Okay, confession time. I have been avoiding New Voices. Yep, totally and completely avoiding it. Why? Weeeeelllll, long story and one I’m not going to share on this blog but it was part of why last year was the Annus Horribilis of my writing career (can I call it a career when I’m not actually being paid for it??). Anyway, the problem with avoiding something this big is that…well….you actually can’t avoid it. Especially when you have a bad case of FOMO. Not heard of FOMO? It’s Fear Of Missing Out. πŸ™‚

So, I’ve got this FOMO thing going on and there are so many great writers out there who have entered and I am feeling so bad for not going and reading the entries…

I think I probably need to man up and at least go have a look. I’ll never be able to read all the entries but I should go and read those of the people I know (sorry guys, I am a BAD friend).

As for entering myself… Well, last year people really liked my chapter and I was beyond thrilled at the feedback. But the sad fact of the matter was that it didn’t get anywhere. And I have an inkling as to why after several people let me know – in the nicest possible way – what the problem with it was.

No conflict.

Oh, I had conflict. I had bags of it. But did I put it in that first chapter? No I did not. Neither did I give either character any discernable, obvious goal. They had nothing to fight for, nothing to make what they were doing matter either for them or the reader. And without a goal there is no momentum. The characters are just standing around talking. Sigh. I guess, if nothing else, I can be proud of the fact that even with that dreadful faux pas, everyone STILL really liked it. πŸ™‚

It’s not a mistake I’ll make again. I still don’t know whether I’m entering this year or not. I have a chapter I’m working on that is NOTHING like my last year’s chapter . But one thing it WILL have is conflict.

So here’s my avoidant New Voices advice to you for what it’s worth:

Make sure your conflict is there in the first chapter. Give your characters a goal, something to fight for. Make it matter. Make it simple and make it obvious.

Easy, right?

27 thoughts on “FOMO”

  1. As I commented on your last post, number 17 is the hardest! I’m trying desperately to bear this in mind as I struggle with my NV entry – hopefully I’ll end up with at least a hint of the conflict to come!

    Good luck Jackie. You know you can do it, and that’s scary in itself (thinking that you won’t achieve something that you know you’re capable of). But you WILL πŸ™‚

  2. Julia – sure, easy. Ahahahaha!! πŸ™‚ Get a CP to read it and ask them, that’s what I do.

    Madeline – that’s it EXACLTY! And I hope I will. I’m sure you will too.

  3. Jackie you know where I stand on this so I won’t belabour the point.

    Excellent advice about the conflict being clearly evident in the first chapter. Ah the big three: Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Like Julia said: I haven’t sent mine off yet because I’m not sure I have all three down as well as I would like. But I sure would like your opinion once I do get it up there (pretty please with a chocolate martini on top?)

  4. Oh and Jackie just to let you know that you’re already up on the NV Facebook page. A lovely lady (not me *dammit*) posted a link to your Sassy Sisters post on The Rules.

    So you’re already on the Fb page – now it’s only a short jump to the NV site itself!

  5. Not subbed mine yet – too scared!

    I’ll bite the bullet soon – well that’s what I keep telling myself!!! Caroline x p.s would *love* to see a chapter from you tho’ – so why don’t we take a deep breath, one, two, three – POST!

  6. Elissa, you’ve just made me relook at my chapter! And…ooops! Forgot about some the GMC. Thanks! And yes, I’d love to read your chapter. Let me know when it’s up.
    Woah re the NV FB page! Eeeek. Whereabouts is it?

    Bec – yep, hard won. Bitterly won even. Ignore at your peril eh?

  7. The NV Facebook post was put up by Kavya Kamaraj. It was posted about 19 hours ago. You may have to scroll down a-ways to find it but she has a cute little avatar of a sun and a rose so it shouldn’t be too hard to find (p.s for some reason it’s not showing up if you do a search – go figure!).

    Oh and I second Lacey’s “suggestion”. Caving into mass demand is the only smart thing to do.

  8. Jackie – I feel your pain. I’ll admit New Voices was a disappointment for me too last year, but won’t say anymore than that. Still, it’s a fabulous opportunity and I reckon you HAVE to be in it. Can’t wait to read your chap πŸ™‚

  9. Yeah, go for it Jackie, I’d love to read more of your stories.

    I thought I’d got my conflict nailed but I’m not so confident now. I put my chapter up on the second day but I’m wondering if I should have waited and checked it over a bit more first. Mind you, if I had, I suspect I just wouldn’t ever put it up for fear of missing a glaring error. Oh well, done now.

    Have to say, I’m really enjoying reading everyones’ entries. There are some truly talented writers out there.

    Really good luck with yours. Hope to see it up there soon.


  10. Jackie
    I thought we had a deal?!

    In all seriousness I don’t know how it works and whether editors would rather choose a completely new voice rather than a known person they are already working with who they know has a voice.

    BUT I think you should do this because so many people REALLY do want you to.

    Nina x

    PS And you may win!!

  11. Lacey – I probably won’t enter under JA. Will let you know though. Which I guess means I’m entering. At some point. πŸ˜‰

    Elissa – thanks! *runs off to check*

    Rach – yeah, a bit like that huh? You’ll get to see the chapter soon. But don’t hold your breath on it being fantastic. πŸ™‚

    Christy – hey, thanks for the comment! I’m now feeling doubly peer-pressured! But in the nicest possible way. πŸ™‚ Must go and read your chapter. I’m sure you got there with the conflict.

  12. Nina – Lol! Never let it be said I’m welshing on a deal. I’ll enter but I’m just fiddling around with the last bit.
    Yeah, my feeling is that because I’m not really a new voice, I probably won’t get anywhere. But so many people have been asking me to put a chapter up that I probably will. So people can see what I’m doing now.
    But if you’re expecting a RIVA type voice, then you’ll be disappointed. πŸ™‚

  13. Thanks for the tip! I’ve just entered *gulp*
    good on for working away on your craft. And i don’t think you have to be paid to call writing a career. If you go to bed wanting to write, wake up wanting to write, you are a writer!

  14. Hi Jackie

    I’m just looking forward to a Jackie type voice even though I don’t know what that will be – I only know what you ‘sound’ like from your blog (though I’ve already told you I reckon you could make this blog into a book!)

    Nina x

  15. Nina – well, Maisey read my chapter today and said it sounded like me, despite the fact that it’s Presents, so that’s good! However, that being said, if you’re expecting humour, you’ll be disappointed. πŸ™‚

  16. Jackie, I would LOVE for you to read and comment on my chapter. Please, please feel you can be as honest as possible, even if you hate it, I would really, really appreciate any advice you have, especially re the conflicts.

    Let us know when you’ve uploaded your chapter and who you’re writing as. I’m really intrigued by your hints about it already!


  17. Christy – I’ve just commented. Great chapter! Conflicts seem fine to me. I suppose I did kind of want to know more about his but I think we got enough hints about it – certainly enough to be intriguing! What line are you aiming for?

    As for me…not sure yet. I’ve registered as Jackie Coates but still tossing up with the chapter.

  18. Jackie, your a star, thanks so much for taking the time to read my chapter and comment, I really appreciate it. You’ve raised some good points, I’ll definitely be looking to improve chap 1 once the comp is over.

    I wrote the chapter thinking it would be aimed at Presents (I think it’s a little bit too dark and downbeat for Riva) but quite a few people have said they think it’s a better fit for Intrigue. The rest of story isn’t really suitable for the Intrigue line so I might have shot myself in the foot by straddling two lines. Hope not! I was going for edgy, but not sure I’ve pulled it off πŸ™ Only time will tell I guess.

    Good luck finishing off your chapter. Looking forward to reading it.


  19. Christy – well, I think your voice sounds Riva. And with Riva and the downbeat thing, it’s all in the execution. But I know what you mean. I straddle the line – I love the Riva tone and I’m not bad with writing it, but I LOVE dark conflict and couldn’t manage to pull it off with Riva. In the end, I just got confused and ended up with no conflict! Lol!
    Anyway, Maisey Yates writes Presents with a Riva-ish voice so it’s definitely possible.
    As for the intrigue bit, I can’t comment since I don’t read intrigue. It might be a simple matter of toning down that aspect and playing up the internal conflict big time.

    My chapter is in no way, shape, or form, Riva. It’s ALL angst. πŸ™‚

  20. Ooh, I like the sound of that.

    Yeah, you’re right, Maisey definitely has a very fresh, fun voice and she writes for Modern/Presents. Maybe it is doable if you go about it the right way…

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