Tag Archive | Mills & Boon New Voices

Mills and Boon Competition Results… And More

The results for the first round of the Mills & Boon competition are out. I’m not in the top ten. Still, with 824 entries, I didn’t really expect to be.

I am however, very happy with my result. My chapter was voted on by 8 people – that’s a pretty good number. 8 people cared enough to vote on it (some entries only had 2 or 3 votes). My score was 37%. When I first started to read them, I thought that was really low. But, the top score was only 48%. In contrast the lowest was 20%, so my story’s pretty much in the middle score-wise. As the advert (for some kind of butter or something) says – the Middle is a great place to be.

Also if you list all the entries in order of score I’m in the middle-ish. My entry is on page 54 out of 83 pages. Considering I only started writing properly 18 months ago, and considering I only found out about the competition a week before the closing date, I’m really happy with it.

It’s also another competition I’ve entered. Each time I enter one it’s going to get easier. And each one I enter and don’t win, it’s a step closer to winning. Look at me and my positivity today.

There’s a little relief that I didn’t come in the top ten and have to submit Chapter Two. That would be another week of editing. Which I will have to do at some point, but not now.

I think the best thing to have come from this whole experience, is the fact I’ve started editing Italian Infatuation. Without the push that this competition gave me, I never would have started it. Am so happy I have.

Although now, there’s only just over a month until NaNoWriMo. Where I’ll need to focus ALL my attentions on the novel I’m writing. So won’t be able to even think about Italian Infatuation.

That is a point actually, I need to start thinking about that novel. And reading about YA novels and stuff. Maybe a YA novel isn’t the greatest idea when I’ve not done that much reading of the genre. Maybe I should do another novel I’ve been thinking of for a year or so.

Grrrrr. I don’t know.

I want my NaNo novel to coincide with my writing course. In that for my next assignment I need to plot a novel. I’d like it to be my NaNo novel. Which means I should send my assignment in by mid October to get the results (up to) ten days later, to then have time to take on my tutor’s comments.

I really should get cracking on that then shouldn’t I…

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Mills and Boon New Voices Competition Entry

It’s in. Oh yes, I’ve submitted my story. The deadline was 23.59 GMT last night. I handed mine in at about 23.10 BST. Gotta say I’m really glad BST is an hour ahead not an hour behind GMT, because I totally forgot we were in that not GMT. Doh!

When I signed up to the competition I used my real name. Without thinking of the implications. The implications are that I’m going to tell my readers where my chapter is, and to go read it. Thus meaning my real name can be seen. I’ve been thinking about ‘coming out’ (so to speak) for a while, but I’ve always thought I’d write Mills and Boon novels under one name, and Chick Lit under my real name. Like Madeline Whickham/Sophie Kinsella I wanted to keep a difference between the two writing styles.

Ah well, it looks like my Mills & Boon career (!!) will be under my real name too. Not the worst think in the world!

When I first logged on to the competition website this morning, I had a VERY positive comment, and a story rating of 79%. Woop! That’s really high. It came from 2 votes. I’ve now had 5 votes and my rating’s gone down to 40%. That’s still in the top half though. I’m well pleased. Even if no one else votes or comments, I’m going to be very happy because I got a couple of good ratings and one awesome comment.

So here we go, if you fancy a read of the first chapter of Italian Infatuation go take a look here:

http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/Entries/958-Italian-Infatuation

If you like it, a comment or rating would be just fabulous!

11 Hours and Counting

Why did I ever think I could get this chapter of Italian Infatuation ready to enter a competition, and be submitted online within a week? What is wrong with me. I feel about a million miles away from it being ready, but I’ve only got 11 hours. Max. And I’m supposed to be going to some leaving drinks tonight, so really, I’ve only got 9.

Obviously that’s why I’m blogging not reading the chapter. I mean, what else would a sensible person do?

I think a sensible person would go to bed early when they a) knew they had this deadline today, and b) knew they had to get up really early for work today. But lets face it, I’ve never claimed to be sensible.

The reason I’m so worried about it is that I sent it to my mum to read last night, and she said there was a mistake on the 1st page. I was literally on my way to bed so couldn’t speak to her, and now I can’t find what it is. Agh! I may have to wait to sub it until she gets home from work.

OK, that’s not the single reason I’m worried. There are others. One is that I’ve still not done the descriptions of the villa. There’s two bits where I need to do the internal and external views. I can’t. Well, I probably can, but I just keep putting it off because I think I’m rubbish at descriptions. I make them flat and boring. Which is why I stay away from them.

Although I’m entering this competition in the vain hope I’ll win (against 300+ writers that have probably been doing it a lot longer than me and are probably a lot better? What?), I totally hope I don’t win. I actually hope I don’t even make it to the next round. In the next round you have to sub Chapter Two. Eek! I don’t want to have to do that, because, you know, it’s not really ready. Not even in the slightest.

I don’t want to win because that would mean they’d want to publish my novel, which is great and all, but it’s so not ready. Not even the idea of it is ready. I don’t have enough going on, I need to work out some more conflict and have no idea how I’m going to do that.

I think that’s why I’ve been putting off editing it for so long.

Still, if I do get to the next round (ok, it would be pretty cool) it would force me to re-write Chapter Two. That wouldn’t be a bad thing. It needs doing after all.

If I did win (I lie, I would like it – it would be amazing) I’d HAVE to get on with sorting out the problems. OR the lack of problems within the story. Again, it does need doing.

Ok, enough of this. I’m going to get some caffeine and crack on with it. Draft 4… here I come!

Getting Close

It’s just over 24 hours until the Mills & Boon New Voices deadline. Ahhhhhh. I keep saying I’m getting scared, but I think it’s just words. At the moment I’m feeling a little apprehensive, but nothing major.

I’ve finished draft three, and am pretty happy with it. Except for the fact I need to add in a description of the villa – which I’ve been putting off for ages.

I’ve spent too much time today reading again. I’m now on page 300 and I only started the novel yesterday. Needless to say I’m loving it (Foursome by Jane Fallon). I am going to recommend it to everyone I know. As long as it’s got a good ending. Which I have no doubt it will.

I’m out tonight, but when I get in later I’m going to give the chapter another read through. Maybe I’ll write these two descriptions of the villa. Maybe I’ll leave that until tomorrow. I really shouldn’t.

The last couple of days I’ve spent ages trying to motivate myself to edit, then suddenly at about 11pm I get it and rock through it. If only I could be like that during the day. I’ve been a little tired today because of it.

I got an email today from ErgoFiction to remind me about the Search Term Challenge. Closing date is 14th October… That’s getting close too.

I’m going to a family party on Sunday. I’ve been debating whether to drive over there or get the train. I think I’m going to get the train, that way I can spend the two hours each way reading or writing (maybe even doing my writing course – although doubtful!). That’s so much more appealing than driving. Although that might be because I’m reading a great book. It’ll be well finished by Sunday though!

Books: Editing and Reading

I read through the second draft of chapter one of Italian Infatuation yesterday. It’s ok. There’s a couple of bits I really like, but then there’s some that suck. Badly. But that’s fine, I’ve got two days to edit it.!!

The thing that worries me, is that I don’t really have time to take time away from it then go back with fresh eyes. I wish I’d heard about the competition longer ago, although there’s always the fact I work better with a fast approaching deadline, so would I have started it even if I knew about it a while ago?

That aspect of my personality really annoys me. It’s like I can only do something if I know I have to do it – soon. I think that’s why NaNo worked so well for me last year, I had such a small time frame to write the novel in, that I couldn’t procrastinate, or put it off till later.

I finished one of the books I was reading over the weekend. The writing really annoyed me because there were a few sections where it got the name of the person it was referring to wrong. Seriously! At first I thought it was me getting it wrong, but I checked back and it was definitely the book that was wrong. It drove me mad. I almost wanted to stop reading it because of it, but, by that point I’d really got into the story, so HAD to finish it. I don’t think I’ll be reading another one of her books though.

So, with that book finished, it was time to start another. Well actually I had a debate with myself over this. On one hand, I have two books I’m desperate to read (Foursome by Jane Fallon and Husbands by Adele Parks), but on the other hand, if I’m  not reading a book, I’m much more likely to spend time editing Italian Infatuation. With this in mind, I chose Foursome to be my next book and put in my bag when I left the house this morning. I told myself that I’d think more about whether to read it now or start on Wednesday – after I’ve subbed by chapter.

I bet you can see where this is going. I sat down on the tube and had a look at it. Just a quick look to remind me what it’s about. Then I opened it, you know, just to look at page one. Actually no! It was to see which year it was published (this year). THEN I looked at page one. And the rest as they say, is history.

The whole of my morning and lunch breaks were spent reading it – I’m now on page 73 and worried how I’m going to edit this damn chapter ’cause the books so good. As I kind of thought it would be – I totally LOVED Getting Rid of Matthew.

Foursome is written 1st person which, like I’ve said  before, I love cause you really get to know the character, how she thinks and what makes her tick; but also discover things the same time as her so it’s like you’re going through the action yourself.

I found really interesting is that it took me until about page 30 to realise it’s in the present tense. The reason that’s interesting to me is I was reading a book ages ago (can’t for the life of me remember which one) and I struggled with it being present – sometimes things sounded a little stiff, or unnatural. So, here’s a lesson to me: If I’m writing in the present tense (Holiday) it has to be good, and flow naturally.

So me being naughty and starting the book has been useful. You know, for a project I’m not actually working on at the moment. Grrrrr!

This morning instead of editing, I went through my inbox and deleted about 10k emails. I’ll be using the same email address for my new job, so wanted to clear out some rubbish I’ve had for over a year. Obviously this took time. And HAD to be done when I’ve got a deadline looming!

I’ve also made a list of the things I really need to do. Funny how I find so much to do when I should be doing something else!

If I’m like this now, I’m going to be a nightmare if/when/if/when I get a publishing contract. 🙂

Ok. Project edit – draft three here we come…

Queen of Procrastination?

At the moment I think I can beat anyone to that title.

I am at home on a Saturday night (as I’m working both weekend days and waitressing tends to tire me out so much I don’t want to do anything else), so really should be taking this opportunity to edit this chapter for the Mills & Boon New Voices competition. You know, the one whose DEADLINE is WEDNESDAY. I’ve been sat at my computer for 2 1/2 hours and guess how much I’ve done? Well, the fact that the paper copy I started editing on Thursday is still in my bedroom and I’m in the lounge should speak for itself.

Not all of what I’m doing is a waste of time, although I agree the games on Facebook and Twittering about silly adverts probably are! I’ve been reading through this week’s Fiction Friday stories. There are some really good ones this week. And I’ve found a couple of author’s blogs I’ve had to add to my Google Reader (like I have enough time to read the ones I’ve got already!).

I’ve also started stressing about how I’m going to find time to write, read all the Fiction Friday stories and other people’s (daily) blogs when I start a ‘real’ (by real I mean busy) job. How do people manage it? I know it’s just a case of managing  my time better. Finishing in the evenings an hour earlier than I used to will make a big difference. I’d often feel that once I finish work, get home, (maybe go to the gym,) cook and eat, that I’ve got no time, or am too exhausted to do anything. It’s only an hour, but it will mean that I’ll have all that finished my 8 rather than 9. At 8 I’ll feel like there’s some of the evening left – so will feel like writing (I hope).

I think what I really need to do is stop watching TV. When I get home from work, I go into the lounge, chat to my housemate (who’s always got the TV on), sit down and am lost in the cr*p of whatever she’s watching. I never really care what’s on (I always let her decide what we watch – that’s how little I care). Then I go to bed. If I can take away the sitting down stage, but go straight to my room, then I should be able to get into writing and catching up with blogs.

It’s just a matter of time management. Something I don’t even try to hide that I’m bad at.

At some point in the next few months my living arrangement have to change (housemate’s selling up, and something more fun too, but more of that further down the line) so hopefully I can use that as an advantage too.

One of the blogs I discovered today is Agatha82‘s. One of her recent blogs was about joining a writer’s group. Yep, that’s raising its ugly head again. How long ago was it I said I’d look into that? And how little have I done. Hopefully the move to a new job, with an earlier finish time will inspire me to do this. I really feel like it’s something I should do.

OK. Enough procrastinating. I must go edit this chapter. I’ve cut a massive section off the beginning, which means that one of my favourite bits can be in the first chapter – in fact, be the end of the first chapter. My problem is that it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. I would’ve liked it to. But it doesn’t, and I don’t think I can get it to. I guess that’s not a bad thing, I’d just love to leave the reader desperately wanting more. Oh well, lets hope the characters will be enough to get people wanting more!

Just quickly before I go and do my ironing edit the chapter, I’ll share a big problem I’ve got with the novel. My MC’s name is wrong. I thought it was a great name for her – mid 30s, quite sensible, workaholic. BUT, I’ve just realised, that’s not her (through her actions I’ve realised that) it’s just the role she’s been playing since her husband left her for someone else. The name doesn’t suit her. 53,000 words later I realise that. Seriously! I’m toying with Mel. Melanie. But not sure. Oh no, I’ve got four days to work it out.

Right. Now for the bathroom cleaning and washing editing!

Competition Time

I’ve just found out about a competition that’s right up my street – Mills & Boon New Voices. The prize? Your novel published, an editor for a year, an Ipad  AND a Mills & Boon Hamper. I’d be pretty happy with any one of those, so all four… All you have to do is enter your first chapter. All you have to do… Ha!

The closing date is 22nd Sep. Eek! That’s next Wednesday. Eek! Obviously without a doubt I’ll use Italian Infatuation – it was after all written to be a Mills & Boon novel. However, I NEED to delete the first chapter. It’s irrelevant to the rest of the novel, and I’m not sure it does much for the MC. But it’s not as easy as just using the 2nd chapter. There are bits in the 1st that need to be taken out and put into the second. And I haven’t worked out how to do that yet. Hense it’s 10 months since I finished writing it, and I’ve not done a thing to editing it.

I also haven’t worked the chapters yet. At the moment it’s 52,000 words (ish, I can’t remember) in one go. No separation. Hmmm. I’ve got a challenge ahead of me. And less that a week to do it. Which really means I should be starting on that and not writing a blog right now. Still, I always say I work better to a deadline, so maybe it will push me to get it done.

No, not maybe I HAVE to do this. People can go on and comment and rate on your entry so that’ll be good. Although I’ve just had a little look and the ratings seem really low – there’s only a couple that are above 50%. Hmmmm. Lots are around 20-30%. Do I really want people to be able to give my first chapter a percentage? Scary. But of course the answer’s yes!

I’m not going to that Chick Lit Book Group tonight. Damnit. I’m still not even half way through the book. I’m enjoying it, but it’s put-down-able. I’m reading it because I’m reading it, I’m not drawn to it, wanting to not doing anything else because I want to read it so much. I often think that’s a good thing, when I HAVE to read books, I don’t get much else done, whereas at least with this one I’m having a life outside of reading.

Which is good at the moment when I’ve got to be editing my first chapter. Agh! Ok, I’m off. I’m gonna do it. Yep, NOW!