This week’s blog topic is “My contest experiences-win, lose, get signed.” The only contests I have ever entered were two by Harlequin: So You Think You Can Write.
The first one was several years ago. The theme was medical romances. I was a huge fan of House, MD, and had begun a story featuring a brilliant and prickly doctor. (How original.) As you have not seen this novel in print, you may surmise that Harlequin did not drop everything and sign me up. I did, however, get some helpful advice. Start in media res.
Here’s how Encyclopedia Britannica defines that term
In medias res, (Latin: “in the midst of things”) the practice of beginning an epic or other narrative by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action. The narrative then goes directly forward, and exposition of earlier events is supplied by flashbacks.
I had started, as many beginning authors do, with backstory instead of at the moment when my naive but plucky heroine met said doctor. Lesson learned. I redid the opening, but have yet to complete the novel. Maybe someday.
I recently entered a similar contest that called for submission of a first chapter. Harlequin favors exotic locations and careers, so I wrote about the maestro of a fledgling opera company in Salzburg who is accused of harassing a violinist. He is immediately cleared by the company’s new PR director who must then pose as his fiancee to keep other women at bay.
I got positive comments on my pacing and characters, but Harlequin’s editor thought the subject was too touchy in today’s climate.
I’ve decided to write the story anyway, but I’ve relocated it to Florida where I live. I’d love some feedback. Is the topic too sensitive? Would you read this book? Please leave me your comments.
And if you want to find out how my fellow authors fared in contests, go here.