Sunday, June 21, 2009

What I'm Not Reading: a "Dear Finalist" Letter

I guess this would be one of those turbulents Prince warned me of, though I must say it all sounded a lot sexier the way he put it.

I entered the current MS (or rather 20-some pages plus synopsis) in a contest, the finalists for which should have been notified by now. Nothing's arrived in my mailbox, though, except membership-renewal notices from the writer's association.

What particularly frustrates me is that this is a contest I've previously finaled in, with an MS that had, in retrospect, all kinds of problems: distanced POV even to the point of head-hopping; persnickety formal language that excluded sentence fragments and contractions, and a barely graphable plot.

I think the current one is better. I do. But a little voice chatters at the back of my mind: What if you're wrong? What if my internal barometer is defective? What if, while I've been working to get better, I've actually gotten worse? How the hell do I get better if I don't have an accurate concept of what better is?

In my lower moments I think those things. Fortunately the lower moments are not nearly as frequent as I'd feared they might be. However, check with me again when I've gotten my critique-sheets back and they're full of "Your heroine is unlikeable," "Your hero is TSTL," "I've seen this set-up before," and "You don't have enough of a plot."

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