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. 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
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.