Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Entering a novel competition is a lot of work

I’ve been inspired to enter the Strongest Start Novel Competition 2012, sponsored by The Next Big Writer website. I heard about the contest through Women on Writing, WOW, the group that put together my blog tour after my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, launched last year.

Here is what WOW had to say:

If you've been working on a novel, or have one written already, polish your first three chapters and consider entering this competition. TheNextBigWriter is an online workshop. By entering, you receive feedback on every chapter you submit. This is a great opportunity to have your work-in-progress reviewed, and you may even win! You do NOT need to have completed your entire novel, so this competition is open to those who have started or are working on their novels. There is NO ENTRY FEE, but membership is required.

So I thought why not? Why not is actually a very good question. First I worked and worked on my first three chapters to get them ready for submission by the June 22 deadline. And even though I knew that I would have to review other people’s chapters in order to get mine reviewed and even uploaded, I really didn’t know the extent of it.

I started the process yesterday and uploaded Chapter One. I could do that without any review credits. Then I began reading and amassed enough review credits to upload another chapter. Instead, based on the reviews I received, which were all very helpful and encouraging, I decided to upload a revision of the first chapter. So today I’m reading and reviewing in order to gather enough credits to publish Chapter Two. I’m just hoping I can read and review enough to get this all done by Friday. However, I do have a safety net. I understand I can borrow credits if I don’t make my quota in time.

I have to say, based on the reviews I’ve received, this is a very worthwhile site especially for people like me who don’t get a lot of feedback on their writing. It’s an online workshop. I plan to keep uploading more of my novel even after the contest submittal period is over. Besides, I’m getting a lot of ideas just by reading other people’s chapters. And even though the contest is for novels, the site is open to writers in all genres. I’ll probably post some poetry there as well.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

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