Saturday 8 September 2012

Catherine Results

I actually got the results right before heading off on our trip but decided not to open them right away so I wouldn't obsess through the vacation.

For those in the studio audience, the Catherine is a competition for unpublished authors held by the Toronto Romance Writers Association.  They ask for the first 30 pages of your manuscript and a synopsis and have 3 published authors/editors/contest winners review your work.  I sent off Lord of Underhill back in June and now have my results.

As much as I told myself I wasn't expecting to win, I was still a little disappointed at not being chosen for finals.  And my not-obsessing plan backfired somewhat.  I started feeling discouraged in my plan to become a professional writer (if I can't final in a contest and the manuscript was already rejected by Harlequin) and doubting my skills.  Then I became worried about what the reviews would be and didn't want to open them.  Proof that I am and will always be a champion brooder.

No matter how much I brood, eventually I had to pull out my big girl panties and open them up.  Two were reasonably encouraging, scoring me in the "good work but needs polish" range.  One was less so, in the "doesn't suck but isn't great" range.

Okay, good to know.  Even at the very worst, I don't suck.  Good for me.

The Ottawa Romance Writer's Association is hosting a workshop by Roxanne St-Clair, a New York Times bestseller, on how to revise your manuscript.  It's in October and I'm thinking I will hold off on revisions until after the workshop.

But professional writing does not include down time (or at least, not if you want to be profitable).  So I'm forging ahead with another story which has been breathing down my neck and wanting to be told.

Titles always come late to me, so right now it's under the working title Burlesque because my heroine is a burlesque dancer.  I'm going to give myself one month for research and outlining and then six months to write the manuscript.  We'll see if I can pull it off.  My style has always been more exploratory, but that is time-consuming both in original writing and in revising to make everything consistent.  Two books a year or three books in two years appears to be the minimum standard for self-supporting writerdom.

Time to sit down and get serious.

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