My third attempt at a novel was my most ambitious project to date: a sweeping novel with four main characters, (all male), which took place in the 1950s in a small town in Virginia. The title: Born Leaders.
As with the other two novels, I sent off the query letters and sample chapters, but to no avail. My query/response spreadsheet was beginning to look like a report from a ten-year government study.
During this time, I wrote a short story which was beginning to show some promise. I worked on it for months, with critique groups and revised it several times. When it was as polished as I could get it, I sent it into our local Charlotte Writer’s Club contest, (The Elizabeth Simpson Smith Award), and it won first place– $500.00.
The award was more than just a local contest, (I was told), but a coveted prize each time it is offered. I attended a dinner in my honor, (along with the second and third place honorees), and accepted my award later at the monthly meeting. Although this seemed like a great honor at the time, I discovered later that agents are only interested if you win a national award. Still, I was proud of my accomplishment, and was also pleased to discover the short story would be published in the Writer’s Club anthology.
Next blog post, I will explore my fourth attempt, (a young adult novel), loosely based on events from my own teen years.