The Colorado Gold Writing Contest | Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

I finally bit the bullet and submitted a small part of Shelved for critique by a professional Literary Agent and Editor. 

I’ve had my eye on the Colorado Gold Writing Contest for months. It entails submitting a pitch that’s 50 words or less, then the first 4000 words of your manuscript, followed by a complete synopsis at 750 words or less.

I’m entering more for the critique than the hopes of winning. No, really. I’m just coming off of a pretty brutal beta reading adventure that led me to completely rework the plot and rewrite the first three chapters after the results came back. I also had a Shelved-related anxiety attack that almost put me out of commission for several days. So, winning is not the idea here.

My category is Young Adult Mystery, and the judges are Trish Daly, Associate Editor, William Morrow/HarperCollins (a big 5 publisher), and Melissa Jeglinski, Agent, The Knight Agency.

Although it takes a long time to get the critique back (mid-August), there are several really neat things about this contest:

  • It’s for unpublished authors only (self-published is allowed)
  • You don’t need a complete manuscript (I have one, but it needs work)
  • It forced me to write a synopsis, which helped me restructure my book
  • You can pay for a critique by industry professionals, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg
  • You receive a copy of the judge’s scores and comments
  • It’s limited to 200 entries, which is important to me for a few reasons:
    • The pool is smaller, and with all of the categories, this increases a new writer’s chances of success
    • The quality of the critique and judging will be higher

I’ll report back on the results in August. Until then, I’m taking a short vacation from Shelved. I’ve spent 186 consecutive days working on it with only 4 days off. It’s time to step back a bit and read other people’s books for a change.

(image credit: http://danlangendorf.com/writing-casual/)

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2 thoughts on “The Colorado Gold Writing Contest | Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

  1. Good for you, Allison! As I have already expressed to you, the best scenario is for you to be able to stick to your original story line as best you can. I think that, if I were an author, I would prefer to experience less success with the story that I set out to tell, than to try to please the beta readers and others by changing it to something that might bring more success, but not be “my” story. If you can find a happy medium where you are happy and the readers are happy, then, of course, that would be a win-win! I hope that, by taking a step back, reaching inside yourself, and determining what changes you can make without sacrificing too much of your original idea for your story, you will be back on the path to success! I’m pulling for you!!

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    1. Thank you! I’ve been carrying this weight around because I didn’t give myself the time to really just write. It was constrained (both my time and the writing quality itself). I like the new direction, and the beta reading process confirmed a few things I already thought weren’t working well, but I was attached to. I got over it and decided to make improvements. The “new” version feels so much better. I like it a lot more. It’s just a lot of work, and where I thought I’d be ready to query this summer, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anymore. 😉

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