Attention middle grade writers: it's time for the annual Highlights Fiction Contest! This year's theme is fiction involving an embarrassing moment. The deadline to submit is January 31.
If you don't write a lot of short stories, such as those of us always mired in novels, this is a great chance to practice story lines and emotional arcs in 750 words or less. You will learn to get to the point and stick to that emotional arc. Plus short stories take so much less time to write than novels that it will hardly bother you at all when your critiquers tell you to rewrite it.
Every year around this time, I write and submit a story. I've never made a sale or won an honorable mention, but I do get something out of the contest: finished, polished stories!
Here's the link: http://www.highlights.com/highlights-fiction-contest
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I’ve always heard you’re supposed to tell everyone when you go on a diet because going public holds you more accountable.
Well, I’m not going on a diet but I am jumping into the deep end, and you’re the first to know.
After a couple of months struggling to find my footing with a middle grade project, I had a revelation: I didn’t like it. It wasn’t a book I’d pick up to read. The fact my wonderful critique group was also finding it hard to connect with the MC only validated my suspicions.
So what’s a writer to do when things aren’t working? Throw it out and do something else. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I even went out and bought a new journal even though I’d only used a dozen or so pages of my last one. This one is a wonderful, soft leather and sometimes I pick up and smell it and then hug it to my chest. My kids think I’ve lost my marbles. But really I’ve just found them.
This new project is a different genre (YA) and WAY too ambitious for someone who’s been writing fiction for a mere two years. But that’s what makes it exciting - there’s no way I can succeed so - on the flip side - there’s no way I can fail!
I’m having fun writing again. I wake up and go to sleep thinking about my book, which at least in my head, is fully formed and just waiting for me to commit it to page.
Don’t you just love that feeling?