So first off, I'm over at the Pink Heart Society today banging on about why Pocahontas is by far the best of Disney's princess heroines.. Bravery, courage, great boobs and impressive cliff-diving skills being just a few of her qualifications. I mean, come on, what is the point of a princess who can't dive off a cliff at a moment's notice?? So come leave a comment on my post so I don't feel lonely!
The big news yesterday afternoon, though, was of course the announcement of the New Voices Top 21!! I'm thrilled to bits to be working with Helen Lucas on her entry Return to Heartbreak Hotel, which I finally got a chance to read this morning. If you haven't had the pleasure yet give it a go. I can totally see why it grabbed the eds attention. She's taken a well-used and much-loved trope - that of reunited lovers - and given it a fresh and fiesty 21st century spin. I mean, how many heroines get the chance to kick their hero in the nuts in the first chapter! Not only that, but her writing is polished and evocative and her characters reactions wonderfully subtle while at the same time being emotionally compelling. Also the sexual tension is Hot! Hot! Hot! So I think Helen and I are gonna have some fun over the next week as she prepares her second chapter. I feel quite priveleged actually, getting to be the first to read it.
Now, having said that... And sending out my congratulations to all the other finalists too...
I know for a fact that there are going to be a lot of disappointed writers out there. Almost a thousand of you to be precise. And to you I say this. Firstly, I'm fairly sure that given the quality of the entries this year, there will be quite a few additional peeps getting contacted by the eds, because while the competition is great for making a big media splash, giving those talented 21 that extra boost and showing everyone how hard it is to write an M&B, the search for new talent is an ongoing one and the eds will have seen a lot of other talent here which deserves a follow-up.
And for those who don't get that extra contact, do not despair either. Yes, you're absolutely entitled to feel disappointed. You've put effort into your entries and it's taken a considerable amount of courage to put it out there and it's always tough when it seems that you've got nothing to show for it...
But actually, you have got something to show for it. You've made that first step. You've hopefully got some useful feedback. And most importantly of all you've taken the knock and kept on going (because you are going to keep writing, right!). And that's something every writer needs to do, both published and unpublished. Because this is a hard business, particularly for creative sensitive types like us writers! And believe me, they'll be lots more knocks that you have to negotiate along the way, so learning to laugh in the face of disappointment, and rejection (Ha, take that adversity!) and never lose faith in your ability to learn and grow as a writer is a very valueable thing.
And if you want some more heartfelt advice, check out these great blog posts from Jessica Hart and Donna Alward.
On the First Night of Christmas (see huge great badge in sidebar). There's only one more day to enter and I've got four copies to give away. So do give it a go if you haven't already. That said, my new website is almost finished (honestly) and will hopefully be up in the next week or two, at which point I'll be doing another comp to win a copy here.