Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I didn't win the contest but won something even better.

I try to share with you everything in my writing journey as it comes along. A few months ago, I entered the Launching a Star contest with RWA. Yeah, I was hopeful and nervous but willing to pay some money to get a critique from a huge publisher and an agent who's blog most of us read.

Here's some of the feedback I received that to me was well worth all I spent.

Two critiquers. Scores: 118/150 and 137/150. I can live with that.

Comments: I'm only going to give you the needs, not the good stuff, cause it was the needy areas I focused onto when I opened that packet. Don't we all?

Exernal conflict could be stronger. How could things be worse? The problem I find is the fresh twist. Something needs to be more at risk.

Ramp up the tension.

Clearly define the motivations. Show clear internal/external conflicts.

So there you have it. My weak areas in writing fiction.

What this feedback does for me is allows me to immediately incorporate it into my current WIP.

Every time we learn something new, our writing grows and improves. But it takes some putting it out there to find those need areas, whether it is with a critique group or a contest or submitting it to an agent.

How have you recently put your work out there to find your need areas?

As far as I'm concerned, I won another chance to improve.

33 comments:

Diane said...

Thanks for sharing this Terri and you are a winner! I don't even know where to begin to put my work out there. I'm so new at all this.

Diane said...

Good critiques! Hopefuul you can use them to rewrite and sell, sell, sell! :O)

Lin Floyd said...

good attitude. yes critiques are helpful and entering contests keeps us on our toes and working on our writing daily.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Way to go Terri!

For tension and conflict, check out the Maass book & workbook - Writing the Breakout Novel.

Andrea said...

I don't put mine out there enough for critique.

As for you, dear friend, if that is all the things you need to work on you should be VERY proud of yourself and all GOD is doing in and through you. WOW....

Blessings, andrea

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Yes! I'm learning how to tighten my writing and to find the tell-tale spots of telling--and how to show it!

Amy Tate said...

Interesting. Recently, there's been a lot of hoopla about creating tension and conflict. I've read a couple of writer's magazine articles this week on the subject. I love getting a critique that is so detailed. I'm so glad that you found it useful - thanks for sharing!

Tamika: said...

Your scores look awesome Terri! Looking at your critique made me wonder if I nailed these things in my MS.

You certainly did win something better!

And thanks for your comment on my blog, I will be contacting you today.

Susan R. Mills said...

My crit buddies are pretty good about pointing out my weak areas. It's great.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I totally agree with you on the help that contest critiques can give. They are a goldmine for sure. I need more tension usually, too. We must both be peace keepers.

Deborah said...

Those scores looked great! And I love your positive outlook.

Speaking of contests...my 13 year old son entered a book trailer contest and it's now open for the public to vote. I posted the details today.

Yolanda said...

Asking God to bless your heart today. Rest assured, He loves you. Lovingly, Yolanda

Jill Kemerer said...

Great scores! Yes, I learned something similar when I first got critiqued. My friends pointed out that the characters' GMC's needed to be in chapter one. I honestly didn't know that at the time. It was an easy fix!

Jessica said...

I love your last line, Terri. You have an awesome attitude that we could all learn from.

I put my work to my crit group. Even though the tough crits hurt, I'm thankful because it's what I need. I need to be able to see the story from someone else's perspective.

I'm different than you though, when I open contest results. :-) First thing I do is skim for the compliments. It helps me bolster myself for the critiques. :-)

Paul said...

It's great when you get concrete feedback from sources you trust. I had a similar experience and it really helped me to focus my revision.

Good luck!

Amy De Trempe said...

I love your attitude. I used to hate the rejections and the critiques because I saw it as negative. Once I grew my thick skin I was able to look at what I was being told more objectively. It is no different than learning from our mistakes, we can grow with constructive criticism.

Cindy said...

That's some great feedback Terri. I'm glad it's going to help with your manuscript. I've gotten all kinds of feedback from critique partners that really helped my manuscript and gave me a better idea of what readers want and what makes a good story. So helpful and appreciated!

Nancy said...

No,I haven't done that lately. I'm glad you got your money's worth and found some things to work on.

I enjoyed your interview very much. You have quite a career already!

Kara said...

Sounds like great comments. I agree, it is worth having someone else look at your work to give you feedback, even if it is nerve wracking!!

Analisa said...

I love how u took the critic. I think as christian writer's we sometimes hesitate to make the character's situation really awful. I thought it was funny that they said can u make the situation worse.

A lesson I will take to heart for my writing.

Janna Qualman said...

Absolutely, Terri. You're so good with clear and positive perspective!

I worry. I know there are things in my writing. I'm going to get all the feedback I can when I'm done with my WIP.

AnooCre8ion said...

You have a great attitude Terri and it will take you very far.

Blessings,
Vickie

Katie Ganshert said...

Thanks for being so transparent! Those are great scores! Your willingness to put yoursel out there is awesome! I just entered the Gotcha contest. We'll see what happens!

Journaling Woman said...

Critique is difficult for me to swallow and follow, but I do it and welcome it.

The answer is yes and I am grateful for the feedback, because I don't always get it.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Great opportunity, Terri. I've been thinking about entering a contest, but I've been a teensy bit busy with manuscript #2. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Greg C said...

Well it had nothing to do with writing but I went out on the edge with a project and learned something by exposing myself to criticism. As long as we learn from our mistakes it is a good thing.

Natalie said...

You did great! I love a great critique. I hope their ideas make your story even better!

mom/caryn said...

I like your spunk. You obviously have a future in writing.

And I appreciated the positive analysis of your very own self on Lin's blog. Good for you... stepping up to the plate. It would appear that that is your M.O.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

you've got a great attitude about it. when i got my results back, i only focused on the negatives, too. neither one particularly liked my heroine, which was new to me. i haven't even checked me scores, actually...so intent was i upon reading what the judges wrote. i'm going to go to do that.

jeannie
The Character Therapist

sarah said...

totally agree with the others - you do have a great attitude. And brave on top of that....to put yourself out there. Way to go. Wondering what they meant by external conflict though. Sarah

Galen Kindley--Author said...

So, that was the extent of it?? Golly, I'd say you merit an A+. Great job. I'm wondering, however, did you agree with the comments? Do you think tension and motivations need improvement? Who says these folks are correct? Some other smart gal might read the same text and think it's fine. You're pretty sharp yourself, you know.

Best Regards, Galen.

Helen Ginger said...

Keep these suggestions posted somewhere close by so when you start the next manuscript, you can put those in from the beginning. I think you were right to enter. It's a good list of suggestions.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Lynda Schab said...

Great attitude, Terri (and great scores, too!). So many writers get offended and dejected from feedback but it's so important to take every bit of feedback (especially from people who know what they're talking about) and learn from it. That's the only way we can grow.

Hey - I nominated you for a Kreative Blogger award over on my blog today. Keep up the wonderful work!