it's hard to hear. To my surprise, I opened the first one: 84 out of 100. She liked my voice. She really liked my premise. She had excellent feedback on stuff I could get rid of in the first chapter, and suggestions on how to clarify the character arc in the synopsis. Pretty happy with that result, I opened number two. Score: 93 out of 100 by a judge who's a published author. She loved my writing style and also thought the premise was unique. She, too, had great suggestions for where I could tighten things up, gave me three bonus points at the end because she liked it so well, and her closing comments: "Can't wait to read this on my Nook!"

I didn't place in the top three for my category, but I'm very happy with my 177, especially considering this was an 'old' version of the novel and many things have changed since then. If nothing else, the contest has boosted my confidence that I'm headed the right direction, and with a little more polishing, my little book will soon be ready for an agent's eyes.

I think I can do this...?!


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