Today I’m delighted to have a guest blogger. Melissa Tagg was the 2010 Frasier winner and the current MBT Marketing Coordinator. She is visiting to tell us about the Frasier Contest.
It’s possible, back in 2010 when I heard Susan May Warren’s voice on my phone telling me I was a finalist in the Frasier Contest, I did a happy dance-scream-snort type of thing that no one should ever have to see. Thankfully, no one did.
But seriously, I love the MBT Frasier Contest. I’m convinced it is one of the best storycrafting contests out there. If you’re a pre-pubbed writer, I can’t recommend it enough.
1) What prompted you to enter the Frasier Contest?
In 2009, I attended the first MBT Storycrafting Retreat. I consider that retreat the turning point in my writing dream. Afterward, I dove into my novel, Losing Cullaway. Come early 2010, I wanted to take another step toward publication, so entering the Frasier Contest was the obvious choice. Not only did I crave feedback, but I knew the judges were industry experts.
2) How did the judges’ feedback strengthen your writing?
First of all, the Frasier Contest is truly a storycrafting contest. So at each round of judging, the judges looked for specific elements in my story. What I found in the Frasier is the judges didn’t slap a number on a scoresheet, they explained their scores – pinpointed what they loved and noted what I could work on.
For instance, one judge encouraged me to do more with the five senses. Giving those sensory details helps deepen both the POV and the reader’s storyworld experience.
3) What was your contest takeaway? Or, how did the contest impact your overall writing dream?
For me, the biggest takeaway, honestly, was spiritual. I have such a difficult time showing people my writing. I have an even harder time entrusting my writing dream to the One who gave it to me in the first place. I want to do, do, do – make it happen! But when I hit “send” and turned in my Frasier Contest entry, it was out of my hands. I had to take a risk, share my heart, and trust God for the results.
As aspiring writers, we’re constantly going to be hitting “send” – whether it’s a proposal to an agent/editor or a novel into the sometimes-harsh world of readers. We’ve got to trust God that He is in control. I truly believe, had I not finaled or won, that still would’ve been the biggest takeaway for me.
The contest also taught me the value of revisions. I don’t know how many times I revised my first scene before sending it in! But I do know that scene wouldn’t be nearly as tight without the contest spurring me on.
The 2012 Frasier Contest, My Book Therapy’s storycrafting contest for unpublished novelists, is open now through March 31. The winner will be announced at the annual MBT Pizza Party during the 2012 ACFW Conference in Dallas – and will receive a free MBT retreat (a $500 value!). Final round entries will be judged by award-winning author Susan May Warren, Tyndale House acquisitions editor Stephanie Broene, and Karen Ball, literary agent with the Steve Laube Agency. All guidelines and registration details are available here.
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned fiction writer who believes faith, laughter and love are the perfect mix for a fabulous book. She currently serves on the development team for a Christ-centered homeless ministry and as the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. She is the 2010 winner of the MBT Frasier Award and an ACFW Genesis finalist. Visit Melissa at www.melissatagg.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.