I have read hundreds of entries and left encouraging and gushing comments on many (I’m not good at con. crit. or, at least, in framing it in words that I am confident will not upset the fragile equilibriums of my fellow writers, particularly in the heat of a competition. I think, in this context, it’s nice to be nice!)
Most usefully, however, I have poured again and again over the top tips and advice from the editors, and tried to trace where I, and my fellow writers, have got things right and wrong.
I'm now even more aware of aspects of my writing I need work on - like the use of cliché (see the title of this post!!) The best news is that, if I don’t get through, I think I will know why – and this is also partially down to recent advice given to me by the wonderful Liz Bailey on my overall synopsis.
The issue, both in the first chapter and, in a slightly different way, with the whole book, is Robert’s internal emotional conflict/emotional journey.
In chapter one, I am concerned that I do not really hammer home the internal conflict between Robert's attraction to Dora and his pride and ego as a writer/newspaper owner. I hint at it in this section:
He looked back her way, green eyes flaring with a calculating intelligence.
‘Sorry, Miss Finch. The duelling ground is no place for a lady.'
‘No place for the daughter of your sworn rival, you mean? You’re scared I’ll tell Papa every little detail, and then his report will be so much better than yours.’
Robert’s expression darkened with impatient irritation - or was it defensiveness? ‘That isn’t it at all.’
But, after that, I let this conflict drop for the rest of the chapter. This is partially due to the matter that Robert does not yet know quite what a ‘threat’ Dora is. He does not yet suspect she actually writes the paper, and thus she merely ‘amuses’ him at this stage. However, I worry that this little hint will not be enough for editors to pick up on, even though the internal conflict between their attraction and their egos and pride (and, in Dora’s case, her fierce family loyalties) are flagged in the summary.
In fact, I now wish I had not entered in such a flustered rush and had instead re-edited chapter one for this single chapter submission. The internal conflicts are better highlighted in the three chapter submission I had been preparing, where I didn’t have to worry so much about chapter one standing alone.
Hey ho! It’s all good – I now understand better one of the things I need to focus on as I polish the manuscript for proper submission. INTERNAL CONFLICT!!
Win or lose, next week I will shake my fist Scarlett O'Hara-style at the glowering sky, and vow 'they're not going to lick me!'
But, in the meantime, a girl needs her pleasures to take her mind off these things, so I was very pleased to see that more pictures of Take That in rowing gear have emerged...
Can't wait to see this video. Here they are with their rowing doubles!
Jason managed to look yummy even with that regretful beard and...oh, Markie. Butter wouldn't melt...!!! (credit: markowendaily)