It’s No Contest

I keep reading and hearing that as an aspiring writer I should enter contests. This seemed to me not unlike buying a lottery ticket. Contests are subjective and while writers are judged on skill and technique, surely there’s a lot of luck that comes into play as well. But the advice kept on coming. So I entered.

Genesis through American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Frasier through My Book Therapy to be specific. I didn’t place in either contest, but here’s the fantastic part. I got feedback. Really, really good feedback. And much of it positive, so while I didn’t place I was greatly encouraged. I have a tendency to start slow and offer too much back story, but I consistently win points for dialogue and characters. Hey, I can work with that!

And now I’ve taken that feedback and reshaped my manuscript into something better, more immediate and more powerful. A year ago I had a finished manuscript that I was sure someone would be only too glad to print. I shudder to think. Now I have a manuscript that’s 15,000 words (most of them back story!) shorter. And I think maybe someone–an agent, an editor–will want to work with me on it until it’s ready for print.

I’m going to a conference in July. I have some more work to do between now and then, but I feel SO much better prepared than when I began this journey. I can hardly wait!

Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

2 thoughts on “It’s No Contest

  1. cynthiaherron

    Ahh, the lovely backstory! I do love it so! Some authors can pull this off quite well, but I think the general consensus is less is more.

    Sarah, you’re definitely on the right track. It shows true maturity (aka growth) when, as writers, we develop a new eye for this in our own work. Keep on keepin’ on! 🙂

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