Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TGIF ;-)

I was supposed to post this on Friday, but it's Tuesday. I have a good Writer's Reason for being late. On Friday I was finishing up my editing to get two submissions into the Frontiers in Writing contest sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers!

Other than contests that were entered on my behalf by College directors, this is the first writers contest I've ever entered and, on my personal journey of writing, another step I can mark off that little "To Do" we all carry around in the back of our head.

In talking it over with some fellow PnP'ers I solidified in my own mind the Good Things (tm/ Martha Stewart) that I can get from taking this important step. And none of them include winning ;-)

First of all, I performed the steps to enter the contest -- including following all the rules, checking and double checking the items to include, etc. and that is good for me, because I have a little trouble -- like most moms of a certain age -- with covering all the bases, and keeping all the balls in the air that I juggle.

Second, I am looking forward to receiving -- no offense, fellow PnP'ers -- completely objective critique from people who have no stake in sparing my feelings, or stroking my ego. Just straight feedback as un-subjective as it can be on stuff I've written. I look to this to give me some useful stylistic and even grammatical pointers.

And Finally, I did it. The fact that I did it at all is a 'uuuge step in my pathway, as I'm usually one of the "also rans" who woulda, coulda, shoulda entered...but, alas (a big sigh always accompanies this admission) I didn't. The reasons vary, but usually follow a loosely prescribed subset of parameters. "I didn't have time", "I wasn't ready", "I'm too chicken", etc, etc, etc.

The lessons I learned in simply entering the contest have me looking forward -- even more -- to the benefits to come from the critiques when the contest is over.

Like: a synopsis isn't a four-letter word. It may be tough to summarize a full-length novel in a two-page, double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font...but once you have, full-blown clarity opens out to you like a clearing in the woods. A synopsis becomes like a road map that gives you a bird's eye view. It lets you look at the novel in a different light, not from the inside where everything you're looking at is distorted because you're too close to it. A synopsis lets you spot, almost impartially, those places where the scenery surrounding your novel's path is a little...how shall I say this... uhm, thin. I am now a fervent believer in writing synopses... like my trusty road map when I embark on a road trip, I'll never "leave home without it" again. As a matter of fact, I think I will start every book with a synopsis.

The most important thing that happened, though, is that I have "ripped that band-aid" off. See, as I said before, this is the first contest I entered myself... even though I wanted to I've always let some excuse prevent me. Like an old dirty band-aid, long past it's usefulness, my fear needed to be pulled away, and fast, in order for me to progress in my writing life. So, I've done that now. I've gotten over the hurdle, and any contest I enter from here on won't be that dreaded first.

So...no matter the outcome, I've already "won".


MadeByAmanda said...

The synopsis, for me, was really an eye-opener. It helped me focus on what REALLY mattered to the plot and in doing so, I realized I wrote a lot of extra stuff at the end, that I'm just gonna have to cut.

Also I think it helped make the process of submitting to agents and editors less scary, because the ten pages and a synopsis thing is pretty similar to what many of them ask for.

Solard said...

Thanks MaByAm, your comments always give me something I didn't have before. Having the perspective of your journey, helps me in mine.