Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Faint Hearts Never Won Fair Competitions

That's what I keep telling myself.  Only.....it's not working!  And now I've a terrible case of the jitters.  I was all set to enter Mills & Boon's New Voices writing competition and I was sooo looking forward to the website going up.  But now my hands start to shake every time I think about it. 

Don't get me wrong - my first chapter is almost ready.  A few more little edits and I'm sure it will be as good as I can get it (without professional input).  I have been studiously trawling the internet: seeking out tips for writing brilliant first chapters; hunting down how to write the perfect hook; searching for the elusive elements that will make my chapter stand out from all the others.  And I've been faithfully editing every day.  I read a fabulous post on QueryTracker.net by guest blogger Jim Warner (posted on 11 August 2010 entitled Why I Call Writing Editing (And You Should Too)).  So it's not like I've been caught with my body shaping underwear down around my ankles.  No, no.  I've been Diligent.  And Determined.  And Dedicated.

And now I'm Dithering.

I know I'm going to do it.  I mean why wouldn't I?  I'm reconciled to the fact that my writing isn't going to be everyone's cup of English Breakfast and to tell the truth those are the comments I'll be most interested in.  It's lovely to get the bouquets but it's the brickbats that make you think and hopefully inspire you to work harder (even if it's "just to show them"). 

But it's a bit like disrobing in front of a new boyfriend for the first time - you've done all the prep work but you still hold your breath, searching his face for any tell tale sign that something's not quite right.  Hoping that his jaw drops and that oh-my-lord-I'm-about-to-bed-a-goddess look appears in his eyes.  And the silly thing is that I won't be able to see any of the reader's faces on the website - but they will be commenting.  Now there's a thought........imagine if your past lovers were all asked to comment on you?  *rolls over and clasps sheet to bosom*  "That was great!  Now if you could just fill out this questionnaire".........Hmmmm maybe not.

Still I think I'll just wait a few days.  A few more days of tweaking the chapter won't hurt and who knows I may find another website while I'm waiting and I'll discover the secret to the perfect first chapter........

Or I may go get a tattoo which will probably be less painful.  Would this be appropriate?


Jackie Ashenden said...

Lol, Elissa! No, you have to. I've done it. Admittedly my chapter is in the waiting room and hasn't had a chance to step naked into the spotlight. But I think after the first shock of all those people seeing your work, it'll wear off and they will move on to more fresh meat.
Mixing my metaphors now. ;-) But hey, if you can do this, you can do anything! What have you got to lose?
Hoo sends you a special shot of his own devising. He won't tell me what's in it, only that you know what he's talking about. Seems like you two had a little chat while you were propping up the bar at the Sisters. ;-)

Elissa Graham said...

Hmmm that Hoo mixes a mean cocktail I can tell you. Must have something to do with how fast he can spin those little tentacles of his (centrifugal force in it's cutest form)!

I read your competition submission and (omigod omigod omigod) it was gooood. I mean really good. So good I've pulled my chapter out again and I'm seriously going over it with a VERY red pen (metaphorically speaking of course because it's electronic not paper). Reminds me of that joke about how do you tell the Irish writers from everyone else? They're the ones with white out all over their monitors. Tish boom! I can say that because I've Irish heritage and I don't think Aideen's been to my site yet (Ta bron orm Aideen if you have ;)) So you'll be able to pick my monitor out because it will have the red slash marks all over it.

Lucky for me I have a few days left to tinker...and dither....then tinker some more. But never fear I will be entering.