I took a big leap this week and submitted my YA portal fantasy to a writing competition. Submitting wasn’t an easy decision but in the end the entry fee was a small price to pay to get some comments from strangers who are in the industry. I spent a few weeks doing a deep edit of the entire novel. Then I was lucky enough to have a friend volunteer to read the first 20k (the part the judges will read) for grammar/punctuation (not my strong suit, but I’m working on it). I made many of those changes, and now I wait. Assuming I didn’t mess up my file in some way, I shouldn’t hear anything back until late June when they announce the short list. In the end I hope to get a few useful comments, and I’ve come out of the experience with a solid second draft I can return to later.
One of the things that bothers me about the submitted novel is how shallow the characters are. They feel more real in my head than they are on the page. Since I have dedicated February and March to working on my NA Murder Mystery, now is a great time to work on character development for that novel. I have a feeling most of February will be spent doing research for the detective aspects of the novel while working to flesh out the main characters. It’s time to pull out trait lists, questionnaires, and do some sample scenes.
If you have a unique way of getting to know your stories’ characters, I would love to hear it.