Thanks to everyone who read and commented on my first 250 words. I just submitted, with 15 minutes to spare (my time — I could have taken two more hours with the time-zone thing)
The great thing about these contests is not the prizes, or winning or losing. It’s getting out there and reading other people’s work. It’s seeing what ELSE is in the pipeline.
Also, if you are lucky, you get people to read and critique your work who’ve never seen it before. That’s worth more than any prize they could give me.
A few people said they were confused, and didn’t get the flame reflection. Jenny didn’t even blink, because she’s read my novel like five times now. She just wanted me to expand.
This told me I needed to get a little more into that flame scene, because readers who don’t know what the flame represents need a little more of a push to “get” that there is something supernatural going on here. The trick is, to do that, and still get Magellan out the door within 250 words. In the original draft, I had him actually out the door, down the hall and stepping into the auditorium at 250. Now he is just stepping out the door.
The scene is richer though, and I think I’ve filled in the blanks that I needed to fill in. For me, that was the goal of the contest. It pushed me to really work on that ever so important first page, and I also got some brand new critiques.
I’ve already won.