Monday, March 9, 2015

My Sun Versus Snow Contest Journey

I mentioned in a previous post about talking about Michelle Hauck and Amy Trueblood's Sun Vs. Snow (SVS) contest. Well for those of you who don't know about it, you can read up all about how the contest works here, although it's a little different now but you'll get the gist of it.

After finding out about the contest last year, I knew it was coming. I debated whether I was ready to let people see my work. It wasn't easy for a person with a borderline spy personality to expose my hidden secret pleasures. I mean I've entered flash fiction contests and people have read a chapter of mine every once in a while (and even then I was freaking out) but this was different. Everyone, could see it. Agents could read it and hate it. Or worse, ask for more and then reject it. It was scary. I went back and forth and then back and forth some more agonizing over it. I debated whether to just give up or take the plunge. Mustering up courage, I either found people willing to read my query and 250 words or won the critiques and read their advice. Some were the same. Other's conflicting, but with the help of those few people (Marty Mayberry and Emily G. Moore) and their encouragement, I fixed my work. 

And so on Sunday afternoon, I scheduled my email to send the next day at 3:05 pm (since the contest opened at 4 pm EST and I would be at work). Then I had a few psychotic moments where I sent them to myself to make sure it was formatted right, that the site I was using would send out the scheduled email on time before I walked away. Only to walk back and debate whether I should set the time later to ensure that it would go in. I didn't know how much time differences varied but I freaked that maybe if I sent it at 3:05 it would have sent it too early so the contest hadn't opened yet and my entry would be disqualified. But I left it alone and this time I walked away for good. As you can see it was a very exhausting Sunday.

On Monday January 26, 2015, Sun vs. Snow opened up and stayed open until it accepted the first 200 entries. Well, guess what? That lasted a good, old SIX MINUTES! At the time, I was busy with work so I almost forgot what was going on but I managed to hop on the computer real quick to check out Twitter and my email. Finding out that it closed in 6 minutes was shocking. I'd never seen anything like that happen before but that goes to show you what a great contest this is. I checked my email and saw that my entry was received. Thankfully, I hadn't listened to myself and changed the time. I had made it with one minute to spare! Relieved I happily skipped back to work.

Later on I learned I had won a query critique by Michelle Hauck, the very co-creator of this contest. It felt like fate. The stars aligning, shining down on me. I felt empowered. Even if I didn't get into SVS, I would still get a critique from Michelle which was a pretty good alternative. Of course, I got an email from Michelle telling me since I'm a participate for SVS she'd do my critique later, which was fine with me. I was already a winner. 

Then the fateful day arrived a week later. The revealing of Michelle's and Amy's team members. I was sitting on the train on my way to work, practically breaking my refresh button as I waited for the post to show up. When it did, I quickly went to Michelle's blog post and scanned the list not bothering to look at any other genre than Adult (sorry other categories). 

When I saw it, I couldn't believe it. My entry "Birthday Disaster" was chosen to be on Michelle's TEAM SNOW!!!! 

I know! I couldn't believe it had happened. I actually refreshed the page multiple times to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Out of the 200 entries accepted, I was one of the 16 chosen for Michelle's team. My work was good enough to be chosen. I was soaring. Smiling idiotically. From the corner of my eyes, the woman next to me on the train kept glancing my way worried. I probably looked a little nutty but I didn't care. I was in SVS and that's all that mattered. I got off the train, made it to work and was smiling at everyone along the way. I literally danced in the elevator all the way to my floor (a good old nine flights). Thankfully I was alone because let's face it. I doubt anyone would have wanted to see that.

With the help of my amazing mentor Laura Heffernan, my query and first 250 words were now on fire! (Oh wait, I'm Team Snow so I should reference everything to cold. Then they froze you in your tracks, lol) 

On Monday February 9, 2015 the agent round began. These agents read everyone's entry and decided whether they were interested enough to request it. I am happy to announce that I did get a request from the wonderful Sara Megibow from the KT Literary agency. Though she eventually passed on it, it was still such an amazing opportunity and I feel so grateful to be apart of it. Again, thank you so much @michelle4laughs and @trueblood for hosting such an awesome contest.