Friday, January 11, 2008
Georgiana Daniels ~ Guest Blogger
Georgiana Daniels is the wife of a super-generous husband, and the mother of a teen and two tots. After graduating with a degree in public relations, she spent several years in the business world, but now has the privilege of staying home with her children. In her spare time (what spare time?) she loves to write Christian fiction, blog, and participate in ACFW and RWA.
Her debut novel "Table for One" is releasing TODAY from WHITE ROSE PRESS. Find it through her blog http://georgianad.blogspot.com/ or on Amazon.com.
I confess that I got caught in the Genesis frenzy. Entering the contest wasn’t something I planned to do, but after hearing all the fun buzz on the ACFW loop, I got caught up in the excitement. I reworked those first twenty five pages and garnered a few excellent critiques. Then, I was ready to hit send on my first real contest.
(Disclaimer: I once entered the Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition and, big surprise, I didn’t win. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my story about a woman being locked in the trunk of a car was horrible, with a capital H. I still shudder thinking that someone else actually slogged through those 1000 icky words with my name on it!)
So how did I get caught in the frenzy? That’s easy: feedback. There’s something super-addicting about receiving comments on a piece you’ve been slaving over—er, working on—for several months. And I really believe that’s what separates Genesis from other writing contests. (See above. Thankfully I did not receive a note telling me how awful, and dare I say amateurish, the woman-in-trunk story really was.)
I’m not certain I had specific expectations when I entered the Genesis, but when I got the call telling me I was a finalist, I screamed. Had I not already been planning to attend the conference, that would have sealed it. On the night of the ACFW banquet, my nerves were on high alert, and when they actually called my name I didn’t know if I could make it to the stage. My entry placed 2nd in the chick lit category! When I came down, legs like water, I nearly sat at the wrong table. This is one time I can say with my whole heart, I’m glad I didn’t win. You see, category winners actually had to say something. Out loud. Sophisticated and graceful, I am not.
But the most valuable part of the contest came when I was home, and the judges scores landed in my inbox. It’s natural to think, “Wow, this story is so awesome,” then be disappointed when someone points out your baby’s flaws. This is the part that takes prayer, humility, and a teachable spirit. No matter how great an entry is, there’s always going to be something that could have been done better. Some of the comments are easy to swallow, and some of them take more time to digest. To discover even one nugget that improves the quality of the piece makes the whole contest worth the time and effort.
If you’re unpublished and considering a contest, Genesis is the best! Two things to keep in mind:
1. Be ready to accept both the praise and the criticism in the spirit with which it is given, and
2. Never, ever, write about a woman stuck in a trunk.