Okay, getting back to ol’ stinky, here.
So, have you ever had a really hot streak in contests? I mean, placing in every chapter contest that hosts your category, getting requests right and left, thinking you hold the hottest 300 pages of fiction in history??
Well, okay, maybe a little over the top with the history stuff, but still, for your genre, your entry has become a title to reckon with. You’re on first name basis with a dozen editors. They all request full manuscripts. You are on top of the world. And then. . ..
“Thank you for taking the time to submit your work. . .”
“. . .hard work and good critique groups do wonders for. . .”
“. . .sorry, this just isn’t what we publish.”
And those are some of the tame ones.
Was it something I said??
Of course I passed on the pickled herring on garlic bread. . ..
And so the saga goes. Can anyone relate??
Of course you can. And being the smart writers that you are, after the customary wallowing-in-pity time, you set out on a path to find out the truth. Why do contest judges love my stuff, editors say they’re excited about it, yet rejection letters keep finding their way to Plateau Road??
My problem, I’ve decided, is all in the romance. You see, I’m a romance purist. I’ve never cheated on romance with Sci-Fi or Mainstream Fiction. Uh, uh, if there wasn’t attraction, love and happily ever after, I had little to do with it. And therein lay my problem.
I’m predictable. I’m boring. I’m (dare I admit) cliche.
So, behind the closed doors of my home office, I began a summer affair. And you know what I discovered? There are other authors out there that write really good books in some of the most unlikely genres!
Through all my clandestine dabbling, I seemed most drawn to legal thrillers. How far from romance can you get then deep in the pages of garbled psycho-analysis the likes Perry Mason only dreamed of? Wow, I found enough twists and turns in some of those creations to convolute Romeo and Juliet to kingdom come! And in an odd way, I learned about character development in a fashion I would never have thought of trying. I learned to dig deeper. I learned how to make the insignificant, significant. I learned to remember facts and use them later. Most of all, I learned how to make every detail, every scene count.
Pacing, foreshadowing, tone – I see them all in a different light.
Who says God doesn’t have a plan for us?
God had a plan for this writer and implemented it while I thought I was on vacation. I didn’t need Zest soap or Tic Tacs to be fresh, I needed to go back to Writing 101 and learn to look at fiction from a different perspective.
I’ve got a new book filling files on my computer.
I’m saving precious dollars for entry fees.
I’m watching the calendar for Genesis 2009 to roll around : )
See you there!!
Blessings to all,