Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained


Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

What If No One Noticed?


In his book, On Writing, Stephen King shares the mind-boggling number of rejections he earned for Carrie before someone took a chance on him. He makes it sound like enough rejections came in to insulate his attic room.

And…in some tiny, laughable way…I share his hurt.

I’ve labored over my WIP for years. I might go look but I don’t want to…but I think it’s four. I’ve let eight people read all of it. And I’ve carried it as far as possible without submitting to scene by scene critiquing, but courage fails me.

Then…external forces intruded…just like a good story. Someone on Scrib posted rules for a contest Lara Willard was running — two contests, actually, with simple rules — post the first 277 words of a completed novel, starting at page 70, with reasonable editing, plus seven keywords. In the first contest, contest people picked some number of entries at random. In the second contest, some number of keyword tweet winners.

Page 70 marks the start of Chapter Nine’s fourth scene.

After biting my lip, I decided to run with it. After editing, I picked some key words — daughter, foreign husband, homecoming, rival nations, baby.

With my heart pounding, I waited for the impulse to pass.

It didn’t.

So, I took the easy way out…and submitted my scene…but didn’t do Twitter. I’ve never screwed up courage to open an account…and had already gone waaaaaaaay outside my comfort zone.

With a hope and a prayer, I waited.

And didn’t get picked.


I’m soul-searching.

Because…in all honesty…I wasn’t terribly impressed with my 70th page. And, again, I’m doubting my story works for a first novel. It’s complex, it’s 131,000 words…and maybe I haven’t done enough in it to establish the world and mood. In other words, maybe it needs more words…which is anathema to debut novels.

Where do I go next?

I have no clue.



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