Monday, November 21, 2011

First Contest

Good morning. Okay, so I ran off to my computer to look up RWA and discovered a wonderful world of other romance authors. Who knew there were so many of us out there? And just as quickly, I also discovered RWA writers contests. So I picked out one and entered. When the scores came back, they confirmed what the editors (and now agents, too!) were saying. My book was no where near ready for publication. I had so much to learn.

Here are some of the judge P-9's comments:

Opening is good
Premise is diluted with too much thinking about background.
Needs tightening
I could get excited when it focuses!  
(Score 23/40 points)

Judge U-7 said this:

I did not get hooked until page 5 when the rifle shot is heard
Both characters were very well described
Point of view is sometimes confusing
(Score 26/40 points)

Though I'm sure I grumbled a bit during this time, I knew if I was serious about writing as a career, I needed to keep going forward. I consider this book a first try in the learning process. So Catherine's Choice went into a file and I moved on.

**By the way, while going through my rejection letters, I realized I've been literally rejected by almost everyone in publishing at one time or another! More rejection letters to come!


  1. Cheryl,

    LOL. Loved your post. I've either gotten high or low scores, nothing in between. For the same contest I've received. "Just needs polishing" to "needs to take classes."

  2. I went through the same thing with my first romance novel, a Civil War time travel. Those contests really helped me shape up the story and I ultimately found a publisher. The best part was, a year after publication, the book was a finalist in a published book contest. I really believe those RWA chapter contests are worth the time and expense if you're serious about publishing your stories.

  3. Thanks Ella. I did final in several contests over the years, but not with that first sold book. I agree that contests can be both valuable, and frustrating. It's hard to know what the comment mean sometimes!

  4. Hi Susan,

    I think contests(and workshops)really helped me too. It can be a long haul to publication. Anything that teaches is a good thing. Thanks for posting!

  5. Those judges comments can be interesting, can't they? It's good of you to share your journey. :)

  6. Thanks Gillian!

    I hope my journey would shows how I've made mistakes, gotten kicked in the teeth, and kept going. Stumbles are part of writing!