There's been a lot of discussion over at http://jackieashenden.blogspot.com/ about characterization. One of the commenters suggested using astrology to help nail down a character, and that got me thinking of all kind of fun things a person might try...
The Myers-Briggs personality test...taken as your hero or heroine of course! Here's a link: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp After you score it, make sure you click on the link that will break down what the personality type means. (I'm ESFJ, for those who wanna know!!)
I've often joked that the process of submission, rejection, revision, submission, revision...so forth...is like the world's longest job interview. Your submission is your resume and the ensuing revisions and contact with the editor are like your interview.
Can you take direction? Do you meet deadlines? Are you easy to work with? Or are you a whiny, petulant artist who believes their work is perfect on arrival? The editor is going to get a sense for all of this via revisions and other contact.
Writing is a competitive business. And it is a business. We, the writer, need to make a product that the distributor can sell. That's our job. Not only do we have to write something great, we need to do it their specifications, and, I believe, we need to be easy to work with.
Because talent is only a piece of it. It matters, trust me, but it isn't the only thing.
Well, there's an absolute controversy brewing on the ihearts site due to the fact that the winner and runner up for Presents Modern are published authors. Now, as Jane pointed out, if they are not currently on contract with HM&B this not a rule violation. I will say that upfront.
However, having had two friends who entered Presents chapters, I understand why people are upset about it.
So, I'm not going into the right or wrong or fair or unfair. What I will go into is this: You don't need the contest.
The contest has given the winners an amazing opportunity to bypass the slush pile, which will save lots of time, trust me. But, as someone who didn't do well in comps (to put it mildly) and who made it through slush to The Call, I can tell you, it happens. Just because you don't place in a comp or get good comp feedback does not mean you don't have talent.
People have said on ihearts that the winners of the Presents category didn't NEED the contest. Well, no one NEEDS it. Not in any way minimizing what was won here, because trust me, getting an editor to work with you is huge. HUGE.
I got mine through slush. I needed more time to refine some things, but the editor saw the potential, even if it wasn't all the way there yet. She helped me get there.
I emailed my editor to ask her if I could enter this contest because when it was announced I was not under contract, neither did I really think I would be any time soon, and she told me that I didn't need the prize since I had an editor already. That made my week...month...let me tell you.
Success comes from these competitions, look at Lucy King and Lynn Raye Harris, and very soon, Gill Clegg :-). But success also comes from other places. This isn't the end. For me, a 'failed' contest was the beginning.
Keep writing, friends. And submit, submit, submit.
Okay, I am bursting with absolute pride and joy, because my dear friend and critique partner Jilly, Gill Clegg on the iheartpresents site, has won the Modern Heat category of the Harlequin contest!!
Her chapter was truly amazing. I had the wonderful opportunity to read it before she hit send, and I can honestly say the feedback she got from the group on it was, 'You're brilliant. It's brilliant, don't change a thing!'
She's a wonderful person, a wonderful writer, and my wonderful 'sister.' She spent lots of hours critiquing my writing and helping me get my own book in 'up to publishable standard' shape. I can't wait until she gets The Call!
So, sorry for those who didn't place, but, if it helps, I was in this exact same position the last two comps I entered. Not only did I not place, I did not receive personalized feedback. And it was tough. But, that wasn't the end of my journey, it was the beginning. So get out there and sub sub sub!!!
Congrats again, Jilly! I love you much and I'm so happy!