Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Best of Seekerville from the Archives and Giveaway

Exploring Contest Mood Disorder by Tina Radcliffe

Contest mood disorder is defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood, referred to as mania brought on by contest results.

Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or combined episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time.

Depending on the number of contests entered these episodes which are normally separated by periods of normal mood, may rapidly alternate between mania and depression, this is also known as rapid cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to hallucinations and delusions.

Symptoms and Examples

Contest mania:

Contest Coordinator Sally Bliss calls to tell you not only did your entry take first place but the editor called it "charming" and she'd like the first three chapters immediately.

Dear Lord, all is well with the world and you are going to sell a book.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Contest depression:

Contest Coordinator Harriett Hardheart emails to tell you that you took Second Honorable Mention. (Honorable Mention?? There were three finalists and three places. How could there be an HM?)

And btw, she sends along the editor comments.

The word "flawed" jettisons from the screen and stabs you in the left eyeball.


You don't need that eyeball anyhow. It's not like you're a writer or anything.

Extreme contest mania:

A double whammy!! Perfect scores from the contest judges on the Chewed Pencil Contest for Unpublished Writers. you tear open the manila envelope that just arrived.


It's a request for a full from your DREAM AGENT who judged your first 25 pages in the Heaving Bosom. She even put little smiley faces on the manuscript pages. She loves you and your soon-to-be, New York Times best-selling manuscript.

You immediately quit your day job, go to the bank ---no you Snoopy Dance to the bank and withdraw your meager savings for a ticket to Paris to write the book of your heart.

C'est la Vive.

Rapid Cycling:

The combined phenomena of manic and depressive stages for a contest entrant.

Think up, down, up, down.

You finally have time to read the contest results sitting on your desk.

Judge ST (upid) 404 says, "Characters are without feeling."

Judge ST 88, "I love these characters. Especially the grandmother!!"

The postal carrier tosses the mail at your front porch and runs away.

Oh, look, the return address is that other DREAM AGENT who called you on the phone and requested the full of your new paranormal historical, Lord Demon Lover, after you won the prestigious Golden Harp.

"I apologize for keeping your manuscript for forty-five months. I was torn, but in the end didn't love it. Best of luck placing this elsewhere."

As you reach for a sharp instrument, you notice,


From the editor who requested your manuscript after judging the first five pages in the Opening Peek Contest.

Your heart leaps into your throat and your stomach roils (honest) as you read her email.

Dear Susan (my name is Tina!),

Regretfully, Kiss and Tell is not quite right for our line. The heroine is flat (no, no, no, she wears a 36 D!!) and your hero Ben (his name is Sam) lacks motivation.

Thank you for the opportunity to read Kiss and Tell.


Agnes Butterbaum, Editorial Assistant to the Editorial Assistant's Editorial Assistant

(Who? You submitted Kiss and Tell to Winifred Mupple, Senior Editor)


The phone rings and wouldn't you know it....'s your mother (insert mixed feelings here).

She loves your new manuscript but wonders if you can tone down the s-e-x.

You explain that it is an inspirational romance and there is no s-e-x.

Treatment Options:

Consume PRN. (as needed)

May refill prescription endlessly.

This post first appeared in Seekerville on July 2, 2008

Here's a secret I haven't told before this..99 percent of this post is true and reflects my writing career. I am thrilled and grateful however that my debut release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired, The Rancher's Reunion will be in my hands in January 2011. Stop by my web page for more details.

Today, as part of our 3rd Seekerville Birthday Party, we are giving away4 prizes: a 20 page Seeker critique & Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot by Peter Dunne, and anUnpubbed Island Necklace and a surprise Seeker book giveaway.

Just let us know you want your name in the drawing. Winners announced in tomorrow's Weekend Edition.


  1. Wow this contest stuff is serious business huh? Well I got a few chuckles especially from the "flat heroine!" And uh well I kinda would like to read Lord Demon Lover. I like paranormal stuff. :-P

    XOXO~ Renee

  2. LOL! Love it! And so much is so true it hurts! Ouch!

    I'm in for the drawings :).

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  3. I think I've been through some of this recently.

    Walt (who will be glued to the TV today, praying that his beloved Auburn Tigers beat the Razorbacks)

  4. Do we still need to leave e-mails?


  5. WOW makes me appreciate authors so much more. Thank you.


  6. I totally remember when this was first posted. Too, too funny. Thanks for this walk down memory lane.

    Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

    ericavetsch at gmail dot com

  7. Totally cracked up over this line: The heroine is flat (no, no, no, she wears a 36 D!!)

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  8. Hilarious, but oh so true!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  9. Arrggh!!! It sounds so painful!!! :/
    I would love to be in the draw for both the books! ;D I'm not so ready for the others yet. :)
    Thanks, Seekerville!! You Rock!! And Happy Birthday again!! :)

  10. Oh, and Tina - love your new website!! So simple and clear!! Love it!! :)

  11. Thanks for the laugh at the end of a long week! And I'd love to be entered for any of the prizes . . . reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  12. I might have a mood disorder. Most people around me are afraid to tell me though.

  13. Oh, so much drama! What an exciting life I (hopefully!) have to look forward to! ;)

    I'd love a chance at the necklace. :D




  14. Thanks for the article. How funny but yet so true.
    A writer's journey is so filled with ups and downs.
    Please enter me in the drawing for the books.

  15. So Tina, did you got to Paris or is that the 1% that not you?
    Dont enter me for a critique only writing im doing is reports, reports and did I mention reports!
    funny talked to a friend doing similar subjects infact some are the same with a different lecturer and shes not doing reports! One thing I do know how to write a report!

    ok that was totally of the subject. I am so glad you will be debuting your book in the new year. I may be going overseas in Jan so may be able to get your book then which would be so exciting.

  16. Hi, thanks for the blog, it's always always great to take a trip down Memory Lane.

    Please enter me in the drawing

    Thank you

  17. That was a great post - lots of fun and laughs with truth thrown in for good measure (sorry about the cliche!)


  18. So true. How human we are when we let the criticisms stab us and let the positives float us to the moon! So glad you lived to tell the tale!

    Enter me in the book giveaway...I still need to get pages written for a critique.

    Peace, Julie

  19. I am so glad I've experienced contest syndrome myself. It's good writing 'research' to have your heart ripped out and your entrails stepped on, as well as, getting 'the call' (the contest call) and not being able to stop smiling for a week. (and all for the same 25 pages...)

    Thanks for the reminder, Tina.
    Have a great weekend, everyone. I have my writer clothes on, I'm burrowing into my cave, and I'm going to WRITE till it hurts today.

  20. I remember this post well. I actually have it bookmarked from the last time because I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I recognize a lot of these symptoms. It's good to know a full recovery is possible with proper treatment (a sale!) Congrats, Tina, and thanks for the laugh!

  21. Oh, man, do I remember that roller coaster ride! Praised with "I expect to see this book on the shelves soon. I can't wait to read the rest of it!" And then a different judge: "Don't quit your day job." LOL

    Mister Glued-to-The-TV -- yes, please do continue to leave your email so that we know you want to be entered in a given day's contest. Tina can correct me, but if you post multiple time during the day you don't need to leave your email every time, just once.

  22. Oh, my! Authors endure so much! As simply a reader, I had no idea! I'll appreciate your work more and pray that God blesses you abundantly:)
    I am grateful for the opportunity to win the books or necklace. THANKS!

  23. Funny stuff. Thanks for sharing that. Great levity after yesterday.

  24. Tina, I was surprised when you said this post was your story.

    I could have sworn it was mine. LOL

    Love the prescription though.

    I'll have a chocolate sundae on mint ice cream now since I'm UP with a request for a full. After a DOWN from a rejection earlier this week.

    Off to my niece's wedding. That is definitely UP and must be research for a romance wouldn't you say?

  25. Love the post, Tina! I'm currently waiting for a couple contest results, so I'm readying myself (insert loaded up on chocolate) for the roller coaster ride. :o)

    Please enter me in the drawing.


  26. Tina

    That was so great. Here's the contract, sign here!

    And off to Paris you go! ;D

    Looking forward to reading your book. We're Snoopy dancin' right with you. (And consuming copious amounts of chocolate. Kroger is having a sale on Cadbury bars.)

    Your judge names are what got me LOL. And the "Heaving Bosom" contest. Too funny!

    And then to find out you're writing what you know... Ha!

    I'm just starting to do some contests, little by little, thanks to y'all, so will keep this to apply PRN.

    To help me with the next phase, I'd adore a critique.
    May at maythek9spy dot com but any of the thoughtfully chosen prizes would be fab.

    Happy Happy Seekerville!

  27. Contests... I guess hope springs eternal here...

    I swore I'd only enter four this year. I've lost count and still have to get my golden heart package done.

    Please put me in the book drawing.

  28. I had to look back to see who Mr. Glued to the TV is. DUH!!!

  29. Thanks for commiserating with me.

    Yes, Jenny, Paris is my 1%. Gee I haven't traveled outside the US (cept lots of trips to Canada) since I was in the Army. THIS IS THE YEAR I get my passport.

  30. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 16, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    Wow! First thank you for sharing your ups and downs while waiting to get published!! I receive 3 books a month from Love Inspired so maybe next month your will be included. I know that next month is Nov. but when you get the books mailed they send them out 2 months before they go on store shelves. Which is why I have been receiving Christmas books since August. LOL! I can't wait to read your book and good luck with your contests! Please just enter me in for the books. I haven't started writing so as cool as a critique would be I want someone who could use it right away.

  31. Ruth Dell, I was just thinking about you.

    Hey all, the coffee is on btw and the bagels are fresh.

    Thanks for stopping by on your Saturday.

  32. Laura, what a nice and scary thing to say, LOL.

  33. Tina:

    Funny, but oh, so accurate!!

    Looking forward to reading your debut book.

    Sorry I wasn't here with the coffee. Had a case of the writer doldrums and went to bed early.

    helengray AT boycomonline DOT com

  34. So funny and true, Tina -- thanks for sharing this one again. I haven't jumped on the contest roller coaster much lately because I don't find many for juvenile fiction. If any of you resident Contest Mavens know of some for juvenile/middle grade stories, I would love (???) to check them out. In the meantime, maybe a Seekerville crit would help gauge things for me.

    Brought hot-and-gooey-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls for the brunch crowd. Prescriptive sundae refills will come later. :-) Happy weekend, y'all!


  35. Oh, my goodness, these are all the things I go through in my head everyday without even entering any contests! Which is why I haven't entered one!

  36. Hilarous comment "Character is flat, no she's a 36D).

    I'd love to be in the drawing.

  37. Might be an "oldie" but it's a "goodie".

    Thanks for reposting this.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  38. You see. We're all very alike inside our writer brains.

    Leigh, I will look around for Juvie contests for you and KC.

  39. Too funny, Tina. I just went through that last week! A roller coaster ride and all in the same contest. Still haven't had the courage to re-open that devastating one (where the judge took great pleasure in trying to destroy my confidence) and try to take something constructive out of it. I guess it's like ripping the band-aid off a wound. Maybe tomorrow...

    So glad to know we all go through it!

    Love your website, btw. Oh-no. Just looked at my word verification. Can you believe it's "fartings"? LOL. I think I'll apply that to the nasty judge!!

    Happy weekend everyone!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  40. Super funny post! :-)

    Please put me in the drawing for the suprise Seeker books.


  41. Oh, I'm sure that's the way it is with writing . Up one day and down the next, pretty much like life sometimes. That's why I'm so glad that Christian authors stay determined to stick to their writing. I'm glad too... cause I enjoy it so much. Thank you authors!

  42. What an emotional roller-coaster we put ourselves through.

    Maybe we need to invite a psychiartrist to Seekerville!

  43. Okay that might be experience from real life, but that is SO funny! A wonderful pick me up and sooo timely because a couple of us Alley residents were JUST talking about this amongst ourselves! Talk about PERFECT TIMING! Wonderful post, lovely humor, and I couldn't help laughing about the "flat heroine". You must really know your characters if you know.... that.:)

    I already have an unpubbed island necklace, so if I may be so bold, ANY of the prizes would thrill my socks off!



    Oh sorry, caps lock was on. hehe......

  45. Love this post. So true. Submissions is very much a roller coaster ride.

  46. Oh my goodness!!!! This was just too funny! I have only entered two contests and both were fairly good experiences. I'm sure that the more I enter, then bigger the roller coaster will be. Now, where is my motion sickness medicine? ;)

    I'd love to be entered!
    sherrinda (at)gmail (dot) com

  47. OMIGOSH ... I SOOOOO needed this today, Teenster, after the revision letter (gulp!) I got from my editor yesterday -- THANK YOU!!! You had me laughing out loud all over the place, girl -- brilliant piece, really!!


  48. This is absolutely hilarious and SO true!!!!

    Congrats on your debut being almost here! :-) Yay!

    Enter me for that critique, please. jessica_nelson7590 at yahoodotcom

  49. I seriously love this!!!! Great stuff today and a chuckle I needed!

    Funny, I just learned (very intimately) in the last 3 months what a PRN is (My baby is hurting, PRN STAT!!! I pretend I'm a nurse... what can I say!

    And, uh, did you really quit your job and buy a ticket to Paris??? Or was that the 1% untrue part... *grin*

    Krista at kristaphillips dot com:-)

  50. I loved this post! Thanks for taking it out of the archives. It's so true!
    Love to enter the drawing ;)

  51. Please include me in the drawing.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Jodie Wolfe

  52. Oh how funny!!
    You really outdid yourself, Tina - and it your own manic way, comforted 90% of the reading population of Seekerville. :-)
    We ARE NOT ALONE!!!!

    I have a prescription for Hershey dark chocolate...endless refills. It helps keep those pesky tics under control.

  53. Wow! really interesting.


  54. Mmmmm that ice cream sundae looks so good.

    Oh, sorry. What were saying? Oh yes. Contests. I get a little crazy when people talk about contests since it's been so long since I entered one!

  55. I missed you, Seekerville! The last few days have been so crazy...

    Great last few post! At least I was able to go back and read them. :)

    Btw, Ruthy, I thought the mouse was cute. If only they'd stay outside!


  56. Awe, what a sweet thing to say Tori Lynn! Welcome back.

    And Helen, btw, what's going on in your writing work???

  57. Thanks for the entertaining, commiserating post about the psychology of aspiring writers. Loved it.

    This week has been my first exposure to Seekerville, and I'm loving how much I feel at home here!

    Please do include me in the drawing. Thanks so much!


  58. ROFL!~ Tina, I SOOO relate to this. VERY cute post.

    Love it.


  59. I loved the posting today! Course I love the postings everyday because I love visiting Seekerville. That said I would love to be entered into your drawing for all but the critique (I'm not quite there yet). Thanks for all the knowledge you all impart on us visitors! :)

    Cindy W.


  60. Hi Tina:

    Love your post! It has inspired me to add a new layer about contest paranoia to my WIP, “Characters in a Romance.” This will give me a chance to show how the characters react to negative comments from contest judges. My romance characters can rant at both the judges and the authors! (I can just see the character ‘flashing’ the judge who made the ‘flat’ comment.)

    BTW-1: Who is going to do NaNo this year?
    I am going to do part III of “Characters in a Romance”. I did about 60K in 2008, and 60K in 2009, and should do 60K in 2010.

    BTW-2: NaNo has new options to meet your current writing needs. Check out:

    “All projects are welcome! Here is the list of NaNo options:

    Novella NaNo--A single project that is up to 25,000 words
    Novel NaNo--A single project that is expected to be more than 25,000 words, but less than 100,000
    Single Title NaNo--Going for the Gold? A single project that is aimed for 100,000 words or more.
    Build Your Own Nano--Set your own goal, even if it's to finish multiple
    projects to meet a certain word count or a set number of words per day.”

    BTW-3: I’d like to win the 20-page Seeker critique on my WIP but I really don’t think that there will be 20 pages worth of mistakes to critique in my manuscript. If I win, could I just receive about 3 pages of critique?

    BTW-4: your new website is so beautiful I spent all my time just looking at it! I promise to go back later and read it.

    BTW-5: “Brain Drops” creates a rather indelicate mental image. How about “Mind Drops”?

    BTW-6: No one has to wait until January to read “The Rancher’s Reunion”. The book should be available at 12:01 am on December 1 at eHarlequin. Go to: (Why would anyone wait 30 more days when they don’t have to?)

    BTW-7: I’m working on '100 ways to advance a character’s arc' and '100 ways to demonstrate a hero’s sense of humor'. I am also considering doing '100 ways to implement a Moral Premise'. In fact, I am going to work on these projects right now.

    Happy Weekend,


  61. Casey, better not take my...uh...typing for it.

    I was winging it, and I'm still not sure it's correct.

    But I was too lazy to look it up.

  62. Vince, LOL, I fell over laughing with enjoyment of course at your post.

    Thanks for all the helpful tips!!

    My personal favorite:


    Critiques aren't about mistakes good buddy. But you sure are entertaining.

  63. Would you believe I once received a rejection letter that had a piece of fried chicken stuck to the page?

    No joke!

    She must have been eating Kentucky Fried as she reviewed my manuscript.

  64. In my early unpubbed years...(notice the word YEARS)...I was rejected by an agent and didn't write for the next 6 months.

    Oh my! I had so much to learn!

  65. And thank you for the kind and very helpful comments. It's good to have you around to keep me on track.

  66. Congratulations on your debut! Please put my name in the drawing.

    Mary M

  67. Tina:

    You asked where I am with my writing.

    Spent the last two years doing contests. This is to be the year of the submissions.

    I got my two conference requested ones out. Just stared a new project this week.

    Don't have much of a plot yet.
    Just a beginning. I know the end. Just don't know how I'm going to get there. Wrestling ideas.

    Not on a schedule yet. I give myself as much time as I need for the first chapter. Usually rework it two or three times before I move on.


  68. Good for you, Helen. Are you starting a new project or staring at one? I ask because I am starting one and for me that begins with staring at it...FOR HOURS.

    Mary M. Thank you so much.

    Widsith, glad you could join us. We are a nice group. But you're still going to have to do dishes eventually you know.

    So many nice faces here today. Thanks for stopping by.

  69. Hi, Tina! I'd make a comment about how funny your post is, but I kind of feel you pain. I'm so excited about your book coming out! Congrats!

    Please enter me into the drawing.


    lr. mullin at live. com

  70. As to that medication, you have a SPECIFIC drug in mind.

    No reason.


  71. Tina:

    I got it right without realizing it. I really am staring at it.

    It takes some staring before I can get my teeth into a new story. Have to get to know my characters, setting, etc.

    In my first comment I said I went to bed early last night because of a case of writer doldrums. You defined it with the hours of staring.

    Nice to know I'm in the boat with good company.


  72. Thanks, Linette.

    LOL, Helen. We are all cut from the same carbon paper.

    Mary, dark chocolate is my drug of choice. You need a double dose, hon.

  73. Yay Helen, sounds like you're cranking along.

    and Vince - wow - you are something. Hope you'll share...

    Just stopping by to end the evening on the computer. My Mom's here and I'm going to join her with the Golden Girls (her fave)!

    Bye y'all!

  74. Ooh ooh I want my name in the prize cache.

    Now I'm all discombobulated because of a contest. Thanks so much. Watch me chew my nails off because of this.

    Tina the 2nd

  75. LOL Pam, I keep trying to figure it out on Word and it won't give me the right answer, but your spelling looks a LOT better than mine! And I don't know how to spell it well enough to look it up. :D

  76. Ewwww Debby! I like fried chicken but not leftovers especially someone elses! Yuck!

    XOXO~ Renee

  77. @Vince - that sounds like eHarlequin's sign up. The official Nano site is 50K in 30 days of a new fiction project to count [though it is an honor system]. They do have a 'rebel' forum, but you still have to have at least 50K.

    @Julie - rewrites make you, um, stronger. Yeah. And watch how badly I bawl when I get some ;). You're next on my list to read, sweetie!

    I've entered in my first real contest and am about to enter my second. Can you say EEK?!

    @Helen - I'll do the dishes for Tina - haven't written a word in two days anyway :).

  78. Carol you are just cracking me up girl.


  79. Hey everyone!!
    As you know weekends are harder for me to stop by : ) LOL! It's true...I'm much busier *wink*

    Nice post today! I agree with Renee, this contest stuff IS serious business. I have to say that I look forward to the day that I might begin to dip my toes into these undisturbed areas of contests for will be stressful, fun, and totally eye opening I'm sure. Thanks for all the great information!

    @KC, The Golden Girls!!! AWESOME choices *grin* One of my suitemates lvoes them as much as me and owns almost all the seasons, it's fabulous!!

    I'd love to be entered for the books again because as you know I have no writing to be critiqued yet : / We'll get there, hopefully!


  80. That is a lot to deal with before getting published, but reading it in this format sure is funny!


  81. @Tina - I am so glad I crack you up ;). It's my goal in life =D. Not really, but I get that often in forums like this and wish I could translate that onto the pages of a novel. I just don't write funny fic... Or not often anyway ;).

    I entered Novel Journey's romance category. The announcement is on my birthday - eek! I'm also contemplating OH ACFW's Hook Me contest but need to go through my first 1000 words again and edit.

    I was also contemplating Golden Hearts but a. I don't have my RWA membership yet and b. I have like a month and c. while it doesn't need rewrites, it does need edits and a 'real' critique partner to go through it with me [have had a few beta readers who are fabu but this is outside of their ability levels - overall story, etc sure but polishing to query/publish/contest stage? not as much - and I loathe saying that because I do love them...] so dunno if that's gonna happen this year - may just wait for Genesis :).

    I have written about 23 words on my Novel Track project though ;). So that's something...

  82. Oh - and I left out a few more EEK!s Add them in where you see fit ;).

  83. And then three more EEK!s and an EEP! or two.

  84. I'd love to be included in the surprise book drawing ;) And thanks for sharing that column! Still great the second time around!

  85. Thank you for the early morning laugh. I've been skulking around getting the turkey in the roaster, as this is "Christmas" for us...grandkids stayed over last night, and today's the big day, since Grandpa returns to Iraq on Weds. after his R& R. was good to be transported to the "real" world to which I'll return when he leaves...up and down, up and down....and I would love to be in the drawing for the 20 pg, love, love it. Thank you for being here, Seekerville, Gail Kittleson

  86. This is great! I've had my own bouts of contest mood disorder so I really like the way you remedy it!

    Please enter me in the drawing.


  87. Oh Gail, say hi to "Grandpa" for us and our prayers go with him. Will add him to our prayer list.

    Hey Margay, good to see you again!!

  88. Gail - So special that you're having your family Christmas today. Praying for you and "Grandpa" as he returns to Iraq.

  89. Hi CarolM

    You are right. That is an eHarlequin link. I thought that it was just a ‘friends’ affinity group on the actual NaNo site. I will be doing the real NaNo according to their rules. I need to think up a new idea for a book, real quick.


  90. Hi KC:

    Yes, I’ll share. I’m doing these lists to share with writers and because I enjoy the creative challenge. Actually, I think if you look at 100 ways to do something, you’ll think of many different ways on your own that more exactly meet the needs of your WIP. It’s just a kind of idea generator.

    I have one list up now on “106 Ways to Show Your Hero and Heroine Falling in Love”.



  91. Tina, your post proves once again that a good laugh trumps a cry any day! Thank you!

    Happy weekend!