Monday, September 08, 2014

Sometimes Romance Takes Work

This is true in marriage, of course. But it’s also true in writing.

Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad judges recently finished critiquing the entries in the Contemporary Romance category. But, alas, they deemed none of them quite ready for prime time.

Upon receiving their report, I was curious, so I looked over the entries. I didn’t see any obvious problems – spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, all appeared to be well done. So why did the judges say they couldn’t in good conscience put Novel Rocket’s seal of approval on any of them?

A closer look gave me the answer. The stories were good as far as they went. But they didn’t go quite far enough.

Some of the problems: underdeveloped plot; characters’ goals and purposes absent or obscure; no establishment of setting at the beginning of a scene; and no immediate conflict facing the protagonist.

Other entries had trouble with clarity and/or consistency within the story as well as issues with over-explaining and over-describing.

“Picky, picky!” you might complain. “Didn’t you just say the entries were well written? Those things you mention are no big deal!”
Launch Pad Trophy

Well, I might agree with you except… they are a big deal! For a novel to make it in today’s world, “good enough” is simply not good enough. A successful novel must stand out from the ordinary.

The happy news for this month’s contest entrants is that they’re well on their way; their writing shows mastery of the basic techniques. They simply need to polish their craft. We hope the writers will find the judges’ comments useful toward that end—and we hope they won’t be discouraged, because they’re definitely headed in the right direction.

So where do we go from here? I can’t speak for the writers, but as for us here at the Launch Pad Contest, another panel of judges is immersed in the Speculative Fiction entries. The deadline for that category is this Wednesday (September 10), so if you’d like to take part, please do so soon! Check out the submission requirements on the Launch Pad tab and send your entry to us at NovelRocketContest at gmail dot com. 

The worst that can happen? You’ll get two (2) thorough, professional critiques. At best? You just might end up being our Grand Prize winner. (Wouldn't that glass rocket look stunning on your shelf? Wouldn't you love a personal introduction to an agent or editor who's looking for just the sort of thing you write?)

Questions? Comments? Contact us at the gmail address above. We have a real person standing by (okay, I’m sitting, actually) to respond.

Will we have a winner in the Speculative Fiction category next month? Stop by on October 13 to find out, and to read the winning entry if there is one.

Will you be this year’s Grand Prize winner? I don’t know, but the suspense is killing me!

When she's not overseeing the Launch Pad Contest, Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world. 

The Last Toqeph, the fourth (and final) title in her Gateway to Gannah sci-fi series, releases next month. If you’ve never visited Gannah, you’re missing an amazing experience. But never fear! You can remedy that sad state of affairs by booking your flight to the first stop on the itinerary with The Story in the Stars.


Ane Mulligan said...

Excellent explanation, Yvonne. Novel Rocket winner do need to be ready to publish to win, but I'm please with your explanation for the entrants to see what needs to be worked on. And I add my congratulations to them for submitting! That's a big step on the road toward publishing.