See, everyone reacts differently. Reading a really bad manuscript doesn’t make me want to cry. It makes me angry. No, I’m not kidding. I wish I were. This article could also be called “How to Make Me Stop Reading Your Entry” because clearly you didn’t take the time or make the effort to have someone else read what you wrote first. Among other things.
Honestly, NOT having someone else read your first chapter before submitting it ANYWHERE is clearly insane. That first chapter is your hook…that first chapter is going to dictate whether the reader keeps reading…and in my case, if the judge keeps judging. Yes, I’m back on the novel writing contest again. Hopefully, someone will gain some sort of insight from the awful, awful things I’ve seen. My eyes! (Cue music from Gone with the Wind.) Okay, I may be exaggerating just a little bit. My eyes don’t actually hurt, my brain does.
Missing words and typographical errors should NEVER occur in a first chapter. Theoretically, they should never occur in a manuscript, but we’re all human and eventually it’s going to happen. But in a submission to a contest? Really? I don’t get that. Many agents and/or publishers will ask for the first chapter(s) in their submissions instructions. If you’re not self-publishing, and you’re trying to hook someone, you HAVE to have that first chapter stellar and pristine. Anything less is setting yourself up to lose. Continue reading “How to Lose a Novel Writing Contest”