Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80 Check-in: Playing Catch-Up

Late Sunday night, I made the last-minute decision to enter the SheWrites “We Love New Novelists” contest.  The contest was advertised as a way for five un-agented novelists to “sail to the top of the slush pile” and have their work read by a panel of editors and agents.

I heard about the contest a couple of days beforehand, and initially decided not to enter.  It required a 2000 word excerpt, preferably from the first chapter, and the opening scenes of tell me no lies was riddled with holes, not to mention over 4000 words long (I was planning on saving the intro for last so, hence the messy state of affairs).  The contest also asked for a cover letter with author bio and synopsis, and that felt like too much work as well.

It hit me, though, somewhere in the small hours of Monday morning that not submitting was a silly idea, and so I dropped everything for two days to rewrite, edit and polish things up.  I ended up scrapping the original opening scene of the story and redoing it, deleting passages that I loved but no longer fit (ack, sacrificing the babies is such a hard job), and killing off adverbs and dialogue tags and all of those other things.

The resulting entry is 1976 words long, and after reading it aloud a few times last night, I rather love it.  It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of it and that’s what matters.

I also managed to cobble together a cover letter, which made me want to scream and throw things and pull out my hair in frustration.  When it came to dealing with the synopsis, I utilized Stacy Green’s latest post on writing a synopsis and Roni Loren’s 5 tips for writing a synopsis.  I also drew on Jami Gold’s recent post on writing an author bio (it literally popped up on tweetdeck as I was trying to write my bio.  Serendipitous!) and Nathan Bransford’s series on writing query letters.  I’m so grateful that there are so many resources out there on the web, otherwise I would’ve been totally lost.

I’m a couple of days behind on NaNo, so hopefully I can make up the 3000 words or so that I’m behind.  And I really need to buckle down on my thesis and a few other responsibilities that I’ve left languishing on my to-do list, so for the rest of the week I will be playing catch-up.

Hope everyone’s doing well this week!  I totally fell by the wayside and didn’t visit any blogs on Sunday, so I’m going to try to make up for it this afternoon.


  1. Well, you may not have kept to the goals but you certainly did a massive amount of work in those couple days. Great job and best of luck with the contest.

    Have a great week, Jamila 🙂

    • Thanks, Gene! I’m trying to pat myself on the back for what I did get done, and not feel too guilty about being behind on the word count.

      Have a wonderful week as well!

  2. Oh! Congrats on sending that out for the contest 🙂 Sounds like a fantastic opportunity! Sometimes we need to put the goals aside for a few days to take a risk or change things up. And if this contest inspired you, then that’s just a bonus!

    I agree that there is a wealth of info on the internet, makes life a little easier 🙂

    Good luck!


  3. Thanks for the link and good luck in the contest!

  4. Well done on getting your entry for the contest done! It must have been a lot of work but good experience of writing a synopsis etc. I hope you catch up with your NaNo words..you are doing so well!

    • Thanks, Em. I’m hoping that this makes the next synopsis that I have to write a teeny bit easier, since at least I’ll have something to work with.

      Hope your week has gone well!

  5. Good luck!! I love your determination.

  6. Wow! Good for you, going the extra mile to enter a contest! You might have to play catch up the rest of the week, but look how much further you’ll be once the week is through. It got you to rewrite your first chapter, so that’s a major task you’ve accomplished.

    • Thanks! I know, I’m actually in love with this first chapter, and it gives me a sense of what I want the rest of the story to look like when it’s all polished and shiny. 😀

  7. Keeping my fingers crossed regarding the contest. You made a leap of faith and went for it. Good for you.

  8. Contests are a fun break from the grind of simply producing (or worse marketing) work, especially when there’s a chance they’ll get your work into just the right hands. Good luck with it and congrats on pulling together a draft you liked on such short notice.

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