This week has been filled with milestones.
On Monday, after suffering through a major software glitch on Saturday, where my entire document turned into asterisks, (my backups didn’t work for the entire 18.5 hours of copy editing I’d just finished due to the same problem—forcing me to redo all) my manuscript was finally finished.
I sent out my very first full request to my dream agent.
There may have been a glass or two of prosecco consumed in celebration of this monumental event, not to mention a lot of happy dancing.
Feeling very pleased with myself, I woke up on Tuesday morning to this email:
Congratulations! Your story, “A North Wind,” was awarded First Place in the Genre category for the 86th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. You’ve won $1,000 and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop; more information regarding this will be sent from the competitions department in the next few weeks.
I had to read this email several times before I was willing to believe it was true. More happy dancing ensued. If it hadn’t been 9:00 am, there may also have been more Prosecco involved.
Then, the next morning, I woke up to another email:
Congratulations! Your story, “The Bare Truth,” was awarded Eighth Place in the Magazine Feature Article category for the 86th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. You’ve won $25 and $25 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop; more information regarding this will be sent from the competitions department in the next few weeks.
Feeling quite overwhelmed by my good fortune and finally some indication that perhaps I was beginning to master this wonderful new passion of mine, I received even more good news over the next few days.
A few months, and many, many revisions ago, I entered a contest sponsored by:
Ink and Insights. https://inkandinsights.com
I can highly recommend this annual contest to anyone with a manuscript they are trying to polish.
I had no aspirations to win, instead compelled to enter by the amazing opportunity to receive feedback from four different editors on my first 10,000 pages for the measly sum of $40 US.
In this contest, writers had the opportunity to submit to the Apprentice or Master category, or both, (for an additional $40) Not quite certain where my manuscript sat, I decided to enter both. I decided that receiving feedback from 8 different editors would allow me to search for common issues and resolve those.
This week I received my feedback.
The first to arrive were my scores in the Apprentice category. These seemed pretty decent, although with no reference point I had no way of telling if they were good enough to move on to the finals. In this next round, the top three would win a monetary prize, and in the Master’s category, also move into an agent round.
I still don’t know if they are, but a blog post by one of the editors suggested that any mark over 200 was a stand out. (All my marks were over 200, one even at 242!)
The comments made were incredibly detailed and insightful. When I re-read what I had submitted, I must admit to feeling somewhat embarrassed. Since that time my words have been subjected to numerous rounds of intense edits. Happily, it seems I have addressed most of the concerns mentioned. (Yay me.)
Then a few days later I received my marks for the Master Category, where I was certain I would be slammed. In this category marks are given for things done correctly, as in the Apprentice category, but also taken away for things done incorrectly.
Surprisingly, I did even better in the Master Category. Which only proves to confirm how subjective this business of writing is.
I have no idea where this places my manuscript, but I am so grateful to these wonderful editors who put so much of their time and effort into reading my words. Again, going over their comments, I am so happy to realize that most of their concerns have already been resolved.
All eight editors stated that they really liked my story and characters. Several even indicated I should let them know when my story was published. (Lol. Wouldn’t that be a dream?)
No matter the outcome, this has been a wonderful learning opportunity, and, as an insecure writer, how nice to receive validation.
Now, let’s hope the next bit of happy news I receive will be an agent wanting to represent me.