RWA’s Golden Heart contest–to enter, or not to enter, that is the question…

I woke up at 5am today, suddenly, deciding that I should enter my work in RWA’s Golden Heart contest. Let’s say I do win, (though there’s a slim chance at that, considering there’ll be over a thousand works to compare my work to!) then it’ll look so amazingling, superbly good on my query letter. The chances of an agent contracting my manuscript would go up by fourty percent, I bet, if I win this contest. BUT…but…but….the fee for non-members is a $100. Is it worth it, do you think? Should I go against the odds and cross my fingers? Or should I just forge my own way, try to publish a work on my university’s magazine, get some credentials that way, and query agents with a humble letter? ARGGG this is so frustrating. I’m a poor student after all who works only once a week! If only I were rich….haha. Anyway, I just wanted to get some opinions on whether or not this would be a good investment. If so, I’ll do it, only, I’ll just have to live on a tight budget for a month. Is it worth is? is the question.
On a lighter note, today one of my editors emailed me, writing that while she had been giving piano lessons to one of her students, the mother of this student, while waiting there for her kid, had discovered my manuscript on the kitchen table. She began to read it, became so “engrossed” in it, and asked my editor to ask me whether she could read the whole story! This email was read at 5:30am, so you can imagine why I`m fully awake right now typing this out. I really needed this email. Lately, my confidence in TRC has fallen to a low again–maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t worked on it for a while now. Ah, we are our worst critic.

I am back!

This is just going to be a quick update on what’s going on with me:

1) Leaving my parents and little brother, I’m back in Canada, preparing to attend my first year at the University of Toronto. I can’t say my airplane flight here was pleasant though. I sat down and then later two guys sat beside me on the plane. They used both my arm rests; thus, I had nowhere to place my elbows. It was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t even go sleep. Instead I watched movies all throughout my flight–5 movies, to be exact. Also, whenever I had to go to the washroom, I’d have to moon the guy in my attempt to get out. very embrassing.

2) I’ve accomplished my summer goal. My ninth(?) round of revision is complete! But I’m still not satisfied with these two major chapters. I think I’ll work on them a little during university. Just a little. But I want to have this over with so I can put TRC aside for about six months. Then I’m bringing it out to do one more round of editing before I try querying to agents. Yes, change of plans, I won’t be keeping TRC for another four years. While my intention was to keep TRC and revise it over the next four years, my dad said that I should “try” to get it published, starting this or next year. He said that I’ll always think my story isn’t good enough, I’ll always want to change something, so I need to stop trying to perfect my MS at one point and take the next step.

3)  I learned recently that my dad is a published writer. He’s a professor of theology, so he wrote a book about Christianity stuff (sorry, I don’t know the specifics), and got it published last year. But I didn’t know! I wonder if I inherited this passion for writing from my father?

4) I’m looking for a dedicated editor really good with grammar. I already have two editors (Val and Flora) but they mainly focus on the plot, character and historical accuracy. I don’t want to ask them to start again from chapter one and pick at grammatical errors. They’ve already done so much for me.

5) I’m reading the book “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. It is soooo good.

6) I woke up at 6pm today. Not only was this due to my jet lag, but because I stayed up until 5am watching “Queen Margot.” I wish I could say I loved it. But, though the historical backdrop was interesting, and though Vincent Perez (the male protagonist) was gorgeous (!!!) in this movie, it was like a bodice-ripper to me. When I see an undeveloped, lust-oriented love story, I get critical. Has anyone else seen this movie?

On Romance novels

I was doing a bit of research about “love” in order to understand the subject I write about better. Love, in many commercial romance novels, mean: “I have never desired another woman/man more than I do you.” But love, according to Stephen R. Covey in his book “The Seven Habits,” had a different concept of what love was:

At one seminar where I was speaking on the concept of proactivity, a man came up and said, “Stephen, I like what you’re saying. But every situation is so different. Look at my marraige. I’m really worried. My wife and I just don’t have that same feelings for each other  we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”

“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked

“That’s right,” he affirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”

“Love her,” I replied.

“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”

“Love her.”

“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”

“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”

“But how do you love when you don’t love?”

“My friend, love is a verb. Love–the feeling–is a fruit of the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”

So, the love Covey is referring to here is very different to the love projected in romance novels. His definition of it means to devote oneself to the other regardless of how you feel. Whereas, the love in romance novels, is one based mainly on feelings.

What do you guys think? What sort of love would you reflect in your writing? Do you want to be a writer who will offer readers escapism or the truth?

Missed my flight….

Due to some complications, I missed my flight to Canada.

All the flights are booked until Sept. 15.

School starts Sept. 9th. Thus, I’ll be missing several days of class. And it’s going to be my first year at university.

I’m trying not to worry too much, for what is there to be gained by worrying? 

If only I could swim from Korea to Canada. That would be nice… 

Dear writers, if your book were to be made into a movie…

You go inside the movie theatre and sit down in the plush seat. You’re enclosed in cool darkness. You smell the buttery scent of popcorn. You hear the crinkling of packages being opened—skittles, chips, gummy bears, etc. There is a low murmur of excitement all around you. The lights begin to dim. Then all goes silent. You see nothing now; everything is pitch black. Your heartbeat hangs midair in suspense. The trailers play. Your heart still is hanging. Then trailers end. Your heart starts thundering. Loud, exciting, quick music begins to play, before these words appear on screen: FEATURE PRESENTATION. All goes dark again. This is when you start tearing up, when you feel a lump in your throat, and you turned to whoever is beside you and whisper: “This movie is based on my book!” You shut up and fix your eyes back on the screen. The screen widens, heightens. The corporations who bought the screen rights to your story shows up:

If this was the beginning to the movie adaptation of your book, what, in your imagination, would be the first scene that follows, on which the names of the actors/actresses show up? Mine would be a scene of carriage wheels rolling, the vehicle coming to a stop, a gentleman stepping out, followed by the very first paragraph of TRC: As he walked down the street, the heel of his boots rang against the cobbled ground glistening in the rain. The street lamps did little to ward away the darkness of the evening, leaving his countenance a shadowed mystery. Only when the cheroot he was smoking glowed of brilliant red did it light his features enough to reveal a pair of gray eyes. While this scene is rolling, the actor’s name ‘James Purefoy’ would show up, and for director, ‘Andrew Davies’ (I know, big dream…but I’d rather not limit myself to a small one). 

Confession: When I go to movie theatres, I do tear up, because I DO imagine my book turning into a movie. Tell me I’m not the only one….