Sunday, November 7, 2010

Giant Step Forward, Baby Step Back, Giant Step Forward

by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Do you remember the childhood game: Take a Giant Step? It's how I describe my journey through the obstacle-strewn course in search of a publisher. I take a giant step forward when I final in a contest or receive a request. I take one or two or three baby steps back when I don't do well in a contest or I receive a rejection. Then something good happens, and I get to take another step forward. Then backward. And so on, and so on.

I was thrilled when I took a giant step forward not so long ago. My vampire/shapeshifter paranormal manuscript, Sea Panther, finalled in the Golden Gateway contest sponsored by From the Heart Romance Writers.

Then the results came in. Sea Panther placed fifth. No request. I rate this setback as one baby step backward because the editor said, "The tone/voice is perfect for this market," along with a few other nice things. She also provided notes on how to tweak the synopsis and premise to make them stronger. Yah!

And now, I get to take another giant step forward. My first completed manuscript from my Garden Gate Scottish time travel series, spiced with scheming fairies and one incredibly mischievous clan brounie, Just Beyond the Garden Gate, finalled in the paranormal category of the FAB (Finally a Bride) contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Chapter of RWA. My work will be in front of two editor judges. Very exciting.

My fingers are crossed.

Just Beyond the Garden Gate:
  • 2010 FAB Paranormal Finalist
  • 1st place 2008 MERWA Synopsis for Paranormal
  • 3rd place 2007 Golden Gateway Paranormal
  • 3rd place 2007 The Write Hook Query Letter

Sea Panther:
  • 5th place 2010 Golden Gateway Paranormal
  • 3rd place 2010 Touch of Magic Paranormal
  • 2nd place 2009 Hot Prospects FF&P
  • 1st place 2009 MERWA Synopsis for Paranormal


Luanna Stewart said...

Ah yes, the back and forth of exhilaration and despair that's enough to make a girl dizzy.

I like to think every step back is a chance to learn more about the craft and/or business, and every leap forward is a reward for hard work and dedication.

Heck, if writing a book was easy, everyone would have one on the shelves. It's only those of us who love writing so much it makes our teeth ache, who get the ultimate reward.

Madeline Smyth said...

Hi, Dawn-

Never let a contest result make you despair. Never let even a giant step backward keep you from taking a small step forward.

I judged an entry a couple of years ago. It didn't final (not because of my score). Yet, it went on to become a Golden Heart finalist a couple of months later. I felt a thrill that I had seen the promise of that story when others hadn't.

I've also been a contest finalist about 24 times during the past couple of years. One particular story has taken every ranking from First Place to merely Honorable Mention. From one contest (in which it actually placed Second, not First), I received a request for a full from a New York house.

In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Best, Madeline

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lu. The roller coaster ride can be thrilling. And thanks for the encouragement. Forward on. :)

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Madeline, Thanks so much for visiting. I always keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. Then try again. :)

Jill James said...

Dawn, I love the idea that a rejection or bad placement in a contest is just a baby step backwards. Because, just entering the contest in the first place is a giant step for many writers. The journey of being a writer is many steps so each one counts.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Thanks for dropping in, Jill. I thought the giant step/ baby step a good analogy. And yes, each step counts and hopefully prepares us for the future. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'd say you are taking great strides forward, Dawn Marie. I had a major setback this summer and began to doubt myself. After a couple of days my muse started knocking on my head wanting to know when we were getting busy again. It was right of course. Writing is subjective and it is a great love of mine. So, I pulled up my bootstraps and am happily pounding away on the keys again and quite happy with where I am going. Never giving up and writing what you love is my motto. Of course, having the greatest writing friends in the world helps, too... :)

Sarah Hoss said...

I wanted to tell you that I am so happy for you for your accomplishments and am proud that you have taken even the smallest set backs and used them to move forward. That shows your dedication to your craft and because of this, you will succeed!

Good luck!
Your Celtic Critter Pal,

Sarah Hoss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheila Tenold said...

I definitely relate to your forward and backward steps analogy.

My writing journey sometimes feels like a wacked-out pogo stick ride. No matter how hard I try it's stuck in place. Other times--with a contest win or an agent or editor's request--it's as if that pogo stick is airborne along with my hopes.

Kristal Lee said...

Congrats on finaling in the FAB contest for From the Garden Gate. It's a fantastic story.

Without the baby steps backward, we wouldn't appreciate the giant leaps forward.

Keep making those leaps! You will get there!!

Josie said...

Congrats on your recent final. Hope the editors love the manuscript. And I agree with Madeline, this business is very subjective. Keep submitting, 'tis the only way to success.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Hey Paisley, I'm glad you're back to writing and I love your motto. I think I'll post it on the side of my computer. :)

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Major Blush! Oh, Sarah. You say the nicest things. Thanks for visiting.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

LOL! Shelia, I love the pogo stick analogy.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Thanks, Kristal. I have my fingers crossed. Thanks for stopping by.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Thanks for the congrats, Joanne.

Clarissa Southwick said...

Congratulations on all the finals. You are so very close. You will make it as long as you don't give up. Good luck with the editors and I'll look for your name in the Golden Heart finals.

Pat McDermott said...

Keep taking those steps, Dawn. I've seen some of your work in critique stage, and I have no doubt that you and your fabulous stories will be running in no time. Thank you for an inspiring post!