Skip to main content

You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying

Back in December, I learned about an unpublished novel contest that assessed the following criteria: characterization, setting, plot, dialogue, voice and writing skill.  In addition to all this, the MS would receive feedback from the judges. Not a bad deal, right?

 Although my draft was far from complete, I decided to enter it anyway, reasoning that the critique would identify areas of weakness in my writing.  Well, needless to say, I finally heard back last week.  The first forty pages of my draft were returned with the following letter attached:

  The judges had mixed reactions to this particular manuscript, with some feeling it was well-    paced and another saying there was not enough plot movement! One questioned whether the dialogue fit the time/ year/culture, while others felt it did. They all agreed on liking the expository details and descriptions, but  wondered where the story was going.  Consider beginning with a scene that hooks the reader with  compelling action and a clear sense of what the protagonist wants.  

It was difficult, but I tried to look at the bright side.  The judges didn't criticize my characters or my writing, and the overall feedback was very constructive.  Since the dialogue had previously been brought to my attention and I'd already corrected the problems, I overlooked that area of the comments and took the rest to heart.Once my third draft is completed (four more chapters to go), I will then make the recommended  changes during the editing phase.

I realize it was a gutsy move to submit an incomplete MS, but in this case it worked out for the best.  I now know where to focus my attention. Yet, despite all the positives that came from my decision, I still have a hard time keeping insecurities at bay. Some small part of me questions whether I'm good enough.
 Intellectually, I know this kind of thinking is counterproductive, but shaking off negativity is easier said than done.

Not to worry, I'm not going to throw in the towel.  That would be crazy after  four long years of toiling over my book. I'll finish the game. After all, you only fail with you stop trying,  I just think it would  be easier to move forward if I didn't have to deal with these moments of insecurity.  Do any of you ever feel this way?  If so, how do you shake it?   Until next time, happy writing.

Popular posts from this blog

Opinions Pleaaaaaase!!!!!

Hello All,

I recently began a new WIP.  Although I'm happy with my outline, I've struggled with the beginning. This said, I wrote two opening paragraphs. Both lead to the same place, but they take a very different paths to get there. I just can't decide which one I like better.  If you have a minute or two, I'd  appreciate it if you'd give your opinion. Which paragraph would keep you reading?  Also, please be mindful that these are very raw first drafts.  I'd be happy to return the favor anytime.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Opening #1A cold chill broke across my arms when he entered the room. It happened every time I saw him. By now you'd think I'd be used to him Yet, here I sat, dreading his very presence. You see, to everyone else he was a man of flesh and blood. A man who devoted his life to treating the sick.  To me, he was Doom—bringing false hope to the incurable—deliverer of tragedy, ready to do his worst.  My dad and I had been confronted…

Flexing My Writing Muscles

Hello all, it's time for another installment of the ISWG hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. For more information about this group, please click on the following link: Insecure Writer's Support Group

First of all, I want to wish each and everyone of you a happy New Year. In my experience people reserve their first post for NY resolutions, etc, but I've decided not to bore you with promises.  What I will say is I'm looking forward to a fresh start--New Year, New Me.

Due to all the stress that comes with returning to nursing school, I haven't written at all. However,  I did make it to my writer's group last month.  After missing three months of meetings, I felt a little out of sorts.  The sense of familiarity and comradery I usually encountered with the members was somehow off   I didn't let it get me down.  Instead, in the spirit of the New Year, New Me thing, I endeavored not to miss anymore meetings.  I've also come up with an idea for a short story.  It'…

From The Dust Marinade to a Gourmet Work of Fiction

Hello all, it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  To learn more about this wonderful membership please click on the preceding link.

After several weeks of juggling family and nursing school, I finally get a much needed break. Specifically, Spring Break. Woo hoo!!!! Unlike some students who go wild during this time and head to the beach for fun in the sun, I plan to hunker down at my desk and catch up on my writing. It's been a month since I've written anything, and I'm jonesing to escape into my world of fiction.

My short story is about two-thirds complete. If all goes according to plan, I hope to have it done by the end of next week. Then I intend to pull my first novel from its dust marinade,  and return it to the writing kitchen, where I hope to create a gourmet work of fiction.  If I can find the time.

Once school resumes, every second of every day is consumed by my studies. I truly feel like a fish out…