Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Contest update at I Heart November 21, 2009

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 1:53 pm
Tags: ,

No, they haven’t announced the winners!

Joanne Grant and Tessa Shapcott have put up some general writing advice at I Heart Presents for contest entrants- Secret Seven Sins

Best advice for me-

sit down to write, don’t try to be anyone but yourself: write with passion, originality and honesty

Not that I didn’t probably commit half a dozen of their listed sins, but my main sin is trying to write what I think will fit the line, and not writing what fits me.

Edited to add- see my post of December 1 for the link to the latest update- winners will now be announced December 11!


13 Responses to “Contest update at I Heart”

  1. Caroline Storer Says:

    Seriously my heart sank when I read this list. No word of a lie – I reckon I’ve got 5 of them sins in my ms! Take care. Caroline x

  2. Caroline Storer Says:

    I think I committed 5 our of the 7 sins! Yuk! Take care. Caroline x

  3. waitingforthecall Says:

    LOL, I think most of us who entered have thought that- certainly all my writing buddies have responded with “OMG, I did most of them”.

    The more I think about it the more of them I think could apply to my chapter. My first reaction was three, then I upgraded that to six on reflection. Thank goodness they don’t kiss until the last page of chapter two, or I’d have a full house!

    At least it’s not much longer to wait to get some feedback! Though for both comps last year it was a while after the winners were announced before the full requests and rejections went out, so I’m not holding my breath…

  4. Eileen Says:

    my first thought was eep! less than 2 weeks until the winner’s announced.

    Then I kept reading …

    heh, backstory

    Then after that I started wondering which side of the line mine was one for almost all the rest of the sins. I fall into the “that could definitely be me … but am I over analyzing?” camp. At least I don’t think my hero was “unattractive” as per his actions and I didn’t go over the top regarding the sexual situation … so um 5 potential out of 7 sins. *sigh* … *scratches head* wait, I didn’t have a “random” meeting … I think … let’s just say I’m at 3 or 4 sins instead of 5.

    Like how I’m getting fuzzier with the number with each contemplative pass I make?

    So yeah. I just went back and added the six words I foolishly forgot. the six words that take me from the fifth sin listed to a rational (if scheming) first kiss. *sigh* <–again

  5. Eileen Says:

    >>At least it’s not much longer to wait to get some feedback! Though for both comps last year it was a while after the winners were announced before the full requests and rejections went out, so I’m not holding my breath…

    Just read this Jane. Good point. So yeah. Back to worrying about other things in life. Like whether or not my cat is gaining weight. O diet kibble here you come.

  6. waitingforthecall Says:

    Your cat will eat diet kibble? One of our boys is a little fluffier than he should be, though super fit and healthy. When we tried diet kibble he just sat there looking reproachful. All day.

    Better not overanalyse too much at this stage! I haven’t even reread my chapter as I know I’ll see things I’ll wish I’d changed.

    I got sidetracked yesterday and didn’t get much editing done so back to it today.

  7. Lori Says:

    When I read the sins, I said phew, I did good. However on retrospect, my hero was a little harsh with some of his dialogue but it was appropriate to his situation and the character.

    I will say it again, lets analyse the picture from the first post. Any one know anybody who works in a CSI lab!

    Also, what is the reaction on your side of the pond to the Harlequin Horizons fiasco. It is all the buzz in the RWA.


  8. waitingforthecall Says:

    LOL, as long as your hero wasn’t a total Alphole, “a little harsh” should be fine. Good on you for not seeing more sins. I alternate between thinking “Nah, mine wasn’t too bad,” to “Shoot, all but one or two.”

    I had both too much dialogue and too much introspection! I’d like to hope my dialogue wasn’t too stilted, but who knows? I don’t think my hero was too obnoxious, though he is a bossy b who uses charm to get his own way. In an earlier draft he was controlling, manipulative, and self-interested. That version would definitely have got a tick. I didn’t like him much and couln’t imagine writing a whole book about him, let alone making my poor heroine fall for the bastard. The meeting wasn’t contrived or accidental, but it’s possible the “going nowhere” comment applied. They don’t kiss, which is good, but I wondered if the general feeling was too sexual and not emotional enough. That’s a tricky balance. Oh well, have to hope I get some feedback!

    Most of the stuff I’ve read on the Hh issue has been on US based blogs and groups. Many of the published writers are either keeping quiet (they may not feel it’s an issue, of course) or posting anonymously. A few who are saying what they think openly have won a lot of respect from me. I have definite feelings about it, mainly on the marketing of Hh.

    Vanity presses in themselves have been around for as long as Harlequin itself has, and aren’t evil if the marketing is transparent and people know what they are getting for their money. For some people, that will be an option they will choose, as there will always be aspiring writers who just want their name on a book and don’t want the hard work of learning the craft of writing to reach genuinely publishable standards. It’s an option for people in that situation. But the marketing plans made me very sad. They seem to be selling a dream that is highly unlikely to ever happen for anyone who pays for the service.

    I didn’t grasp fully what was planned at first and couldn’t understand the reaction, even posted naively on Smart Bitches that the only reason I’d get upset would be if they were marketing it to rejected writers as a way of getting “published” and noticed by the editors, then found out they were!

    My belief is it was forced on Harlequin from higher up (Harlequin is financially strong but the parent company is not doing so well), some marketing decisions which are good business sense but poor emotional sense were made, and they are now doing their best to deal with the reaction in the best possible fashion.

    It’s a shame this has taken centre stage in a week where there has been some genuinely good news- like the launch of Carina Press. I hope it quietly fades away now.

  9. Lori Says:

    Great insight on the situation. What is so funny is that I never saw myself writing category fiction but I have to say I am now hooked. I am working on finishing my presents submission. I created the story for the contest but I am now going to finish it. Actually it would be awesome to get a request for a partial out of this contest. I understand they have found and nurtured other writer in the past.

  10. waitingforthecall Says:

    That’s fabulous, Lori! Fingers crossed for you!

    I have no illusions my story is good enough to win, but I’m also hoping for a request to see more. I’ve wanted to write category romance since my teens, have played with it on and off since then, but only started seriously working at it last year (and I’ve had some spells when I was less committed than other in that period, too!). It feels good to be really going for it.

    Yes, the winners from the two contests last year, Lynn Raye Harris and Lucy King have both been published. But there are a couple more who didn’t place in the contests but got full requests and went on to sell.

  11. Lori Says:

    Its Turkey Day on this side of the pond. I guess a thank you is in order for kicking us out of England, we probably deserved it! (haha)
    Do you know from past contests if they post then call? Probably not I know if I won I would be completely quiet and not risk losing the prize!
    The announcement is less than a week away! Can’t wait!

  12. waitingforthecall Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I don’t know for sure how they plan it for this one, but in past contests the editor contacts the winner and runners-up first, who have to somehow keep quiet about it till the official announcement. I think I would be ready to explode by then!

    The date the official rules say they will do that by is 30 November, so if we haven’t heard by then, safe to assume we haven’t won!
    After that it could take six to eight weeks for the full requests and rejection emails to go out to everyone else.

  13. […] commits several of the “sins” mentioned by the editors in their feedback to the Presents competition entrants, but does them so wonderfully well. What an amazing first […]

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