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!