Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Once Upon A Time...
That's a lot of non-finaling entries. (In only two of the many categories. More than 400 entries didn't final.)
That's a lot of hopes dashed.
That's a lot of 'back to the drawing board.'
I talked to a friend over the weekend who didn't final. (She wasn't entered in any of the categories I coordinated, so I didn't know how she did until the entire finalist list came out. The Genesis is compartmentalized by category and no coordinator knows what is going on in another category.) She was sad, a little chagrined because she's agented and has gotten interest in her manuscript, and maybe a little bewildered. All very natural responses.
In response, I shared with her some of my own Genesis experience, and because I thought it might be helpful to some of my friends who didn't score as highly in this year's Genesis contest as they had hoped, I thought I would share it here.
In 2008, I submitted three manuscripts into the Genesis contest- two historical romances and one chick-lit.
One historical romance placed third.
The chick-lit won.
And one historical romance got trashed. Low scores, comments from the judges that made me wince.
Here's the reality. The chick-lit that won the category? It is a grand total of five chapters long, and I haven't looked at it since.
The third place entry was published in February of this year -- The Marriage Masquerade.
And the entry that got such harsh criticism from the judges?
That entry, after taking the judges' comments into account and revisions, was released this month.
Clara and the Cowboy.
I'm so proud of this book. I worked harder on it than anything I've written before. I did more revisions after the book was accepted than ever before. The Genesis judges weren't the last folks to pummel that manuscript. My beloved content editor Rachel pushed me hard on the rewrites.
And that book is in print today as a result of all that hard work, as a result of the judges and my editors pushing me.
So if you didn't final in the Genesis, take it as a barometer of where you are on THAT manuscript, but not a barometer on the future of that work. Use the comments to make the story better, and push yourself to improve.
Good things will happen.