Archive of ‘SYTYCW’ category

So You Think You Can Write? Then Enter!

The only thing you have to lose by entering is your doubts

Once upon a time, on a couch very much like this one (in fact, it was this one), I sat and stared at my keyboard, my mouse hovering over the “submit” button.

I had just uploaded the first chapter of my manuscript to enter it into the 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest and I. Was. Terrified.

What if everyone hated it? What if they threw rotten tomatoes or large rocks at my computer screen? Worse, what if they simply ignored my entry and I never got the feedback I so desperately craved?

I wasn’t sure I would survive.

Nevertheless, I took a deep breath, gulped down some wine, and clicked.

And you know what? It was one of the best things I ever did.

Over the next few weeks, I got to know quite a few wonderful women. We all wanted to win, of course. But we were also enjoying the company of a bunch of other writers who understood exactly what we were going through.

We gnashed our teeth together. Chewed our fingernails down to the quick together. And when the time came, we cheered the finalists on, not begrudging them their success in the least (although we were all still hoping to hear from an intrigued editor).

I was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t final-final (mine got cut at the semi-finals) but I did get an editor interested. And I sold my manuscript (scoring a two-book deal in the process).

But equally importantly, I made lasting friendships.

While at the RWA conference a few weeks ago, I attended the open house for SYTYCW alumni and interested writers. And I got to hug the smiling faces of a whole bunch of women I’d never “met” before, but was already proud to call friend.

Two of those women (Tanya Wright and Jennifer Christie) are now my critique partners, and together, we’re going to take the writing world by storm.

All three of us have advice to give you in this video the Harlequin crew shot.


The next step of our careers is “To Be Decided,” but wherever we go, it’s going to be great.

And it all started with a little thing called the So You Think You Can Write contest.

So if you’re thinking about entering, stop thinking and just do it.

You’ll be glad you did.

SYTYCW: The End of the Journey

just call me mrs. novelist

When last we spoke, I had just been notified that I was one of the Top 50 semi-finalists for Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. I told you guys I was going to finish the book if it killed me. And you never heard another word.

That’s because it almost did (if I may speak in a hyperbolic manner).

Over five days, I wrote 30,000 words, and deleted about 15,000 of them (chapter six  got re-written three times). Halfway through the second day, my carpal tunnel flared up. Halfway through the third day, I started to get sick.  By the fourth day, I was miserably ill.  We’re talking 103-degree-fever-ill.

Still, I wrote on.


SYTYCW: I Made it to the Semifinals

A few weeks ago, I held my breath, said a little prayer to the writing gods, and submitted a chapter to the So You Think You Can Write contest at Harlequin.

I knew it was good. Knew it in my bones. But I never, not for a minute, expected anything to come of it.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t worry about it. On the contrary, I checked for new comments on my entry every day. Stalked the hashtag on Twitter. Read other entries in all my spare minutes and despaired at their awesomeness.

But I didn’t think there was a chance in hell I’d make the first cut.

Then this arrived in my inbox.

congratulation email from SYTYCW2013

I made it through round one.

The next words out of my mouth were, “Oh wow. Oh crap. Oh my God…” Really. They were. Ask my coworkers.

My hands shook. My stomach roiled. My brain spun.

Real editors had read my work and liked it enough to want to see more. I am still trying to wrap my brain around that nugget of awesomeness (see also: mentally SQUEEEEing).

I am fully aware of how many thousands of writers would give their lifeblood to have the opportunity that’s now in front of me. So I’m going to make the most of it.

Becky and Mark aren’t quite ready for prime time yet. But by Sunday at 11:59 p.m.? They damn well will be. Even if it means I have to consume 1,000 gallons of coffee and Red Bull between now and then.

Wish me luck.

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