I was really excited to blog this week about the ways minority skin is described in fiction (here’s a challenge for you: try to do it without using food metaphors), but that will have to wait because I received some news.
I’m a Marlene Contest finalist!
What is the Marlene Contest? It’s a writing competition sponsored by Washington Romance Writers. I chose to enter because it seemed perfect for a love story set in D.C.–like Lessons from Robin (Although I now believe that the novel didn’t actually have involve D.C. to qualify, but whatevs—it couldn’t have hurt!)
I decided to look for a contest to enter after scanning several “query letters that worked” (that is, pitch letters that led to agent representation) because they often included credentials such as winning a contest or being published in a literary journal or magazine. I decided that those credentials—rather than whether they were “pithy” or “had a hook”—is what truly made them stand out, but others may disagree. Since pitching literary journals is almost as difficult as finding an agent, I figured a contest was my best bet. It also seemed like an easy way to gain some exposure (at least 3 people read each entry) and the prize is a free critique. That’s a pretty decent prize given how expensive those things can get.
Anyway, I entered the “Romantic Elements” category, which is described as “a work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries.”
The winners are announced next month at the Washington Romance Writers retreat. I wasn’t planning to go, but now I’m like why not? Many people have recommended attending writers conferences to me in the past (apparently they offer great workshops and opportunities to meet agents and editors in person). Plus, I’ve been putting off the final edits to my novel, so now I have a deadline to get it done. I’m getting this thing in tip-top shape by April 4!! Can’t wait!