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Beating the blues

I don’t know what it is lately. The weather here has been great – mid-70’s and sunny. My oldest is between activities, which has freed up time in the evenings to just hang out together.

But I’ve just been feeling down. I don’t know if there’s really a song or not, but the words, “I’ve got the blues” keeps singing in my head.

One thing I’ve been doing is revising my urban fantasy. I came close a few times last year to finding an agent. And while they “Love the premise”, the general consensus is I need to work on my world-building and characterization.

I’ve learned a lot about the craft since then, and so I’m trying to apply it to the UF. I don’t know if I’m feeling like it’s a mountainous gargantuan task, or if I just don’t know where to begin first. The last two days, I’ve been rewriting my opening, trying to make my character more likeable and sympathetic, while making it a ‘hook’. Part of this is re-reading some of my favorite books and studying their openings.

The good news: I’ve finally started reading again 🙂 It’s been a little while since I actually sat down and just read. Partly, I blame the TV.

**Note to self – less TV

But a small part of me, you know, the evil editor deep inside that for some reason I can’t seem to shut up lately, is constantly telling me that even though I’m published with my erotic romance, I’m never going to make it to NY with my urban fantasy.

I KNOW it’s a lie. That voice is full of shit. Because I’m going to work my ass off and never give up until I get there.

But it won’t shut up 🙂

So, I’ve decided to make a plan.

I’m going to write down the steps I need to take to rewriting/editing my urban fantasy.

Then I’m going to number them.  Once that’s done, I’ll have a plan.

I work well when I have a plan. I love goals.

And I know, once I get deep into working through it, I’ll finally be able to shut that stupid voice up.


How do you get rid of the blues?

Contests: To enter or not (part 1)

I always see questions about contests around the net. Are they worth it? Do you get anything out of them? What are the drawbacks?

So, I thought I’d share my experience from both sides of the fence (entrant and judge)


First, my suggestions:

-Why are you entering? To win? To get feedback? To get in front of an Agent/Editor?

Know your answers to these questions before picking the contests to enter.

If you’re entering just to win, remember, tastes are subjective. There can only be one winner.

From the judge’s perspective, I try to look at each entry as its own, without comparing it to anything else (published, my own stuff, or the other entrants). Since the contest coordinators send a checklist, with points for very specific categories, it’s pretty easy.

Still, I can only state my opinion on the categories. Some is technical, some is craft, and some is concept.

Are you entering to get feedback?

Most contests offer feedback. Most judges are a mix between published and unpublished writers. This isn’t a bad thing. Your feedback will be different things each judge specifically thought to point out. It’s almost like a mini critique (although some can be more expansive).

Keep in mind, as with any critique, it is subjective opinion.

Also, I would suggest only entering contests who give each entry at least 3 judges. That way, you get more feedback, and there’s a tie breaker. If all three say something, you probably want to look at it. If only one of the three mention something, it could be spot on, but it might fall in the ‘opinion’ area.

Are you entering to get in front of an agent/editor?

Most contests have agents and/or editors as final round judges. This is great.

But for two things.

1, you have to get to the finals.

2, I’ve found, as a writer, agents and editors judging a contest are sometimes more critical than if you just query them. They’re looking specifically for everything wrong, rather than with a query, they’re hoping to find enough right to offer for it.

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