Tuesday I mailed out my second entry for the RWA Golden Heart contest. I won’t give the titles, in case you happen to be one my judges. I don’t want to bias anyone, either way. Judge the stories on their own merits, not mine, please.
It was a huge relief to get it done. I’m sure you’ve heard the line, “I love it when a plan comes together” from “The A-Team.” That’s about what happened for me. For a while there, I didn’t think I’d make it, and sadly, I wasn’t too upset about that. It meant I could take the easy route, not taking the chance that I might final, or might not final. It’s brutal when you put so much hope into a story and Notification Day comes, and the only time your phone rings is when your friends call to say, “I finaled!” It’s not easy to keep in mind that it’s not a defeat. Good stories don’t final sometimes. Plenty of excellent authors have never finaled in the GH, let alone won. You may be next.
Something else to bear in mind is that there are at least 200 other entrants in my category. My odds of finaling are slim. Too many things could work against me:
– I get the infamous East German Judge who gives me a 4 thinking it’ll give her buddy a better chance (since you can’t judge the category you’ve entered). Deny it all you want, but it happens.
– My judge just had her heart stomped on the day she opens my entry, and the last thing on her mind is romance. The first thing on her mind is castrating the next unfortunate male that crosses her path.
– My judge just got a ticket, laid off, or cut in front of at the supermarket checkout, and she’s in a low-down rotten mood when she opens my entry. Somebody’s gonna pay.
– My judge’s ex’s name was Will or Jonah, so every man with that name immediately sparks a bad memory. Yes, the heroes in my entries are Will and Jonah. (Good luck narrowing that one down. Google won’t help you.)
These are all hypotheticals, and chances are good I’ve never finaled in the GH before because yes, my stories weren’t ready. But this year I’ve done my homework. I’ve paid in my share of elbow grease. I’ve worked on these stories until the very idea of looking at the MS one more time made me want to run, screaming, from the county.
I am SO ready. This year, I’ve had people tell me I write “compelling characters”. (Two people, in fact. The roses should’ve been delivered a week ago.) These stories came from deep inside, and believe me, unless you’ve really dug deep into your soul and pulled out realistic characters, it’s not easy. It’s like giving birth to grown ups, only it hurts worse and takes longer. The good news is, you don’t have to send them to college.
Anyway, I didn’t chicken out and take the easy route. I knuckled down, put in the time, and made that second manuscript SHINE. It went in the mail Tuesday and I said a little prayer that it finds the friendly hands of some kind soul who just got a raise, a promotion, or a marriage proposal.
One hundred sixteen days until the calls go out, notifying the finalists. If you have a second, please say a kind word to the Higher Power of your choice that this is my year. Well, 2012, anyway.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do. 🙂