(Every year the Society of Southwestern Authors sponsors a writing contest for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The SSA contests are open to non-members, so entries come in from all over the country. This year was the first time they included a category for first-chapter, novel submissions. I think they were a bit overwhelmed when thirty entries hit their mailbox.
Winning entries are published in SSA’s annual publication—The Storyteller; however, only the first page of each first-chapter entry is included in the hard-copy publication (space constraints.) But, thanks to SSA’s wonderful techie types, digital files are now up and running on their website, meaning that the winning chapters can be read in their entirety.
I’m guessing you suspect this is more than an info dump about the SSA contest. Right you are, of course.
Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, fill out the entry form, and pop that sucker in the mailbox, and trust me, every single time a little bit of your heart goes with it. Yup, even though Dancing Between the Beats is still undergoing final revisions, I entered the first chapter, Enter Stage Right, anyway. I entered without expectations, but paid the extra fee to receive written critiques from the judges. Always invaluable in any contest.
So, imagine my surprise when I received an email, not just with critiques attached, but with an invitation to the awards ceremony (yesterday), because my chapter won an Honorable Mention (that means 4th or 5th out of 30). I’ll take it! I’d expected to end up on the “to be shredded pile.” I'm quite pleased. If interested, here’s the link to the full first chapter: (P.S. - May 22. Just FYI, since the contest, the first chapter, particularly the first page, has been revised, and consolidated. Might pop it in to another post. Much better.)
I worried and stressed over having to read an excerpt, but I survived the mike, and if you want to read just the bit I read at the ceremony, you can find that here: