Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let the Judging Begin...

Updates From the Front of the 3-Day Novel Contest

I received word from the Powers That Be in the 3-Day Novel Contest that my manuscript has been received and logged and is now with their judging committee.

Since my entry has been officially processed, I get banner-display bragging rights (see accompanying "I Survived..." pic). I find this oddly gratifying, and suddenly have a greater understanding of the importance of war medals.

And now, of course, those of us who entered the fray must return to our normally scheduled lives while The Committee spends the next few months reading (and hopefully rereading) the submissions and debating their favorites.

In my mind's eye, I see several harried readers half-hidden behind stacks of submissions. Each desperately searches for a manuscript to love. Each knows that the likelihood of doing so is roughly the equivalent of finding one's Perfect Life Partner during happy hour at a singles bar. Hope, however, burns eternal. But time marches on, and no reader can spend too much time on any one manuscript because there are still so many others awaiting perusal. I envision an overworked coffeepot, boxes marked "Yes!" "No!" and "Kill Me, Kill Me Now!" and a stash of donuts to give the calorie-laden courage necessary to begin reading another draft.

The winners will be announced in mid-January, 2010. In the meantime, we are free to work on our drafts however we see fit (I am already inflicting portions on the Writing Practicum members), though we are reminded to save a copy in its original form.

Because of the cataloging process, they don't yet have total figures of entries for this year's contest. One wonders just how many of us were gluttons for such punishment. Best of luck to all who entered -- I feel a certain affinity with them, based largely on a shared lack of sleep.

I'm currently working on a book project that takes one elite athlete's insights, training tips, and strategies and applies them to Real Life. It's shaping up to be a fascinating look at what makes people successful -- no matter what arena they choose to compete in. One of the big tentpole tenets is simply: once you've raised the bar, that level of performance becomes your new norm.

I know that writing a novel in less than 3 days raised the bar on my craft. I would strongly recommend the experience to any writer. Though the contest has been over for weeks now, I continue to benefit from it.

Yesterday, I spent 5 hours working on a new novel. I completed 5 pages. Before the 3-Day contest, I'd have been content with that. Now, I'm not. I've been on the front lines of battle and lived to tell about it. I have a better understanding of what I am capable of. I know I have it in me to do better...

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