contests, scores

Digesting Genesis Scores

I received my scoresheets from the second contest I entered, The Genesis, which was sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Overall I was happy with the scores. It was the equivalent of an A and two C’s. Two C’s, you might ask? Well, yes. For someone not expecting to final, for someone entering their very first manuscript into a contest, I would say those are pretty good scores!

It was so interesting to go through and read the comments made by the three judges. Some had some very detailed and helpful critiques that will definitely make my story stronger and more alive. It seems I struggle with backstory and info dumping. It’s funny, because I had people read my story and say they were confused at the beginning and needed more background. Hhhmmmm. There’s got to be a balance, don’t you think?

There were a few comments that I thought were subjective. I know there is a wide variety of thought regarding what is appropriate for CBA. What is acceptable is changing fast and really, it all depends on the publisher you choose to target.

What I thought most interesting is the difference in the scoring between the Genesis and the Touch By Love contest, in which I finaled. The Genesis only accepts the first 15 pages of manuscript, while the TBL accepted 30 pages. I wondered if I would have done better in the Genesis if judges could have kept reading. One judge in the TBL told me my first chapter needed work, so most likely it really does! (I believe this is where the backstory and info dumping factors in.)

So as I begin to continue editing this book of mine, I will take the judges comments and sift through them, implementing the suggestions that seem to come from more than one judge. I will make the changes that make sense and make my story tighter and I will ignore the ones that seem to be more opinion than helpful facts.

I’ve decided I really like contests. They are a good way to get feedback and in some cases, get validation on this writing venture. I’m not going to enter any more this year, but will focus on making this story shine and hopefully begin a new and fresh stroy this summer.

What is the one thing you love about contests? The thing you dislike?

awards, personal

A Grand Week For The Ketchersid Women

What a week for the Ketchersid Women! I’ve already shared that I was a finalist for the Touched By Love Contest, but what I’m really excited about is what my fabulous daughter won last night!

Earlier this school year, she submitted her designs for costumes for her high school musical, Hello Dolly. She was selected to be the costume designer. They were wonderful and her designs got her nominated for the Betty Buckley Award for 2010.

I have to say that since we are not into the “theater world”, I did not realize what a big deal this was. I thought it was just for Birdville ISD schools, and was a banquet at the FAAC. Uh…no. It was NOT a banquet. (And boy was I HUNGRY by the time it was over at 10:30 p.m.!) And it was not at the FAAC. It was at Casa Manana, a theater in near downtown Fort Worth.

And it was a BIG deal. It was like the Academy Awards for High School Theater in the area. There were schools from many school districts in the surrounding cities and they were dressed to the nines. What was funny was after the first award was presented, my daughter looked at me and said, “The winners have to make a speech?” She said she was glad she didn’t have a chance to win, because she definitely didn’t want to make a speech.

Boy, was she shocked when they called her name! She looked at me and asked, “Seriously? Did I win?” She had to look on the screen to make sure! My sweet daughter, walked up on that stage, and made her sweet thank you’s and I was so incredibly proud! And the most exciting thing was she received a $500 scholarship!!!!! Yes, I’m so proud!

We are so blessed and so humbled that God has affirmed His gifting in us. He is the One who has given us any talent that we have and He is the One that should receive the glory.

May you have a blessed weekend!

contest, finalist

BIG News Changes Things

Call me wishy washy. Flighty. Daft. Whatever… but I’ve decided to finish editing my first book. I know what you are thinking. She needs to decide and stick with a plan. She should move on! First books never sell, so why waste your time? Well, I agree with all those things! But yesterday I received news that changed everything.

I finaled in the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter’s Touched By Love Contest!

Now, you might be thinking, so why edit now? Well, the big grand prize for the overall winner is a edit by an editor. I don’t expect to be the overall winner…at all! Seriously, it’s not that I am a pessimist, but I am realistic.  On the other hand, I received some great scores by all three judges and I feel like I should at least be prepared. There’s that “What if…” factor.

AND, the best thing is…I will finally be done with it and be able to say I DID IT!

So bear with me while I go back to the drawing board with this book. I may whine a bit in the next couple of weeks, but I will try to keep my Cranky Pants tucked away in the closet.

characters

Timeline Needed? Really?

I’ve started working on my character charts for my new story. I was going gangbusters with the main character, thinking of awesome and unique traits….way cool stuff. And then I started giving her a family. I gave her quirky parents, hippies who were free spirits. I spun wild tales about her birth, her name, her home life.

And then I realized something most embarrassing.

My heroine is 28. Her parents got married in the 60’s.  Hhhmmmmmm….that would make her, um, MID-FORTIES.

Yep. It’s so embarrassing I decided to blog about it, showing my total newbie-ness. Showing my goofy thought processes. Letting the world see me struggle through this character building.

Okay, so now I have the heroine’s parents getting married in the 80’s. Bleh…what a decade. But, oh wait…mom can still have the BIG hair from the 80’s while in her 50’s. That’s kinda quirky, right? I’m still struggling with her father, but since I graduated while in the 80’s, I should be able to find something fun to use.

I suppose I need a timeline.  A bit tedious, I know. And yes, it will be all backstory, but to make the story work in the present, I need to have the details right in the past. It seems rather silly to go to all that trouble to make timelines and build a past for my characters, but it is important. It’s important because the past makes the present believable. It’s important because my heroine’s past makes her who she is.

So now I continue my character building, trying things out…using pencil so that I can erase when it things don’t work! It’s taking longer than I thought, but I want to be thorough. I want this next story to be TONS better than my first.

You writers out there, how do you build your characters? Any tips? Tricks of the trade?

characters, charts, plot

Prep Work

I wonder how many people like doing prep work. You know, taping around doors and windows before you paint your bedroom. Steaming and scraping old wallpaper before you paint or lay down new paper. Or how about hoeing or tilling the ground before planting seeds for a garden.

I don’t always like the prep work for anything involving manual labor. I think it has to do with my intense dislike for sweating. But let me do the prep work for a new story and I’m all over that!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my new story and while I still haven’t found my Plot & Structure book, I’ve been reading up plotting and character development on some great writing blogs (Hi Seekerville Ladies!) I’ve also been looking through my synopsis class notes (Hi Camy Tang!) which will be a tremendous help in getting a synopsis completed BEFORE I write! Yes, I am plotting deep and strong this time around. Today I am printing out my charts and hope to get them filled out this week in preparation for my summer writing spree.

These next three weeks will be spent developing my characters, working on their GMCs, and developing a plot. Today I am printing out my character and GMC charts and will begin getting some of these ideas out of my head and onto paper. Yes, I like to do it by hand, the old fashioned way, when I do my prep work. There is something organic, freeing, and creative in feeling the pen glide across the page.

I love the creative aspect of writing. I love ideas coming together to make a story. I’m getting excited!

How many of you like the prep work? Or do you find it a necessary evil? What is YOUR process?