Honorable Mention – My Voice

The Stroke of Midnight (SOM) contest hosted by Passionate Ink was the second contest I’d entered my work Shadow Cat. The first was the Breakthrough contest presented by Amazon, which I didn’t even make to the first round. 🙂 So, back to SOM. Yesterday was the big event—the evening Passionate Ink held their big party and announced the winners of the SOM contest. I didn’t make it down to the party; my pocketbook said no. Okay, maybe it was more on the lines of “Are you freakin’ crazy? Do you know how much a trip down there would cost? We have bills to pay! You’re a starving writer, remember?” And people wonder why I leave my purse at home most of the time.

Anyway, the results are in! I didn’t place but received an honorable mention. Bummed was a good name for what I felt. Then I hit the ‘at least’ stage.

  • At least I made it to the finalist round.
  • At least I got feedback from judges and will get feedback from an editor (Chris Keesler – Dorchester Publishing)

Then I added some ‘not bad considering’ comments for good measure. Gotta keep the ego happy, you know.

  • Not bad considering I’ve only been writing for about a year.
  • Not bad considering this was my very first complete work.
  • Not bad considering I was up against more experienced writer; some who’ve even been published in other romance genres.
  • Not bad considering Shadow Cat was not as polished when I submitted it in April (my 9th month writing) as it is now.

Then I let reality soak back in. Maybe Shadow Cat just wasn’t that great. After all, it’s received tons of rejections. Of course I’ve also received a few rejections which said with a little work, I could resubmit for reconsideration.

I love Shadow Cat and the sequels I’ve started for it. And by no means have I given up my dream to see them in print or ePrint. I have learned through this contest I still have a lot of writing experience to obtain. I’m okay with that. As I told my husband after I picked myself up, “That’s okay. Cause my current WIP is so much better!” And it is.

After much reading, I see how other writers add their voice to their works. Sometime along the lines, I think my voice got stifled by rules and the likes/dislikes of critters. I’ve rediscovered my voice. I’ve tried to put it in my draft of Shadow Cat during rewriting and editing, but it’s hard to reinvent what’s already on paper sometimes. It’s so much easier starting fresh.

Anyway! Here’s to not giving up!

How did you find your voice? How do you prevent it from being stifled?

Reuser: Now’s the Time to Lay those Ideas on Paper!

Do you ever post a comment on someone’s blog and thing, man, what a waste of a good post! Okay, I do that all the time. And here’s a recycled comment I’m stealing from myself which I left at Booksend a couple of weeks ago. Just another reminder to keep writing and don’t let the rejections get you down.

When I first starting querying, I never expected a rejection. Honestly, I thought my work was art. I only had to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in. Oh my goodness. How would I chose amongst the many agents who’d want my work?

Then I got my first rejection. My thoughts were more on the line, oh bummer. That’s odd. Oh well, they must have a full plate. No matter. That’s just one.

Then the rejections started rolling in one by one. I couldn’t believe no one in my first batch of queries wanted my work. It hit me that maybe my work wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it was. I had that moment that maybe I sucked as a writer. (haha maybe I do, for real and it’s not maybe).

Regardless, I had to make a choice. Either I’d get back in there and try again or I wouldn’t. Simple as that.

I hear the phrase “writers write” so often. Yeah it’s true. However, even you’re favorite food gets old after eating it everyday for a year. Sometimes writers need a break from the writing lifestyle. Most people don’t work 7 days a week 365 days a year. So, why is there that expectation for writers?

Take a step back and refresh. Let the excitement bubble back in you again. Then hop to it. Learn more about the industry, improve your writing style, and accept that your first work may need a bit of tweaking before sending it out again.

Start that next project. Remember all the ideas which popped into your head that you didn’t have time to write because you were focused on the now completed work. Time to put those to paper. Surely you expected to write another book eventually, right? Now’s the time.

Querying Too Soon

A big piece of advice I read on so many blogs is: Don’t query too soon.

Sound advice, if you ask me. Did I query too soon? You betcha! You dork, some might say. 🙂 So why did I do it? Honestly? Lack of knowledge. Really, there is so much advice out there…great advice! Problem is, new authors don’t always realize what they don’t know. Hey! That’s me. I know it frustrates agents; I see the blog posts all the time about some faux pas a novice writer made–a mistake I likely made over the last several months. All of them are screaming, “LISTEN, DAMN IT!” or darn it for some.

Really it’s a shame. The information is out there. Trust me! I’ve run across so much I didn’t know. And I cringe every time I pick up a new piece of information which shows I’ve flubbed again. I have so many burning bridges for Shadow Cat, I have to toss it to agents from a distance these days. Here, catch! Thankfully those bridges mend themselves when it comes to new projects. 🙂

So! You’ve queried too soon. Now what? I’ll tell you what! Do more research! Make those revisions! Write more! and get back out there and query (but hopefully not too soon). 🙂

Are you one of the naive ones who’s queried too soon? Share your story.