I managed to write for at least 3.5 hours yesterday. Well, writing is probably not the “right” word. What I did was start labeling my scenes in Scrivener. Oh yeah. That’s a lot of fun (I did promise not to whine after having to do housework–this is me actively trying not to whine).
Any rate, why am I doing this? The first reason is I have a workshop to attend at Georgia Romance Writer’s of America in Atlanta where I have to bring in different scene elements for critique and, yes, CPR. I know that Mary Buckham and Diana Love will apply major life saving techniques to my work because I have attended their BREAK INTO FICTION workshop and they are amazing teachers.
Note: If you see a workshop with their names as leaders, run, don’t walk to the class. Their energy and enthusiasm and genuine desire to see YOU get to your publishing goal is outstanding. The cost, if any exists, is worth the price.
Here’s what I am bringing to this workshop: four bits of my current WIP in Revision scenes, primarily from the first 50 pages (the set up in Act 1). Why? Because if I can hammer out problems in the first 50 pages I will know what to do with the last 250 pages (give or take). And what does the first 50 pages bring to me? Oh yeah, do you see where this is going? Yes, three stars if you get this right.
Did you guess contest entries? You’re right. Did you guess partial? Right again? Did you guess framework for synopsis? Yup.
A lot of talk and bandying about lately regarding the Golden Heart scores amongst those of us who didn’t final and what I want to talk about is getting ready for the next contest. You see, I never entered the GH to final. I entered it to get a partial and synopsis ready. I don’t care about my scores because they are meaningless to me. Why? Because I know that a person with a 3 book deal didn’t final and got a 2 and a 9 on her tally. She was upset. Why? She’s published. Who cares about the scores? They don’t even matter if you DID FINAL. I know a finalist who got a 4.5 on her finaling manuscript (you can read about it on ROMANCE MAGICIANS blog) and she never won a Golden Heart but she’s a NYT bestseller two years later and has a contract with Harlequin Presents!
But will knowing the scores don’t matter and knowing that to final in the contest stop me from entering? Heck no! I want to play that roulette wheel and see if the magic combination of cool story and 5 judges who connect with it occurs. Talk about a JACKPOT! And I want to get the ball rolling that direction NOW. Because I am not going to be putting this puppy together in November again. No way. I want both my entries out the door, both with new titles and one in a new category, no later than October 31, 2010. It is NEVER too early to start preparing. You never know what curve balls life will throw at you.
So there you have it. I am mining my workshop mentors for serious CPR on my current WIP because I want to have 50 solid pages to enter in the GH (I’m entering two MS’s again). I also want to have 30 solid pages and a new direction for my synopsis by the end of May. Why? The MAGGIES. I entered them. Now that’s a tough contest to final in. I managed to do so once. I was thrilled. I got a lot of amazing feedback from the authors who judged my entry. I also got a lot of amazing feedback the year before on the same book (earlier version) and I utilized almost 95% of their suggestions.
Do you see where I am going with this? Oh yeah. The GRWA MAGGIE contest is, in my honest opinion and based on experience, one of the TOP contests to enter both for feedback and prestige. And when you enter, if you don’t win or final or whatever, PAY HEED TO THE AUTHOR’S WORDS. They spend a lot of time critiquing your unpublished MS. They want to see you get published. They KNOW what sells. Their intentions are for good.
Note: If you have never entered the MAGGIES, get to the GRWA website NOW and enter. This will force you to write a partial and synopsis that will be judged by PUBLISHED authors. Their advice will help you. This is money well spent!
Now, yesterday I didn’t pull together my scenes. I was still a bit in brainstorm mode about a cool idea I have for the current WIP and I also wanted to label my scenes in Scrivener because I need to see which ones will work in the new revision, where they really belong according to the tried and true Acts of story structure, and hunt for my pivotal plot points and where they might fall. I’m about half way through the process. As I went through the first half, I wrote a bit, made annotations thanks to my friend Gwen’s wonderful Scrivener Tech Tuesday blog, and shifted some stuff around. Not much more than that.
Note: If you have a Mac, I highly recommend the SCRIVENER program for your writing needs. You will LOVE IT. Trust me. And it’s cheap, too. Something we poor and struggling writers need to hear.
So that’s what I’ll be doing most of today (when I’m not running around with my Mom Hat on and getting forms signed for my DD’s upcoming trip–I loathe errands–I am transferring all future whining to boring household duties and diets).
What contests have you entered? Why? Are you going to enter the Golden Heart again? How do you feel about getting started on the next big contest? Are you preparing for the RWA National Conference? It’s in July. We have 3 months now to get a partial, query, synopsis and pitches ready for the conference. Now is the tine to get focused! These contests aren’t about winning. Yeah, winning is nice. But what’s more important is they force YOU, the writer, to get BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keys) and to get serious about your writing.