"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen


How I Get Feedback

I wrote a synopsis this past week. Of a book I am not done writing. I entered it, and 4,000 words of said book, in a contest I am fairly certain I will not place in. And I paid $40 (and spent agonizing hours on a that synopsis - which I do NOT enjoy writing, by the way) for the ability to do so.

I've also written a back cover blurb for the same book, and entered it and 1,000 words, in another contest. Paid some money for that too.

Why, you ask? For the feedback. You see, both of these contests provide feedback to entrants from the judges. And I need the feedback.

I have no illusions that I can write this book and have it come out perfectly. I have tons of doubts about whether it's any good, if this story that has captured me would capture anybody else. I know I have tons to learn, and having judges, who generally know much more about writing than I do, comment on my words (and synopsis, and back cover blurb) can only make me a better writer.

I've only been deliberate about entering contests like this for a few months, but I'm already seeing the benefits. I have a feeling this is a habit I'll be continuing.

Even if I have to write another synopsis.

Have you entered writing contests? Why or why not? What other things do you do to improve your craft?

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence


  1. My sister is a writer, and I keep encouraging her to start a blog to get feedback. She goes to a writer's group, but that's "in person" and sometimes people are either too nice, or too mean.

  2. I've entered quite a few contests and enjoy the feedback but the last few I had such a wide variety of scores that it is confusing to know what to keep and what to toss. SOme loved it, others hated it. I know they are very subjective too.

  3. I haven't entered contests or blogged so far, but I started a writers' group and am learning by hearing and reading others work. Sometimes I must edit and help other members of the group which makes me analyze what is working and not working in their writing. I spend hours thinking and researching what writing tip to share each week with the group. I also write more since I often want to show v.s. tell.

  4. I entered a couple of "First Three Chapters" contests with a single book (had 14 chapters done) and now have three beautiful chapters that don't go along with the other eleven. It's shelved for now. But if I ever do pick that one up, I'm totally ready to start with a fresh chapter 4 and move on. Reworking those first three chapters gave me an understanding of tight writing with a grabber beginning.


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