I can think of a million cliched sayings, When one door closes, another opens. When one door closes, look for an escape window.
Last month I entered Harlequin’s SYTYCW competition. No, I didn’t final in the top 50.
As all the other entrants probably did, I got my hopes up. I put in hours and hours plotting and writing that novel. I read and read numerous Harlequin Superromance novels. Okay, it wasn’t torturous, I enjoyed it. Yes, I’ll continue to read them. 🙂
After I learned I didn’t final, I was bummed for a few days. This was my baby. Their dismissal was equivalent to being slapped down. Hard.
A door didn’t magically open, so I sat back down with my novel and read it. I knew it wasn’t perfect. There were a few tweaks needed in the middle of the story and the end needed work. But, the first chapter had been perfect, the best chapter ever including every novel ever written throughout history. Okay, so it wasn’t. But I admit that is how I felt the morning I entered it in SYTYCW.
I printed the first chapter and sat down with a red pen. Minor changes in the first two pages, but the third page I was shocked to see I could delete quite a bit of ‘fluff’. Details that were relevant to the story, but could be held off until later. I had conflict, but the way it read, I really went for the jugular. It was a bit overboard.
I now think this story isn’t suited to Harlequin’s Superromance. I had to much character conflict. Harlequin likes the sense of family and happiness. My story has that, but not in the beginning. There’s also a villian in my story.
Even though I lost, I am improving my story and it will be published later by someone else. Who is that, you may ask. I’ll know one day soon. Either way, it will be better for losing Harlequin’s SYTYCW.