I knew a week ago I did not final, and I was okay with it. It was my first contest with CHASING THE LION and my goal was solid critique from some industry experts. Then I saw that there were only nine entries in my category. Suddenly, not placing stung. It took me back to those days in elementary when coaches didn't know better and let team captains choose members from the rest of us kids lined up against the backstop like we were facing a firing squad.
I remember it so well because I was the second to last kid chosen for a team that day. I couldn't relish being spared the humiliation of being THE last because when it was only me and the girl beside me, the captain whose turn it was to pick waved his hands and said they didn't want anyone else.
That stung a lot.
It still does, though I have forgiven the boy and the coach, and the younger me who let the pain of that day and others like it wreck her true identity in Christ. Clouded her knowledge that she was strong, beautiful, desired, fearfully and wonderfully made, for far, far too long. Well, after a prayerful battle with suddenly not coveting one of those top three spots and reminding myself of my original goal, I was back on track.
I was hit hardest in two areas I had already identified as needing overhauling since entering the contest. So I have an established confidence now those judges of these contests know what they're talking about! The more I learn about craft and polish the earlier chapters, the stronger the story gets. I'm pretty excited about that. But... I'm also SO SAD that I can't share a decision I made tonight because it would be a big, fat spoiler. It's like finding out you're having a baby and not having anyone to tell. Like... Livia HAHA.
Well I had been mulling this big, and I mean, BIG decision over for about two weeks now. Ever since really, and I mean REALLY bonding with the characters through some emotionally difficult scenes. But tonight I made the decision that is going to completely change the last third of the book. I'm pretty excited about it!!!
I can thank the fine authors of Seekerville where I got this piece of advice:
When the third person tells you you're drunk, it's time to lay down.
All three contest judges "told me I was drunk." Metaphorically speaking of course! But that decision I'd been grappling with, the contest judges were too. It was enough to be the deciding vote as to the fate of a particular character. Now, to get those thank you notes written and mailed off, and then a day to process what this decision does to the last third of the novel.
Somewhere God laughs at me as again... "my plan" yields to His. I keep trying to make sure they're the same to begin with, but I have all the same faults my characters do, which is why I still need Jesus everyday. ;-)