Writing Competitions – Want to Win? Part Two

Part Two

Author Annette YoungIn this second article in the Writing Competitions – Want to Win series, I am going to discuss repetition in story ideas. While it’s absolutely fine to reinvent an idea, it should only be considered a starting point. I see a great many stories when judging writing competitions which have not been evolved sufficiently. It’s as if the writer has become stuck in the moment and has not known where to take the story so that it develops, extends and even, diversifies. Instead of the creative process leading the way to something quite unique, the process is stopped short, cut off in its prime.

This can occur through a lack of time or, a lack of creativity at that time.

Sometimes, submissions are beautifully written but even well-written stories cannot compete against those that are well-thought out, read well and show much originality. When we review submissions, we look for creativity and technique of course, but it is a joy to see work from a writer who is capable of extending boundaries, taking an idea and developing it to its full potential.

Don’t be too keen to rush a story. Think it through. What could you do that would make an ordinary story shine?

Tip: Begin with your basic idea but then, craft a story that is powerful and compelling by making it an unpredictable read. Think of alternative endings. Throw in a few obstacles. This alone could make you be in with a chance of winning.

Missed Part One? Read it HERE

Want to have a go at entering a writing competition? Click HERE



Authors Who Seduce

By Judy Weir

A neighbor, a petit ordinary woman, was certain a particular international terrorist had her home targeted. Now’s there’s a woman with a powerful imagination, though a bit twisted. People create illusions for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to spice up their life. Others may visualize scenarios as an exercise to plan strategies. In essence, people create novels in their head all the time. We are all masters of illusion.

In fact, we are illusion junkies. From video games to movies, we seek escape. And what about those fantasies that inspire romantic novels. Honestly now, how many of you have an “x” rated fantasy? Okay, okay, everyone put your hands down. Wow, the heat in this room just rose by ten degrees.

“Turn on the fan, someone! Hey, no pun intended.”

But that’s the whole point. Turn on the fans – particularly their imagination. Every author hopes to ignite the reader’s vision center, rev up their emotional core, and take them to a world they’ve never been.

Each reader’s reaction to a novel differs. Though the novel is well written some may not enjoy the story. Their reaction is based on their values, beliefs, personal history and life experiences. A reader may identify more strongly with one of the characters, or a particular event, or the setting may have taken center stage in the reader’s mind. Regardless of the reader’s reaction, if the author engaged the reader’s imagination, job well done.

There is one illusion which is the mark of a talented author. In these novels, the reader becomes one of the cast of characters – falling in love with the hero, fearing for the protagonist, fighting the antagonist, all as if the characters are living, breathing entities. Creating life-like characters will consume a large amount of the author’s time and talent throughout the plot. It’s not enough to create the big picture of the characters’ physical attributes and prominent personality traits.

The author needs to dig deep into each character’s soul. The scar he attempts to hide, the glance, the hesitation, the crack in his ‘armor,’ her secret desire, the sin, the private fantasy, a painful memory – these need to be tied to the plot in some fashion and be revealed gradually. A new treat every few paragraphs or chapters. The character should exhibit some growth, adaptation, shifting of values, rather than remaining as a static and rigid hero or heroine. The more the characters become three dimensional, the more the reader will be drawn into the fantasy.

Though some books are character driven, the author needs to ensure there is also a strong plot that compliments those characters. The setting should be clearly described to facilitate a demanding plot. Dialogue, character profiles, plot twists need to be carefully crafted in detail to ensure the reader is not confused or has trouble seeing. No one would watch a movie very long if the audio was too low or the screen was out of focus.

Normally a novel should include a balance of the good and evil, protagonist versus the antagonist. There is the possibility either could be victorious. Tension is created. There is an expectation the good will be victorious. The question is how and at what cost. What I demand in a novel I’m reading is that the ending is a surprise. If my imagination can predict the ending, it is likely I’ll put the book down.

I love to hear a reviewer’s comment, “I totally didn’t see it coming.” All thumbs up. I did my job.

Authors are expected to be masters of illusion. Readers are their willing prisoners. Readers want to surrender to the fantasy. Reality is to be blurred so artistically, the reader is unaware of the seduction.

Judy Weir (Feather Stone) is the author of The Guardian’s Wildchild, published in 2011 by Omnific Publishing. Over a course of ten years, the manuscript underwent several rewrites until Feather was certain that the reader would not just read, but also experience the love and hatred, fear and anticipation. Read more about The Guardian’s Wildchild at: http://www.featherstoneauthor.com

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Why Book Editors Reject Fiction Proposals

By Adrienne DeWolfe

As a book writing coach, I answer that question a lot when folks want to know how to become an author.

As strange as it may seem, even good book writing gets rejected sometimes. In the Western genre, for instance, the bottom has fallen out of the market. As a result, only the best of the best published authors, who have a strong and loyal reading audience, get offered contracts for Western book proposals.

The good news is that publishing is a cyclical business, and the success of recent movies, like True Grit and Cowboys and Aliens, has given Western writers hope that book editors will start buying Westerns again.

But what if you’re writing a popular fiction genre, sales are booming, and you still can’t find an editor to buy your book?

It’s a lot harder to explain why book editors reject fiction writers who appear to be doing everything right.

One of my novel writing students falls into this category. She’s writing Romance novels, which statistically outsell every other fiction genre.

She has taken a half-dozen online writing courses.

She has workshopped her manuscript with at least three published Romance authors (all of whom have praised her story and promised her testimonials for her book cover).

She has hobnobbed with book editors and literary agents at all the important writing conferences. She has even won an award as an up-and-coming (if unpublished) Romance author.

So why do book editors continue to send back her fiction proposal?

I have to admit, I’m beginning to think that her book writing isn’t the problem. Call it Karma, call it Timing, call it the Will of a Higher Power, but she just hasn’t been able to sell that book. I’m as bummed by her latest rejection letter as she is.

The frustration of my writing student has motivated me to write this article to illuminate the many personal and professional considerations that impact the book buying decisions made by editors and publishers.

For instance, book editors have to read your manuscript a minimum of 2 times (plus all your revisions) before your story goes to press. Mind-boggling, eh? If I were a book editor who had to read every blessed word in a 400-page manuscript more than 2 times, you can be sure that I would only purchase a story that I absolutely loved!

Here’s another eye-opener:

In mega corporations like Doubleday Random House, fiction book editors don’t make decisions all by their lonesome. If they fall in love with your story, they have to convince a whole slew of other publishing professionals (sometimes referred to as the Editorial Committee) that you’re worth spending money on — and I’m not just talking about your advance against royalties.

Publishers have to hire an artist and models to pose for your book cover’s illustration. They have to consider the price of advertising and promotion, commodities (like paper), and the commissions that they’ll owe to their sales team for shopping your book to national distributors. In short, publishers incur a lot of operating expenses to print and market a book.

So you can bet that the book editor who is reading your story for the first time is not only evaluating your writing skills, she’s weighing the business consequences of championing your fiction proposal to the Editorial Committee.

If your story should fail to generate revenue for her employer — the publisher — she’ll have some explaining to do. And if that editor finds herself buying a few too many books that bomb financially…

Well, let’s just say that book editors have career aspirations, too.

If you want to know how to become an author, here’s my best advice: keep the faith in your publication dream, and write books.

In the immortal words of Irwin Shaw, “If you’re a real writer, you’ll write no matter what.”

About Adrienne deWolfe

Published by Bantam Books and Avon Books, Adrienne deWolfe is an award-winning genre fiction novelist and book writing coach based in Texas. She offers the free, downloadable report, “20 Questions Editors Ask Before Buying Your Book,” which can be accessed at http://eepurl.com/eGgbs For more tips about the business (and humor) of novel writing, check out her blog at http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Why-Book-Editors-Reject-Fiction-Proposals&id=6870124] Why Book Editors Reject Fiction Proposals