Pretty contests. Pretty, pretty contests. Do you know what it’s like to have a finished (but not finished) manuscript when contests come rolling around?! It’s AGONY! I want to reach out and pet them. I want to be truly finished so bad and I know I’m close. It is a terrible situation to be in. I know most of the major plot holes are fixed. Characters are well-formed, and, reading through it, I don’t hate it. It’s not done, though. There are still small nuances that I have to sneak in. Better wording. More visuals and less telling. More depth can still be added into the characters. In other words, it’s not finished and most definitely not ready for an agent’s keen eye.
It is an ugly lesson in patience that I have to keep reminding myself about each time a new contest screams “Enter me” (go ahead. Laugh. I’ll wait). Ok, are you better now? Back to what I was saying. I have to think how mortified I would be to send my MS as-is to an agent right this second, and that puts me in my place. Being a perfectionist is finally coming in handy! Let this be a lesson to us all: WAIT! You want to send the best possible version of your baby into the world, right? Sending it to contests when it is “almost” polished really isn’t doing you any favors, and you are giving agents a less than stellar idea of your work. Why not give them the best it can be rather than the okayest it is right now?
The other temptation is all these success stories! People who met their CP’s or found their agent through a contest. I wanna be a success too (imagine this said in whiniest voice possible). This is probably why the lure of the contests is so strong. We are weakened by the possibility of hearing/seeing those magic little words “Full request” or even “Partial request.” So easily swayed, we writers are. Dangle a piece of paper that says Request and watch our eyes glaze over.
I will continue writing the new work that has been reignited recently and let my circus baby sit so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. I will run through it again and let other eyes tear it apart with their laser beam precision (Jason, that’s you, for starters). I will make this baby sparkle and shine before it is subjected to the mercies of any contests. Besides, if you’re on Twitter, you might have noticed by now, there is always a contest. Every few months, another one pops up. So let’s all vow together that we will not fall prey to the siren song of the contest….shiny….no, fight the shiny pretty! *internet connection goes dead*