Shameless self-promotion alert! (It may be the last of its kind, so indulge me.)
I just learned today that the “wardrobe scene” from Goddess of the Hunt is a finalist in the MRWA “Reveal Your Inner Vixen” contest. Yay! (And no, the finalists aren’t posted yet. They said it might take a while.)
This was especially exciting, because this is a contest expressly for sexual tension scenes. And I really do love that wardrobe scene. I vividly remember the weekend I wrote it – all they were supposed to do was kiss! Heh. Jeremy had other ideas. And they were gooood ideas, I guess. I still think of that as the defining scene of my book.
Overall, I entered GOTH in 5 contests. In one, I placed just about dead last. In another, I just missed the finals cut, but I made a great networking contact. In the other three, I made the finals. No final results yet. So I can’t complain. But am I entering another contest again?
No way. Argh, the tension! I can’t take it!
What else have I learned? Assuming you have a generally decent manuscript, finaling or not finaling in contests seems largely a matter of which judges you draw. Some of my most helpful feedback has come from my harshest judges. And even when I completely tanked in the one contest, it helped me learn to deal with criticism and rejection. But–oh, the energy and time and postage I’ve spent! I’m glad I entered each one; I’m also glad I haven’t entered any more.
How about the rest of you? Has your experience with contests been positive, negative, mixed? Gotten any unexpected benefits from contest participation?