You know those contests where you post the first 250 words of your manuscript or maybe just the first paragraph or first sentence, so that fellow writers or sometimes even agents read/comment? Yeah, well, I'm done with them. One million percent done with them. And it's not for reasons you'd think.
No, I don't care that I don't win. I swear on chocolate, and I love chocolate.
No, I don't care that some of the people who comment on other people's writing are mean. I can take it because I don't know who they are. Now, if it were, let's say, my mother or my husband writing such insulting/stupid/clueless/rude things, well, I'd care. But, I don't know those people, so I can take it. Would I like it better if they gushed? Sure. Gushing is better.
My ah-ha moment came after entering the Secret Agent contest over at Miss Snark's First Victim - I'm post 13. Authoress, the writer who runs that blog, is a true writing warrior. My snit is in no way directed towards her. I can not wrap my brain around the amount of time she dedicates to her blog and all of its contests, advice posts, etc...
The Contest in a Nutshell:
- Writers post the first 250 words of their books to see if readers are hooked, or the tension is tight, or the dialogue is authentic, etc... This contest was the Are You Hooked one.
- Fellow writers post critique comments
- An actual, living, breathing agent, whose identity remains unknown until the end of the contest, also reads each and every submission & posts a comment
- The secret agent then chooses his/her favorite submission and a prize of some sort is awarded - like a manuscript review or a query letter critique, etc...
(can you see how much time this would take for Authoress to organize and run??? mind blowing)
My Ah-ha/Maybe These Contests Ain't For Me, moment:
While some books are packed with suspense from sentence one, others take a page or three to sprinkle in some foreshadowing nuggets, leaving the true suspense time to fester like an in-grown hair (that one was for you J) building up to explode over and over again throughout future pages in the book. Call it opinion, call it a matter of taste, call it individuality, call it style.
If every single book started out a break-neck speed...how boring would that be??? Gone would be the rich choices readers have at the bookstore now. You see, I wholeheartedly disagree with the kookie philosophy of blanketed, instant intensity in books. Which means I wholeheartedly disagree with the 29 comments on my first 250 words, minus my own comment of course. The comments that really drive me insane are the ones where the critic complains about something they'd never complain about if the whole manuscript was read (which I KNOW is impossible in that setting). BTW, I have never commented on my own writing submission before but I could not hold myself back.
No more contests for me. I'm done. I'm out. I'll stick to writing my books & trying my damndest to land the ever-elusive, oh-so-desired literary agent.
78 queries sent to date
6 requests - all still out
P.S. Only 13 more days until the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC. I can NOT wait!!!!!!