Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Best of Seekerville from the Archives and First Five Pages Critique

Dreams. . . and growing as a writer by Glynna Kaye.

If you're reading this, you probably have a dream. A dream that springs from the depths of your heart. A dream of sharing the stories you love to write with readers who eagerly pluck them from a bookstore shelf.

Dreams move us forward--filled with expectant hope. But writing for publication has a twist that not all dreams possess: it's a business. Big Business. And as much as we artistic types might wish to ignore that fact, we can't allow ourselves such a luxury if we are to achieve and sustain our dream. Publishing competition is fierce. So even after winning multiple contests, we can't settle back with a complacent smile and allow our growth as a writer to stagnate while we await "The Call."

That's where contests continue to play an important role for me, providing a vital means of learning the craft of writing. You can have a billion fabulous ideas, but if you can't convert them into plausible plots, convincing characters, and winning appeal, well. . . best of luck.

I don't know about you, but I can eagerly devour a book on a facet of writing, ooh and ahh at the insights, then forget (in an embarrassingly short time) what I read. I'm a hands-on learner. I have to apply--again and again--what I hear or read, so that it roots deeply and permanently into my wordsmithing repertoire.

Contests are to my writing what an apprenticeship is to other professions. I don’t enter my manuscripts merely to be a Contest Queen or because I have nothing better to do with my time (or money!). In these "waiting room" days, I'm committed to developing my writing skills in order to become the best writer I can be. For the time being, that means taking advantage of top-notch contests for the unpublished.

One of these days--God & Editor willing--"The Call" will come. At that point I'll no longer be eligible to semi-anonymously test the waters with a new idea, a plot twist, a synopsis, or characters. I'll lose the opportunity for real-life reader feedback before my story is assigned an ISBN number. I'll lose the opportunity to revise, enter again, and see if I've "nailed it" this time. Believe me, I'll happily give up those privileges! But in the midst of awaiting the reality of my field of dreams, I'm determined to use this time wisely. To me, contests aren't just about winning or catching an editor’s eye. They're also about growing. And stretching. And drawing closer to your full potential as a writer.

Glynna Kaye’s Steeple Hill Love Inspired Dreaming of Home is a 2010 “Carol Award” and “Maggie Award” finalist, as well as a first place winner of the “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. Her next books (also set in Canyon Springs, Arizona) are Second Chance Courtship releasing February 2011, and At Home In His Heart debuting August 2011!

Glynna is giving away a copy of Second Chance Courtship today, to one lucky visitor.

Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

This post first appeared in Seekerville November 1, 2007.

Don't forget...

Today is the last day to be considered for our weekly critique.
More info here.


  1. Could I really be first?! Forty-five minutes later?!

    /sets out her Practically Perfect Percolator and homemade cinnamon rolls/

    Tina - dunno if you'll see it, but I did respond to your last comment to Andrea yesterday. And we tried to convince my 'other mom' to come hang out with us over here too. We'll see if she does.

    I'm just starting the whole contest thing. We'll see how it goes overall. Genesis is the one that really scares me but that could only be because I'm woefully ignorant of the others ;).

    I'm in for the five pages if I'm not already and book giveaways always rock.

    I took a 3+ hour nap this evening so I'm going to try to get some editing done. If it crosses your mind, a quick prayer for hubby would be appreciated. He hardly ever gets sick but is tonight :(.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  2. Carol, congrats on being first. Praying for your husband.

    Glynna Kaye, thanks for the reminder to dream AND DO!


    Peace, Julie

  3. Carol, sorry to hear that. Surely will.

    One of the things that is so special about Seekerville is that y'all prayed yourselves off the island, one by one. What a testament to Grace.

    Exciting to see your wonderful cover Glynna! Congrats!

    I think I'm already "in" for the drawing.

    Have a good one...

  4. Carol, loving the coffee and cinnamon rolls! Thanks, kiddo!!!

    And do not ever, ever, ever be afraid of the Genesis. Really, truly, that is one of my favorite contests...

    Great feedback (and I entered multiple years and had this experience every year)

    Great connections with agents and editors (once I was finaling it was amazing the amount of interest I got first-hand and through my agent because of those finals...)

    Great friends...

    Who have made it a habit of KICKING MY BUTT in contests for 6 or 7 years now...

    Take your time. That's okay and smart to do. Have fun. Be nervous. (Do not ask me how I crashed and burned on those first contest returns when I was pretty darn certain I was all that and a bag o' chips... Oh, mylanta, I was such a gooooooof.)

    I'm so proud of you, this tenacity and hard work. Remember Edison and that light bulb, trying 5,000 times....

    And then saying:

    "What if I'd stopped at 4,999???"

    And that's what it's all about.

    And my word veri is "raputhi"

    I think that's the Nigerian version of Ruth.


  5. TALK ABOUT A BLAST FROM THE PAST! I wrote that "archive" post three years ago--when I had NO idea that just over a year later I'd finally get "the call" after winning first place in "The 2008 Golden Pen" contest. Had no idea that less than 2 years later I'd be holding my first published book in my hands, finding it on bookstore shelves, and available for on-line sales.

    Sooooo, let that be an encouragement to all of you who are still "in the waiting room." Everything can change in a twinkling!

  6. I love being a witness to your dreams coming true, Glynna! It is very encouraging! :-)

  7. fGood Morning!

    Keeping dreams alive is very important but it does require action to make them come true.

    And as many can attest here...with hard work they do come true!

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  8. CarolM, I hope your husband is feeling better. I've got a cold. I'm disgusting. You should probably hose down your computer with Lysol after just reading my comment.... THAT'S how bad this cold is.

    Of course my husband isn't sick. He shakes off everything.

    He broke a rib two weeks ago and it scared me to death because he MENTIONED IT. I swear the man can shake off a severed limb.

    So I know how hard it is to have a sick husband.

    Mine is better. Well, better-ish.

  9. Glynna,
    I'm now waiting and reading. I haven't read a book since before September...and that's like forever. I"m waiting on a Publisher and looking for contests also. I'm praying I follow your path. Someday soon...

    dawnford001 at msn dot com

  10. Raputhi, my word veri today is very apt for me too:

    ideragl translated to "Idea Girl" in my brain in the amount of time is takes to say SHAZAAM!!!

    Honestly, who but writers could take ideragl and raputhi and immediately beam it into something else entirely?

    No wonder my friends and family look at me like a space alien sometimes!

  11. Every time I read this post I giggle. In a good way. It really is a peek into the mind of an aspiring author. And if Glynna can say it and mean it..and actually persevere, then you all can.

    Never, ever give up.


  12. I love this post, Glynna! It's an encouraging yet practical look at waiting for The Call.

    Our love of contests here in Seekerville doesn't end with publication. We're still entering contests. Usually pubbed contests dont' give much feedback except if we final or win. But we get our books into the hands of new readers. And editors like hearing that the books they had faith in won contests. And just think, writers' groups can finance programs for their members with our entry fees. Win-win for everyone involved.

    Mary, feel better! Carol, I hope your d/h is on the mend. Lots of colds and worse going around. Saying a prayer for the sickies.


  13. Glynna,
    Beautiful cover! And, no doubt, another wonderful story from sweet you! Can't wait to read it.

    Loved the blog...glad we got a second look at your words of wisdom!

    I arrived in Seekerville by way of Google Images and Snoopy! Amazing technology and I'm not sure how it happened, but it's good to be here.

    I'm on deadline so haven't stopped in as much as I'd like to these past few days.

    Love you all!

    Heading back to my WIP.

  14. What a FANTABULOUS post (so THAT'S why I've got a contest addiction all of a sudden LOL - new at it, but have already got feedback twice. And I'm working on more!).

    Would love the book - maybe the critique more! So put me in for both.

    Oh - and grabbing some cinnamon rolls. Has been a hard one - had to put our cat down this morning. :(

  15. Okay, I confess. I was here before there were any comments. But I decided to not throw my (you supply the adjective) face in your faces first thing and didn't post.

    I remembered the article, but I found rereading it to be fun, because I already knew the HEA. It was kind of like when you peek at the last page of a book, then go back and read, and say "Ah, ha, if you only knew what I know."

    These articles from the archives are well worth the repeat postings!
    And encouraging!


  16. I know, Helen, wasn't it fun to read Glynna's blast from the past, knowing what's happened since then?

    Makes me smile just to think about it!

  17. Also, it's interesting to note that Glynna's debut book was titled "Dreaming of Home"

    How appropriate!

  18. Enjoyed reading this post from the archives, Glynna. I've received helpful feedback from contests. I plan to enter the Genesis next year.So happy to see your publishing dream come true. Major congratulations, Glynna. It's been such an encouragement as I wait to hear that so many Seekers have received "the call" after entering contests. Can I be considered for the first five pages critique? Thank you. And a good weekend everyone Hope Carol's hubby is much better.

  19. Helen, I would put "Beautiful" as my adjective of choice in front of your name.


    And these glimpses into the past are wonderful, wonderful!

    Love it.

    Mary is allowed to whine today. It's the weekend and she should be good to her nose.

    Carol, hug the hubby for me.

    Dawn, good to see you!!!

    And Pat Jeanne, it's such a God-thing that contests (and respect) brought us together....

    and started this blog....

    I love when the Holy Spirit nudges us and we actually LISTEN...


    Persevere, my friend. We've got your back. And I'm settling in right now to read Rocky Mountain Hero with a cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte....

    From the Keurig.

    This is a wonderful life.

  20. I love "the waiting room". I confess I used to think about contests as a way to rack up recognition. The funny thing is though that this notion scared the pants off me, enough to keep me from entering most. It meant I had to be really, really good before I entered.

    Now, years later and with a little more craft under my belt, I view contests differently. I see them as one type of feedback. Critique partners, first readers and others provide different types. It all works together. I still have some apprehension but not nearly as much, not enough to keep me from submitting. Seekerville, you've been a bit part of helping me to move past that.

  21. I am so with Glynna on reading but having said instruction fly out of my brain, and needing to learn by doing. I heard a pastor say: there's 2 ways to learn something. One is personal school of hard knocks. The other is reading about someone else's school-of-hard-knocks experiences. Of course he was speaking about the value of reading Proverbs. But it applies to wordsmithing, too.

    And thanks, Glynna, for validating dreams.

    Mary Kay
    mary [at] marykaymoody [dot] com