Posted by: Natalie Hatch | July 6, 2009

Writing Competitions

This week our very own Vanessa is up for a Golden Heart! So to celebrate we’re talking all things competition style.

I have had some interesting results in the writing competitions I’ve entered. The funniest one though was the time I entered what I thought was an okay Romance story. It was meant to be a historical adult romance, set in WWII. I came dead last, I mean, DEAD last. The story of my heart was atrocious (it was my first novel, so yes it was bad) and I had polished it up, well I thought I did.

Being honest, that competition taught me something very important. I’m not a romance writer. I can write some things, but my heart isn’t totally into romance romance. I keep trying to put other subplots in that for a pure romance doesn’t work.

So I sat there laughing at myself and my result. You see, I’m a very competitive person. I will push myself until I get a good result. At university I wasn’t happy unless I had a HD (equivalent of an A). Then this result happens, and I’m not just not getting an A, I’m getting an E-… argh!

Hubby read the results and laughed with me, he thought it was very apt. He had told me to stick to writing what I know. So I put that to the side and tried to write a Harlequin Intrigue type book… ahem, that one too will stay forever under my bed. We won’t talk about the result, or even bother to explain the situation. I don’t write Intrigue either.

It’s a learning curve.

But what I do love writing is Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy. I love mixing technology with a little romance, and a fair swag of what happens next thrown in.

When I started writing YA it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I was no longer sweating each word out. It was easy to get a scene down. Hubby was happy because I wasn’t bugging him with the usual “would a hero say this when he’s trying to woo…”  and I didn’t have to try and write the ahem.. sex... ahem… scene. Another thing I’m not good at (writing those types of relationships, I end up giggling half way through).

For sure if you are writing, enter competitions, there are tonnes out there, make sure you enter the right ones though. And the feedback you get is really quite good. I had a copy editor go through a YA for me and it was invaluable information that led me to change things. My book is a whole lot better for it. I have entered stories into other competitions and been a bit peeved at the judges reactions. But that’s just par for the course.

On another note, our friend Michael Pryor has a new book trailer for his soon to be released Book 4 of the Laws of Magic series. Yes Team Aubrey here we go again!

Do yourself a favour and read these books, if you’re into steampunk/alternative history/with a bit of romance thrown in (yay for Aubrey). Love them.



  1. It’s good when things make sense, isn’t it?

    I came to YA through a romance contest as well, when a judge told me “Your voice is very childish. Might work as a YA.”
    My first reaction? “What’s a YA, and how do I get one?”

    It seems to me that a lot of YA writers got kicked out of their first genre by being too awesome, so you and I are in good company.

    And as for coming last in comps… You could always be the bottom three. I’m just sayin’.

  2. Yeah I know. I now have something to talk about on book tours etc.

  3. I felt that sense of relief when I discovered YA was my niche, too, Nat.

    I’ve had my share of contest ups and downs. Overall, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive great feedback, but it is hard to beat the “big girls” (adult books) in comps where entries aren’t broken down into categories like YA, historical, inspirational, etc, etc.

    ~ V, who once finished second-last in a big field. Whoo-hoo!

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