ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2012 06:06 am)

            It became clear to me a few days ago that I didn’t make the cut in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest, but I wanted to wait until the judging period was officially over before commenting about it.

            Anyone who wants to make a living as a writer must learn to live with rejection, develop a thick skin, be prepared to rebound, and have a day job. There are thousands of deserving writers out there; I know some of the top 28 finalists, and they’re both good writers and good people. Congratulations to them, and I wish them the best of luck as they go on to the next round.

            There is also, of course, the fact that this sucks.

            We all want to win – not necessarily to beat other people, but to succeed. Like many writers I want to someday write full time, and doing that requires people paying for your writing. That requires getting the interest of a publisher, or winning contests, or self-publishing and selling, or in the worst case scenario being a b-list celebrity. No matter how deserving the winners are, I wouldn’t have entered if I hadn’t wanted to be one of them. Recognizing that writers get rejected doesn’t make the rejection hurt less.

            But that’s okay, because suck happens and people need to deal with it. One of the real problems with this world is that people don’t want to face suckage. Face it, people.

            Face it, then conquer it. I didn’t win SYTYCW, but I have a completed, polished manuscript ready to go to its next destination. I have some deciding to do: My next target was Harlequin American, but my understanding is that Harlequin’s editors were all involved in the contest, so it can be assumed American’s editors have already seen it. Would it be a waste to send it to them the regular way? I’ll have to think on it.

            But think on it I will. Then I’ll take action, and send Coming Attractions out the way I did Storm Chaser, and the way I will many future manuscripts. Someday I’ll get The Call again, and a year or so after that you’ll be ordering your autographed copies, and giving it five stars on Amazon.

            Because when life sucks lemons, you scoop in a few spoonfuls of sugar and make friggin’ lemonade, people. And lemonade’s good stuff.

            Your palms sweat. You pace nervously. You check your e-mail obsessively. Do that for six months or so, and you have an idea of what it’s like to be an author.

            Seven hundred or so authors – minus those few who’ve already heard back – are anxiously awaiting news of whether they made the cut for the next round of Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. The announcement period was October 12th through the 18th, but Harlequin posted early on that no one would be contacted those first two days, because it was a weekend. Even editors need a day off now and then! It was thought that most of the winners would get word on Monday – after all, the top 25 would be tallied by popular vote, and how long could it take to do that?

            Ask the people in Florida that question.

            As for me, while I’m as anxious as anyone, I’ve been in the game of trying to get published for thirty long years. I’ve learned possibly the most important personal skill a writer can have: patience.

            When you're trying to get traditionally published, you quickly – or should I say, slowly – learn that old Army adage: “Hurry up and wait”. Even agented or requested manuscripts take weeks or months to be returned, as overworked and undermanned editorial offices go through stacks of them, trying to sort out the ones with possibilities. If you came in through the slush pile, as I did when I wasn’t giving up in complete discouragement, it takes even longer. A response time of several weeks is common; months can go by.

            Then you get The Call, and everything’s a rush! Wait, no it’s not. From the moment I got word that Storm Chaser would be published until the official publication day was over a year.

            (Self publishers have a fast track in many of those areas, but even then there it seems to take forever to get the manuscript perfect and formatted. Print runs often have their own delays.)

            Over the years I’ve learned many things about myself and the publishing industry. One of those is that I would despair of ever getting published, and give up completely – every winter. That realization led to my diagnosis of Seasonal Affected Disorder, and since beginning treatment for that I’ve stayed on the writing bandwagon year-round.

            But the most important thing I learned – the most important thing any writer can learn, when it comes to contests, submissions, and the editorial process – is patience.

            Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go jog around the house ten or twelve times, then check my e-mail.

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

Popping back in yet again, coming home from a doctor’s appointment and headed for a few hour’s sleep again. Less than six hours left to vote in the So You Think You Can Write contest! Thanks, everyone, for your support.

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Oct. 11th, 2012 07:50 am)

Way less than a day left in the 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest, and since I’m off to sleep now I’m dependent on the rest of you to spread the word. So, if I get the top prize this year, everyone who can prove they voted for me will get a puppy!*

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

 

But seriously, there are a lot of great entries this year. So, if your conscience tells you to cast your daily vote for someone more deserving … ruthlessly beat it into submission.

 

 

*offer void where prohibited and where not prohibited.

 

Before I get on to my weekly column, don’t forget that we have less than 24 hours of voting left to go in the So You Think You Can Write contest:

 

It’s getting tense!

 

###

 

This article first appeared in the Albion New Era during 2009’s Fire Prevention Week.

 

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

Fire Prevention Week is here, a time in which we try to – wait for it – prevent fires. Of course, Fire Prevention Week should go on year round, but if it did we’d have to change the name. So, to give you something you can take with you all year, here’s a quick quiz to see if you know … oh, just relax, nobody’s grading you. )

 


1. Fire Prevention Week was begun after a huge fire burned:
a. The City of Chicago.
b. The entire town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin.
c. A huge swath of Wisconsin and an even larger area of Michigan, all the way from one Great Lake to another.
d. Donald Trump’s hair.

The answer: All of the above. The most devastating forest fires in American history roared through Northeast Wisconsin and lower Michigan on October 8, 1871, leveling at least 16 communities, killing 1,152 people, and blackening 1.2 million acres of land – those are the conservative estimates. The disaster didn’t make much impact on the national news because of that little dust-up going on in Chicago at the same time. I was just kidding about Donald Trump.

2. President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation in:
a. 1492.
b. 1920.
c. 1980
d. OMG! Nobody told me I’d have to memorize dates!

The answer: d. Meanwhile, since the early 20’s Fire Prevention Week has come during the same week as the anniversary of the Chicago and Peshtigo fires.

3. On the spot where the Great Chicago Fire began now stands:
a. The Chicago Fire Department Fire Academy
b. A shrine to Oprah.
c. Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
d. The burial spot of Donald Trump’s hair.

The answer: a. Can you sense the irony?

4. Okay, here’s an easy true of false question:
The Great Chicago Fire first burned down the O’Leary home.

The answer: False. Although the fire started in the O’Leary barn, a lucky breeze spared their house. However, rumors that Mrs. O’Leary’s firebug cow kicked over a lamp made them a pariah at the Homeowner’s Association meetings for the next 130 years. Later research revealed there’s no proof the O’Leary’s – or their cow – had anything to do with the fire’s origin. In fact, there’s some speculation that a fiery meteorite broke apart as it fell to Earth, explaining how several fires over three states all started at once.

5. Most fires are started by:
a. Mice with matches.
b. Men, women, and children.
c. Zeus.
d. A small, square animal called the Woozy that shoots sparks from its eyes.

The answer: b. Zeus is a myth, people – and the mouse was acquitted. Bonus points if you can tell me where I got that Woozy thing from.
Cooking, electrical problems, smoking, and children playing with fire-starting materials are the main causes of fires. Kids with matches or lighters cause hundreds of deaths every year, and that ain’t funny.

6. If a fire sets off a sprinkler system:
a. All the sprinkler heads go off, allowing our hero to escape in the confusion.
b. All the sprinkler heads go off, allowing the villain to escape in the confusion.
c. All the sprinkler heads go off, allowing the hero to electrocute the villain.
d. Only the sprinkler heads directly above the fire go off, saving untold lives and property every year.

The answer: d. You might want to consider getting a guard dog, because sprinklers are designed to control fires while doing only minimal water damage.

7. Your smoke detector batteries should be changed:
a. So you have fresh ones available for the TV remote.
b. Every spring and fall, when the clocks change.
c. Because otherwise they could develop serious diaper rash.
d. Because their behavior is just unacceptable.

The answer: b, no matter what time zone you’re in. Could we Hoosiers give that time zone dustup a rest, already?

8. E.D.I.T.H. is important because:
a. She’s the only woman James T. Kirk ever really loved.
b. I said so.
c. Exit Drills In The Home help families escape from home fires.
d. How would Archie get along without her?

The answer: c (and b. Come to think of it, all of the above). Smoke and toxic gases from a fire can fill a home within minutes, so practicing how to safely escape from a fire, and meet up in a safe spot afterward, saves lives. Firefighters are great, if I do say so myself, but most fire victims are dead from smoke inhalation long before fire trucks can reach the scene.

9. Firefighters die:
a. Because that gray is unacceptable.
b. hard.
c. in the wool.
d. At the rate of about a hundred every year.

The answer – is pretty obvious, and not very funny. Not only is the easiest fire to fight the one that never starts, but the least dangerous fire is the one that never starts.

10: Fire is:
a. Fast, sometimes engulfing a home in five minutes.
b. Dark, producing dense smoke and toxic gases.
c. Hot, over 1,000 degrees in a typical structure fire and searing lungs even at a distance from the flames.
d. Deadly, killing 2,900 people in 2008, injuring 14,960 others, and causing over twelve billion dollars in damage.

The answer: All of the above, and that’s no joke. So the next time you see or hear something serious about fire prevention – pay attention. When the real test comes, it’s life or death.

Recently I posted five interrelated blogs about the creation of my novel Coming Attractions, which is (as I’m sure you know by now), my entry in the So You Think You Can Write contest here:

 http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

  

In case you’re interested in the process and may have missed one or more, here they are in order:

 

Inspiration:

http://www.markrhunter.com/2012/10/05/inspiration-at-the-drive-in-the-genesis-of-coming-attractions/

 

Plotting:

http://www.markrhunter.com/2012/10/06/plotting-a-novel-or-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/

 

Setting:

http://www.markrhunter.com/2012/10/07/creating-a-setting-or-lying-for-a-living/

 

Main Characters:

http://www.markrhunter.com/2012/10/08/the-main-characters-or-whats-it-all-about-people/

 

Supporting Characters:

http://www.markrhunter.com/2012/10/09/lifting-and-separating-getting-great-character-support/

 

Hope you enjoyed them … I’m sure I’ll write in more detail on those subjects in the future.

Me, a writer, running out of things to say? Well, now we're in to the second to last day of voting for the So You Think You Can Write contest, and there are 700 deserving novelists who are very anxious to get that first prize -- a publishing contract.

I've described the contest and my novel, put up several miniblogs about ​the process of writing, blew my own horn, and begged. So ... questions? Comments?

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/
 
(Oh, don't think I won't be back tomorrow!)

In my novel Storm Chaser, the main characters aren’t all that different from standard romantic comedy leads (on the surface). The supporting characters, on the other hand, were quirky and memorable enough that some of them headlined their own tales in my short story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. You don’t want supporting characters to overwhelm the leads, but you do want them to be interesting and fun.

In Coming Attractions, the general description of the main characters is also not all that off from the norm, although turned around: It’s the woman who’s a Type A power broker working on her first heart attack, and the man who provides the voice of reason and emotion.

But the same rules apply to their friends and family – they have to do their jobs for the story, but also keep things interesting. Logan Chandler’s kids are pretty much your typical tykes: Faith, the sometimes bossy older sister, and Conner, who’s quick to point out that he has achieved age five. The family matriarch, Judy Chandler, is not all that different from Elsa Hamlin of Storm Chaser (although she has a secret).

After that I made things deliberately … odd. Outside of the Chandler, the main supporting characters of Coming Attractions are:

Tupper, who resembles Shaggy from the Scooby Doo cartoons. Tupper – “My mother sold Tupperware, and she’s pretty hardcore” – is eager and wants to be helpful, but his intentions are sabotaged by the fact that he’s essentially clueless. It’s a mystery to Maddie why her high powered law firm hired Tupper as her Indiana contact, but she soon meets him again in the most unexpected of places.

No, he doesn’t own a large talking dog.

Dena Hantaywee is Maddie’s personal assistant and best friend. Part Native American, Dena is as opposite her boss as you can get: brash, disrespectful, and effervescent. She’s also psychic and can see spirits, or so she says – a possibility that runs contrary to Maddie’s world view.

They’re a true odd couple, arguing and defending each other, and we soon learn their friendship runs deeper than just being coworkers.

More supporting characters pop up as the story goes on, hopefully keeping things interesting. We meet the drive-in’s dedicated owner; a haughty, conniving partner from Maddie’s firm; the Chandler family’s wheelchair-bound pastor; and Maddie’s intimidating boss, the most senior of senior partners, among others. We also meet Logan’s dead wife – sort of.

Of all the supporting characters it’s Dena who I’m most proud of. Who knows? Maybe, if Coming Attractions is published and becomes successful, she’ll headline her own book, someday.

Oh, one more thing: There’s also a brief appearance by a character from Storm Chaser, although that character is never named.

 

Voting is still up! The fastest way to someday see the whole story is to vote for it at:

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

The elections' almost here!

 

No, not that election. I mean voting for Harlequin's SoYouThinkYouCanWrite contest is almost over. My entry, complete with first chapter and synopsis, is here:

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

 

If I win ... I promise not to raise your taxes.

Although I saved the characters until now, they were one of the first things I worked on once I came up with the basic idea for the story; after all, a well-defined character can lead a story in ways it might not otherwise go. If Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird had been a lazy drunkard, none of the events in that story would have taken place the way they did.

Since my experience going to the drive-in as an adult usually involved my two kids, I gave my male lead two kids, too. Since it was a romance, their mother was out of the picture – well, not entirely, as you’ll see in the story, but I made Logan Chandler a widower.

Where did I get the name? I spend a lot of time on naming characters, and Logan was the result of a great deal of searching for something that seemed to fit just right. Chandler? My kids and I were big fans of the TV show Friends.

I took a chance with my romantic hero in this story: He’s not the typical Type A personality we’ve come to expect, certainly nothing like Storm Chaser’s take-charge action junkie Chance Hamlin. Logan is a laid back family man, a small businessman with a sense of humor and a mild personality – mild until his family or his community is threatened. Then he’s not mild at all.

Madison McKinley, on the other hand, is no damsel in distress: As an attorney at a high class Boston law firm, she’s Type A+, focused on career advancement. Family? What’s that? (But there are good reasons for Maddie’s lack of a personal life.)

Maddie’s named after a Founding Father and a US President. Her personal hero is another Massachusetts lawyer, John Adams, so there’s a certain connection there. I could go on about it thematically fitting with the small town’s fight against bigger, more powerful aggressors in a Revolutionary War type of way, but that wasn’t intentional. (There’s a more personal reason for Madison’s name, but it’s … personal.)

Just the same, Maddie likes to quote Adams, and she’s in all ways in control and comfortable with her life and career. Then she gets thrown into the world of handsome, laid-back men, small towns and little children, and she’s not comfortable. Not at all.

In true romance fashion, Logan and Maddie are, of course, instantly attracted to each other. But if it were that easy there wouldn’t be a story, so the two have to deal with the fact that Logan has taken on the mission of keeping the drive-in open … while Maddie’s job is on the line if she can’t get it shut down.

 

Next: The support staff.  And the vote, of course – don’t forget:

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

It's not often that a writer shows an actual photo of his fictional setting. But what the heck: In the case of ​Coming Attractions​ , the fictional drive-in at the center of the story is based on a real one, the Auburn-Garrett in northeast Indiana. Here's a not-so-great photo taken a few years ago, that should give you a taste of what it would be like for Logan Chandler and his kids, as they wait for the sun to disappear and the flicks to begin -- a photo taken while my kids and I were doing the same thing.

 

Don't forget to vote for ​Coming Attractions​ at the So You Think You Can Write contest:

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

 

drive-in photo )

Fiction writers have a choice with their setting: Invent it from scratch, or use an already existing location. For instance, many stories are set in New York City. But if a character standing northwest of the Statue of Liberty remarks on the beauty of the statue’s face, you’d better be prepared for some nasty letters from New Yorkers who know Lady Liberty faces the other way.

Or, you can do what I did: Have your cake and eat it, too. Mine has traditional chocolate frosting, thank you. In Storm Chaser, most of the characters live in the tiny – and fictional – town of Hurricane, Indiana. However, the location of the town is a real place, about three miles from my home in Albion. You can drive to the actual spot of Hurricane Books and Bait, and wonder at the empty fields.

For Coming Attractions, I paid tribute to the drive-in where I went as a kid: the Hi Vue. No, not by designing the one in my book after it: That’s based loosely on the Auburn-Garrett drive-in, several miles further from my home and still in operation. Instead, I took the city of Kendallville, Indiana, pulled it from its foundations, and placed it on top of the Hi Vue’s former location.

Not literally, mind you.

It wasn’t much of a move, since the Hi Vue was only a few miles south. I needed a community big enough to support the drive-in, a coffee shop, and a hotel, and Kendallville qualified. But I didn’t want to use the actual city, because I was too lazy to obsess over exact locations and because the coffee shop itself is fictional, and would have ended up in someone’s real store. (I could have put it in the same spot as Summer’s Stories bookstore, which carries Storm Chaser … but it’s for the best that I didn’t, as they’ve moved since then.)

So I created a new city, and honestly only used the vague layout of Kendallville’s main streets as a guideline. What to call it? Not far away is a road, and its name seemed to encapsulate the story’s ideas: The idea that faith, hope, and hard work can be rewarded.

And so was born the little city of Hopewell, Indiana.

 

Next: the characters. Actually, that’s next right after you pop over to Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest to pull that daily voting lever for Coming Attractions:

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/
vote for me, vote for me!

Ahem. Guess I should be a bit more subtle about it, shouldn't I? But we're more than halfway through the chapter one voting period for Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest, and fortune favors the loud:

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

First prize is a publishing contract! But at this point I'm just working on getting into the top 25.

So it’s all well and good that I decided to write a romantic comedy about a drive-in theater, inspired by … well, by sitting at a drive-in theater. But the story could only be set there, and even then only partially. Setting isn’t plot.

The germ of any story contains two questions: What if? What then? Those were the questions I had to answer if I wanted a good story, and it turned out the what if part was easy.

I mentioned before that there used to be three drive-ins within reasonable driving distance of my home: Now there is one. With cable, VHS, DVD, blue-ray, internet, not to mention the space age visual and sound systems of a traditional, air conditioned indoor theater, who wanted to sit in a car to watch a movie anymore?

So, what if someone did? Say, our hero? And what if that drive-in was in danger of being torn down, replaced by a mall, or housing development?

What then?

Well, my hero is not the type to sit around wringing his hands. He’d lead the charge to save the traditional family drive-in, because he’s a family kind of a guy. (This was the point where I realized my hero was a family kind of a guy, the kind who went there as a kid and brings his own kids there now.)

What then?

Okay, what if someone was sent by the development company to overcome the obstacles to the demolition? And what if that someone was a beautiful female lawyer? Suppose they met at the drive-in, without knowing they were leading the opposite sides?

Wait, what if she was uncomfortable around kids? And the guy had two? Where was his wife? Why was the attorney uncomfortable around kids? How can I make her more sympathetic? Why is she coming from out of town, instead of being a local attorney? And could there be a reason why his family already hates lawyers? We don’t want to go too easy on them – that makes for boring stories.

And what was around the drive-in, anyway? If it has enough customers to stay open, wouldn’t there be a community nearby? And wouldn’t our hero be a part of that community?

Questions lead to more questions, just as it should be with a novel length work. By now I was on a roll, creating an outline for the story while also working on character development. The characters had to be done before the outline could be completed, of course. Once they were fully developed, they’d tell me what to write.

 

Next: the town. You can get a first look at the drive-in in the first chapter of Coming Attractions, and vote for me at Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest:

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Oct. 6th, 2012 03:44 am)

Apparently you can vote once every 24 hours in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest, rather than once a day – in other words, no matter when you vote, you can vote again 24 hours later. So set your alarm clocks, smart phones, iPads, and watches to a 24 hour alarm cycle!

Watches? Boy, technology has changed.

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

 

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and good wishes concerning my nephew. He came through surgery just fine -- it went faster than they expected -- and is in recovery at Riley's Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

 

 

            When I tell people about my new novel, Coming Attractions, one of the first things they ask is how I came up with the idea of a romantic comedy about a drive-in movie theater.

 

            The answer is not how, but where: At the drive-in, of course.

 

            Just as I came up with Storm Chaser by looking to the skies, I came up with Coming Attractions by looking to the screen – the silver screen. But this book isn’t really new: I came up with the concept several years ago, when I started taking my kids to the Auburn-Garrett drive-in. Sadly, that’s the only one left anywhere near my home, although when I was a kid the Hi-Vue was closer.

 

There was another near the limits of a reasonable drive from my home, but toward the end it started showing X-rated flicks, back at a time when you couldn’t get them at the video store … back before the internet made that all passé.

 

            At the time (this would be over three decades ago) the Hi-Vue is where you would go for family friendly fare: Their screen faced the highway, so they couldn’t show R rated stuff. The Auburn-Garrett sometimes showed racier movies, but the Hi-Vue was closer and I was a kid, so you can guess where I ended up.

 

            But by the time I had kids of my own, the Auburn-Garrett was the only game around. I was a single father, the drive-in was cheap, and we all loved movies, so I introduced my girls to one of my best childhood memories.

 

If you wanted a good spot, you got there early. (The good spot is in the middle, near the restrooms.) So I pulled out a notebook. While we waited for the sun to set, my daughters and I brainstormed the idea for a new novel – an idea that was as close as the big screen before us.

 

Of course, the story isn’t really about a drive-in, any more than a story is about a tornado, or an airplane, or a war. Stories are about people. Over time Charis and Jillian, with the help of a laptop, notebook, and various reference books we bought along, helped invent the characters, the plot, and … well, the atmosphere kind of took care of itself.

 

 

Next: the plot. Meanwhile, don’t forget to drop in on Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest, read the first chapter of Coming Attractions, and hopefully vote for me at:

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Astrid and Walter)
( Oct. 4th, 2012 11:17 pm)

I wanted to make a quick announcement and an appeal. First, the not so important thing: Starting tomorrow I'll start a series of posts telling of the development and writing of my novel ​Coming Attractions​ -- some looks at how it came to be, details about characters and locations, and so on. As you know, that novel is my entry in Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest, here:

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

Now, for the much more important thing: Please send along your hopes and prayers for my six year old nephew, Christian, who's having an operation tomorrow at Riley's Children Hospital in Indianapolis, to repair a hole in his heart. It's a routine operation, but there's no such thing as routine when dealing with a relative of that age going into surgery. Emily and I will be staying behind to take care of the family tykes who are even younger than Christian, but of course our thoughts will be down there with them, and I hope yours will, too.
Beaned myself on a low hanging branch while mowing the lawn today. I mean thigh-thick branch to the skull, head over heals Three-Stooges style crashing to the ground. I was going to joke that I was thinking of ways to publicize that writing contest when I should have been concentrating on the job at hand, but when the stars and little birdies cleared I remembered I'd been thinking at the time about my little nephew, who's having an operation on his heart in the morning. Made me feel guilty that I whined over a little gash and goose egg, although that doesn't mean I won't turn it into a column.

I should apologize to Emily for all the curse words I used when she poured alcohol on my head.

(Oh, don't forget to vote today in the writing contest:  http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/ )

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

            I’ve never been a competitive person. You’ve heard of the Class A personality? I’m more like a Class C.

            In fact, I almost didn’t enter a contest that was in theory right up my alley, just because I found the name particularly intimidating: So You Think You Can Write.

            I felt like Harlequin’s novel writing contest was sneering at me: “So … you think you can write, eh? I’ll chew you up like paper and spit you out like ink!”

            Worse, it required me to do more of that thing I’ve never much liked to do: Sell myself. In the first phase of the SYTYCW contest (hey, I didn’t name it), authors submit the first chapter and a 100 word synopsis of their novel, and readers vote on which of the chapter ones they like the best.

            Self-promotion time again, only “Look at me, look at me”, becomes “Vote for me!” But, hey – competing and promoting are part of the writer’s job, these days. That being the case, here’s the internet link to my particular entry, which will be open for voting from October 2nd until October 11th:

            http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

            (You can, and most certainly should, look at a bunch of entries and pick the best one. But I’m okay with you only looking at mine.)          

 

            So … you think you can write?

 

            I’m fairly sure I can, so I’ve entered Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) contest for, you guessed it, writers. My entry is at:

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/coming-attractions/

 

            And that’s kinda important, because here’s where you come in: The first phase, which runs from October 2nd until October 11th, involves the public voting for their favorite first chapter. Everyone can vote once per day, and at the end Harlequin/Mills & Boon editors will take the top 25 manuscripts chosen by voters, along with three wild card submissions the editors choose. Only then will the top 28 full manuscripts go on to the next phase.

 

            This is your chance to see chapter one of my unpublished novel, Coming Attractions, along with a 100 word synopsis that took almost as long to write as the original manuscript.  So vote early and, at least in this case, vote often! Here’s the main website for the contest:

 

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/

 

Later in the voting period I’ll share some details about the novel’s creation, plot, and metaphysical philosophy. Or maybe just two of those.

.

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