It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. My time has been spent taking care of work.
I’ve been hip-deep in revisions. Thanks to one of my local writing groups’ February challenge, Dreamie’s Box is on track to be finished soon and on its way out the door in March. Along with that novel are much shorter pieces, undergoing the editing process for competitions.
Contests/competitions come in all shapes and sizes. Some provide a literary agent as part of the prize package. Others have hefty monetary prizes. All have purpose and rewards–even those little ones that provide only copies of your work and online recognition to your peers.
Ultimately, though, the grand prize for each competition is the writer’s knowledge that the time spent has gone toward a worthwhile purpose. New or refurbish—hitherto unpublished—material has left the computer drive and been read by someone else. For many, that’s a huge step.
Another purpose is one of confidence building. The act of sending out a story, poem, article, or what have you builds another layer of confidence in one’s ability to stick with a writing goal and complete it.
One of the major truths that smacked me in the head a few weeks ago is this.
The reason I write isn’t for fame or fortune. I would write if no one ever read a word I’d put on paper. But, aside from that inherent need to put thoughts and feelings into words, I simply want to know that at least one other person has read my work. If they like it, that’s a bonus. If they don’t and they let me know why, I’ve learned something important. I win either way.
To that effect, I’m preparing manuscripts to go out. Chapbooks, poetry, short stories, and flash fiction all come under the editing pen.
Three pieces are due to go out within the next two weeks. Two more are slated for the end of March and another for April. The investment of time and a tiny fee are worth the wait to learn whether one’s writing is prize quality in its specific completion with its specific judges.
If a prize has my name on it at the end is, in many ways, irrelevant. I’ve met a goal, had at least one reader, made at least one impression, and furthered my writing experience.
As for the coursework, I have three active writing courses in which to indulge. I wrangle stories for those courses and get to use them for publication or competition. I’ve always been a big believer in dual-purpose work.
One of those courses is strictly for flash fiction. With burgeoning markets for much shorter fiction, this avenue is also one of the most technically demanding. And it’s a competitive form I’ve placed in before.
Another course is for serial short fiction—short story to novella length. The demands here are also a major challenge. The writer begins with a whole world plot line that would normally extend to three or more volumes in length. It’s then segmented into a series of complete episodes. Each episode must further the overall plot line while telling a separate, shorter plot line with one or more of the entire story’s major characters.
The third course works only with character development and utilization. You can see where these three work together to build an overall writing experience and a unique opportunity to work in multiple genres and publishing avenues.