Next week I'm planning to post about RWA contests--my experiences as a judge and entrant, with maybe some tips on avoiding the most common flaws I see in the entries I judge. I judge a lot of contests, you see. I have trouble resisting those "judges needed!" pleas that go out on the RWA email loops. As my mother used to say, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person.
Now that I have an agent, I don't enter as many contests as I used to, but I did enter The Sergeant's Lady in the Long Historical category of the 2007 Golden Heart, which is the RWA's big annual national contest for unpublished writers.
It's been a month since I mailed my entry, and it'll be ~3 months before I know if I've finaled. So the logical thing to do would be to not think about it until the day finalists are notified. But I still spent a good chunk of my shower time this morning wondering if for contest purposes I should've cut the section from Ch. 2 that's setting up a subplot that doesn't bear fruit until later in the book, or if I should have tried for a longer and more detailed synopsis, since I ended up several pages under the maximum allowed. And was it the right choice to use TNR to end on a strong hook, or should I have used Courier even though it would've meant stopping a chapter earlier on a less dramatic hook?