Just got the email with my Golden Heart results for my manuscript Seven Days. Pretty much the same thing that happened last time, but with only one low score of 1.90 and the rest around 4.
What have we learned from this? Same thing as last time--not everyone will like your work. You know, I'm okay with that. I'd really like to see all the criticisms to consider if it is the readers' personal opinion or if there's something I could do to make my fiction more exciting and compelling to the wider audience. I've already edited it down quite a bit, made it tighter with less repetition. Of course, I wish I could have submitted the new and improved version, but I was doing good to get it into first person and edit it down from the monstrosity it was by a hundred pages.
So, I would say I submitted a third or fourth draft. I'm working on the next edit now and also doing a whole new story in which the characters from Seven Days are secondary. I'm also making frantic notes for two other stories, the second in the series called Seven Months (the hero's brother falling in love with the heroine's sister) and a novel that has Will's niece as the heroine. I've moved on, realizing it wasn't really ready for publication. I'm not heartbroken or distraught that someone didn't like my precious and I don't take it personally. It was a step in a process. I'm proud I met the deadline and that most of the judges liked it pretty well.
I worked as President and board of directors member for a local writers group over almost twelve years. I helped organize a bunch of workshops and writers contests for them, along with monthly meeting programs and newsletters. One year, we had the president of a local arts group ask if she was the winner of a contest, because she was so busy, she didn't really have time to show up for the awards ceremony unless she won. The contest coordinator and I agreed--you need to attend or find out from the press release the next day. Bitch. We also had someone file a request for the Better Business Bureau to investigate whether our contest was "legitimate," i.e. if the prizes were awarded, if we were really non-profit, etc. I muttered under my breath on that one too, having to fill out a five page questionnaire filled with legalese, when he/she could have just called, but I respected their concern. There are a lot of charlatans around.
In other words, I certainly thank the judges for their time and consideration. I value opinions, knowing they're especially valuable when I might learn from them. I know the RWA National headquarters must be crazy busy, with the contest and preparations for the national convention, so I appreciate the time it took to send all the notifications. But, it's time to move on. Might enter a few more regional contests, to get a few more notes and opinions.
Get back to work, Julee. And thanks to all those who volunteer their time and effort. Been there, done that and will definitely do it again in the future.
Here are two pictures of my husband and I at parties for two of the science fiction conventions we ran. The toga party was the banquet during Contact 11, with the theme of "Pledge Psi Phi." We did pledge pins for those who pre-registered and had a heck of a lot of fun. I chose the "Roman Holiday" toga, complete with pearls, but Chris just got one of our bed sheets. The other is from a party to promote Contact 13, which was on a Friday the 13th that year. The party theme was "Follow the trail of blood to Contact 13" and "Prom Night Massacre." I was picking out the dress at Goodwill, torn between this one and a purple one and Chris pointed out, "The blood will show up better on the pink." Thought the clerks were going to die. He's wearing my brother's prom tux jacket, vintage 1963. Yes, he had his fly open, because, you know. The kids who have sex are the first to get killed.