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.