Try, try again

I have some writing muscles I’m aching to flex. I’m revising my manuscript Tagg, You’re It to enter RWA’s Golden Heart contest. I think I entered the manuscript a few years ago, but the version I enter this year will be much different.

Entering contests is a great way to get a manuscript critiqued. I’ve gotten great advice from published authors. If you make it to the finals of the Golden Heart competition, the judges are New York editors, and many will buy what they read.

I’ve been rewriting the beginning, my weakest part—which as we all know should be the strongest. You’ve got a very short time to snag a reader. My first opening was way too long. The action didn’t really start until page 4, after lots of exposition, and lost the reader. Judge after judge in various contests told me to start the story on page 4. Then I rewrote it to have the action start in the first paragraph. But other judges thought that made my heroine too bitchy and unprofessional. So now I’m changing the premise of the opening. I hope to post it here soon, as my site has been promising for months.

I judge the Golden Heart myself, but in a category far removed from the one I’ll enter. I’ve read some really dreadful manuscripts the past few years, so I’m getting a good idea of what not to do.

The winners of the Golden Heart and the Rita, for published authors, will be announced next summer at RWA’s national convention. The convention will be in Anaheim, so it would be really sweet to win before a hometown crowd.

I can dream.