Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fall-Out From The Genesis Contest


The results of the Genesis competition are in, and I didn't place--no big surprise, at least to me. In case you're not an aspiring writer of Christian fiction, I need to explain that the Genesis contest is a competition sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. If you've never had a work of fiction published, you're eligible to submit the first 25 pages of your work for judging by three professionals. I'm very pleased that a number of my friends qualified as finalists this year, and I wish each of them success--not just in this competition but in their future writing.

I really hadn't planned to enter this year, but as the deadline approached and I saw all the frantic activity of people polishing their manuscripts I just had to join in the fun. Besides, it only cost $35 to enter, and where can you get three professional critiques of the first 25 pages of your novel for less than $12 per crit? I entered my second novel, but shortly after I submitted it, I sent the full manuscript to my agent, Janet Benrey, who returned a detailed critique that led me to do a massive rewrite. Janet has a great eye and I appreciate her patience with me, but it was especially nice to see that each of the judges honed in on the exact same things she suggested I correct. See, it was worth it to get all those additional opinions.

Not only did I get an affirmation of the areas that needed work in my novel, I learned--yet again--not to get in a hurry with my writing. I've vowed that in the future I'll borrow a page from the book of Ernest and Julio Gallo and 'send no line before its time.' Writing isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. But in this case, there are ample opportunities to go back and run portions of the race again...and again...and again. I think I'll take even more time for editing and rewriting before I'm ready to send out any of my work in the future.

Gayle Roper (pictured above with our writing class) tried to teach that lesson to me at my first Mount Hermon conference. Maybe this time it will stick.

7 comments:

Cathy West said...

Great thoughts. Yes, it is not nice to see your baby being pulled apart, but I agree with you in that we need to look at this as a learning experience.
And hopefully next year we'll be published so won't be able to enter anyway!!

Rachelle said...

I've been reading several blogs and of course, the ACFW loop, in which some are rejoicing they made it to the Genesis finals and others are dealing with the disappointment of not getting there. I really relate to all of this, and today I had to smile with the knowledge that this emotional rollercoaster never ends. I had a few books published in the last year and today I had a review in PW (I ghostwrote the book so you won't find it under my name). Well, a review in PW is a good thing but my writing got slammed. Ugh, how very painful. There is always more to learn. Like you, I just have to pick myself up and continue learning. After I take a few moments to feel my own pain, I guess.

Janey DeMeo said...

What a great blog. Good job.

blessings,
Janey


Janey L. DeMeo
founding director of Orphans First, freelance writer,
www.orphansfirst.org / janey@orphansfirst.org
http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com/ http://www.myspace.com/orphansfirst
http://blog.myspace.com/janeydemeo

Karen said...

Richard, I too attended Mount Hermon for the first time this year. The critiques I received there taught me so much about writing for Christian periodicals. Like you, I am thankful for that experience. We'll hang in there, keep plugging away, until we attain the writing goals we prayerfully.

Robin Caroll said...

The contest has given me excellent feedback in the past, and I truly believe it's because of ACFW on a whole that I got my contracts. Now to keep on learning and studying while meeting deadlines....

Blessings to you, Richard, and may I hear of a contract awarded in your near future!

Robin Caroll said...

The contest has given me excellent feedback in the past, and I truly believe it's because of ACFW on a whole that I got my contracts. Now to keep on learning and studying while meeting deadlines....

Blessings to you, Richard, and may I hear of a contract awarded in your near future!

Cathy West said...

Great thoughts. Yes, it is not nice to see your baby being pulled apart, but I agree with you in that we need to look at this as a learning experience.
And hopefully next year we'll be published so won't be able to enter anyway!!