…or So You Think You Can Write madness
So, I think I can write better than last year. Why yes, I do think so. Let me tell you why. I’ve been badly neglecting this blog lately, in favour of more writerly writing pursuits. I’ve set myself some serious goals this year, to pursue creative writing like someone has lit a rocket under me, and managed to take-off rather than just burn my butt.
Over the past nine months or so, I’ve been writing a romance novel manuscript in between attending writing workshops, the Romance Writers of Australia conference (which was an amazing experience), reading all the romance novels I can and basically learning how to write romance or popular fiction. Of course I’m also juggling my day job as a corporate communications advisor and my family life as a mother of two small ninjas…um, boys. And I’m loving every minute of it.
Just over a year has passed since I first seriously attempted to write a romance novel. At that stage, it had been a long time since I’d written fiction (not counting some media releases concocted during my PR days). As I tend to do, I decided to learn by doing and jumped in with both feet, entering the global So You Think You Can Write contest run by Harlequin/Mills & Boon.
Long story short, I didn’t progress to the finals of the contest, but I did complete a full manuscript, learned how to write a pitch and synopsis, read lots of entries by other romance writers…and I was hooked. I booked myself into some workshops to learn more about plot and structure, point of view (POV) and dialogue, joined my local writing organisations and found some online writing friends.
Then, I wrote, and wrote. In just over a year, I’ve completed two manuscripts and I have another partial sitting there, waiting for some love and attention. I entered some more contests, and guess what? I think I’ve learned some things. The feedback I have received has been getting better each time and I even made the finals of the First Kiss contest in April 2014.
Recently, I submitted manuscripts to a couple of publishers and agents *bites nails* and I just need to wait and see how that pans out.
What goes around, comes around
Now, it’s So You Think You Can Write time again. I decided to enter after seriously weighing up the pros and cons:
- So You Think You Can Write is an awesomely fun contest
- The first place prize is the opportunity to be published by Harlequin, the biggest publisher of women’s fiction in the world – what writer wouldn’t squee at that?
- 50 editors are looking at writers’ submissions
- There’s the opportunity for feedback from fellow writers.
- Your first chapter is published on the internet for anyone to read – this can be scary as an unpublished writer
- Um, there really weren’t any other cons.
Whether or not I progress to the finals of this contest, it’s given me the impetus to put myself ‘out there’ again. Once again, I’ve enjoyed the social aspect of the contest on social media. I think I may be addicted. Did someone say Twitter? Tweet, tweet!
I’ve also loved seeing the online friends I’ve made over the past year improve their writing, set their own goals and push themselves to make things happen. A big wave to the Flash Mob on the Harlequin Community forums – you guys rock.
The first chapter of my manuscript is now live on the So You Think You Can Write website:
Up In The Air Over You – Chapter One
I’d appreciate it if you take the time to read it. Your comments are welcome too.