A Sweet Competition.

Recently, I have been working on a project that managed to catch even me, completely by surprise. I stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote something different from what I normally write.

As a member of Romance Writers of Australia, this year, I thought I would enter a short story competition. This year’s theme for the Sweet Romance category is ‘Cupcake’. Being a writer of paranormal, I began to wonder how I could possibly fit such an item in as an integral part of a short story. Using one of the many meanings for the word, I did manage to come up with an idea and went with it.

Halfway through though, I began to have my doubts. I wondered if it was going to work, let alone if I could manage to write something completely different to what I normally write, but I managed to get it finished. I sent it off to a beta reader, who is a romance writer and fellow RWA member. They returned it saying they thought it was ‘a fabulous story’ and ‘can’t believe this is only your second romance’. I’ve struggled with writing romances for quite some time, but now I feel I may be on to something. I guess it has always been a case of never say never! 😉

So how does this all fit in with the stories I have already written and self-published? I believe the paranormal is the common thread. I grew up on both horror and romance; Dragonwyck being my favourite novel, which introduced me to Gothic, a genre in which I love. Recently having read a blog post about the appeal of Gothic Horror, only confirmed this for me.

Before Christmas, I read a post on Anne R Allen’s blog about the 3 Things You Need to Become an Author and it made me think about an issue I had thought about for a while. As writers, we need to learn to be adaptable, and lately, my writing tends to be going down a slightly different path (either that or I’m finally going down the right path). I’m following where my muse is taking me and it’s currently leading me to such stories as Dragonwyck, Jane Eyre, Rebecca and even Crimson Peak. Of-course, it’s not stopping me from writing other things, which I plan on publishing this year. 😉

This past weekend, I went over my short story entry for the last time and submitted it to RWA. Not only is this the first time I have entered a competition through the RWA, but the first writing competition I have entered for quite some time. If nothing else, at least I will be getting feedback, which is something I have never had before from a competition.

And yes, this is the second romance I have ever written. Talk about jumping into the deep end!

Do you plan on entering any writing competitions this year? Did you ever receive helpful feedback from entering a competition? Is your muse taking you into a different direction? Have you jumped into the new year by stepping out of your comfort zone or do you plan to?

Main image curtesy Unsplash

7 thoughts on “A Sweet Competition.

  1. I have entered competitions before, but not ones that gave feedback. But the year is young, so we’ll see. Good luck with your entry!

    1. Debbie Johansson 22/01/2020 — 8:28 am

      Thank you, Priscilla. If you do decide to enter any competitions, I wish you all the best! 🙂

  2. Good for you! And fingers crossed for the story! 🙂

    I plan on subbing stories to some new-to-me contests/markets. Whether the stories are accepted/published or not is out of my hands, but the writing and subbing, I can do. 🙂

    1. Debbie Johansson 23/01/2020 — 4:54 am

      Thanks, Madeline! Best of luck to you too! I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

  3. Congrats on stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s good to do that from time to time.

    I dont typically do any competitions unless I get inspired by the prompt, so its possible for sure.

    1. Debbie Johansson 23/01/2020 — 4:59 am

      Thank you, Jonny! I gave up on writing competitions some years back, but I thought I’d have a go at this one as it’s only once a year. That’s doable. I like those ones with prompts – the Australian Writer’s Centre has one of those every month. The winning entry receives $500, so that’s always a good incentive. 😉 If you do decide to enter a competition I wish you the best of luck!

      1. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like too much of a departure from projects. Once a year is pretty good. For me if I don’t feel anything at first glance there’s probably nothing there, but if there is, holy moly do I get invested!

        One of my short stories I wrote for a competition I’ll be trying to clean up and get published this year actually. (hint: It’s scifi!)

        Best of luck to you as well!

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