Close, but No Cigar

Just got the scores back from a VBNC (Very Big National Contest) for romance writers. Won't say which one here to avoid embarassment.

However, all I can say is I did OK for a trucker's daughter from the cornfields of Northern Ohio.

I was in the top quarter of all entries, and two of five judges gave me a perfect score. This means I'm close, which as you all know, counts only in hand grenades and horseshoes. Of course, one judge gave me a score so low, I'd have to limbo to get under it.

Many requests over the years for partial and full manuscripts have ended in "thanks, but no thanks." Face-to-face meetings with editors and agents have ended similarly. Many requests for more, but no contract. One memorable pitch ended in the first five seconds. "Stop," she said, and lifted her hand like a traffic cop. "You will never sell a romance about the Civil War."


After that slap-down, all I could do to fill my remaining four minutes was to inquire as to what books she was reading.

If I were a perpetual bridesmaid, never a bride, after all these years, I might do something scary, like join an online dating service. Being rejected by an endless stream of indifferent members of the opposite sex pales in comparison to what I've suffered as an aspiring (to be published) author.

Which brings me to my next announcement. I'm going to put myself through an intensive Immersion Class for writers under the creative whip of Margie Lawson, the best of the best.

I've been a member of the Romance Writers of America so long, I 've forgotten which year I joined. So, from next Saturday through the following Wednesday, I will submit to whatever it takes to drag my writing to the next level. No excuses. No whining. No closet cowering.

(See, Margie, I used a little anaphora in that last graph and made a shaky run at a power word at the end.)

In order to subject myself to days of analysis of my buckets of writing, I had to complete three of her master classes on my own. I've been at this self-torture for a couple of months, and my eyeballs are bugging. :-)

I can hardly wait. Let the beatings begin.