For nearly two years now I have been working on my first novel. I knew that it would be a major undertaking, and it has. It has also been a very rewarding creative experience. I knew that, ultimately, I could only learn how to write novels by sitting down and writing one. A couple weeks ago I finished my first complete draft. Although I am planning to rewrite it extensively based on feedback from my readers, it finally hangs together as a unified work, rather than a heap of disjoint notes and scenes.
I have decided to take a leap of faith and enter the first three chapters in The Next Big Writer’s Strongest Start Novel Competition. For those of you unfamiliar with The Next Big Writer, they are an on-line writer’s workshop where people upload works in progress to solicit feedback. The Strongest Start Competition is an annual event. Judges from the publishing industry read the first three chapters of each book and rank them. The most important scoring criteria is “How likely would you be to go on to read Chapter 4?” I am entering my book not because I expect to win (although that would be great) but because I expect it to be a valuable learning process.
The grand prize is publication of the book and $300. Wish me luck!