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Saturday, October 1, 2011

My First contest - A Journey of Self-Discovery

    I have decided to enter my first writing contest, maybe you have heard of it.  It's the "Mills & Boon New Voices Contest", where you send in the first chapter of your wip by October 10th for the first round of judging.  Since I only have the first chapter written, I thought, "Why the heck not?"  You're required to register on the Facebook site & post your chapter there where other registered folks can read it.  It sounded simple enough, until...


   Well, let's just say that I was not prepared for the barrage of opinions and expectations.  I soon learned about the presumption that my hero & heroine would meet in the first chapter.  Um, what???  They don't meet until chapter two-was that such a bad thing?  (scratches head) Really?  Although I am sure she is not alone, even one of my favorite authors whose current series is a global leviathan hit doesn't employ this construct in her writing.  Stunned after this new revelation, I became indignant at the thought of a publishing house telling me how to write my story.  I suddenly felt rage rising within me like a momma bear protecting her cub.  Phrases such as, "How dare they tell ME how to tell my story!", "I will NOT be a sell-out!", and  "I absolutely REFUSE to drink the 'company Kool-Aid'!" danced about in  my brain.  After discussing this new bit of enlightenment with my writer buddies,  I finally understood the meaning and application of the term "category romance". 

Best writing buddies ever!

   Ah, now I get it!  A story that has very clearly defined expectations, boundaries and limits to fit a particular house's preferences.  Chapter one, hero & heroine meet. Chapter two, the first kiss, Chapter three, the first...whatever.  So not me.  From that experience, I now know that I do not want to write "category".  However, that is not to say that it wouldn't be a good fit for someone else, it's just not for me.  For now, I'm still considering throwing my chapter into the ring just to see how it fares.  If for nothing else, this journey was worth learning this one thing about myself.  Wish me luck!


  1. Good for you Marianne! So proud of you cousin! You inspire me :)

  2. Thanks so much Denise1 And remember that you should only drink your own Kool-Aid-lol!

  3. We all need to be exercised in developing the ability to consider writing directives by those who should know, and either accepting or rejecting the advice. I'm still learning, and my initial reaction is always to be upset, but in time I can go back and carefully consider ... Good for you Marianne! Great post!

  4. You have to follow your instincts and give your book a chance where it will be welcomed. I have a problem with strict guidelines...I play outside the lines! As I get older, I want to write MY way.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  5. I hear you on that Marion, and that was my initial reaction, and I bet we all feel the same way at first. Thanks for the comment and the lovely day in Bellingham!

  6. Marianne, I totally understand where you're coming from. If my book is welcomed warmly by the M&B folks then it would do wonders in changing my mind - lol!

  7. Hope you find the publisher/editor you're looking for!

  8. I wholeheartedly agree! Doing it your way is the best Kool-Aid ever. :))


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