Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Journaling, Pen Names, and Contests

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can weave these three topics together into any cohesive post, but I wanted to put in my two cents' worth on all three. Here goes.
Many (some anyway) writers swear by journaling. It makes sense from the standpoint of having some organized notes from which to pluck a story idea. On the other hand, I don't want to be snatched from the face of the earth and leave behind any personal observations. If I have to write them down, as opposed to sharing them verbally with a friend, perhaps they don't need to be recorded at all. Just my opinion.

I do, however, carry a notebook everywhere and jot down things that interest me. To wit: sitting at DFW airport a couple of weeks ago, I made these three entries:  young guy with cell phone walking round and round seats while talking! non-stop! wish he'd run out of battery! And later, walked almost clear to end of B concourse both ways--guy still pacing/talking. Arghhhhhhhhh. found seat sort of out of gate area with back to him! And still later, okay, so guy apparenty waiting on someone--she arrived--they're gone--9:50-11:15!!!

What, if anything, I'll do with that piece of fascinating information, I have no idea. But if it gets 'left behind', no sweat!
I'm debating the continued use of the pen name Gwyneth Greer. Don't get me wrong--I love it! Though I've only used it on one book, I'm poised to use it on the book currently in edits. Another Vintage Rose romance will be coming up for edits soon, so do I use my real name on that subgenre and my pen name on the others? I read somewhere that pen names should be fashioned from the first eight letters of the alphabet--mine is--and should be used for reasons other than just being 'flashy'. Of that I'm guilty. Having lived with a very plain name for 60-odd years, Gwyneth Greer is exciting! Could she be my alter-ego?
Writing contests aren't difficult to find, but the entry fees are often high when measured against the odds of even placing in the contest. I have a $10 limit--which also limits the contests  available. (Free is good.) However, I would like to recommend the contests found in The Writers' Journal. I especially like  'Write-to-Win'. Entry fee: $5 for a chance to win a first prize of $150, a 1-year subscription, and publication at a future date. No 2nd-3rd prizes but four honorable mentions which garner a 1-year subscription. Using a given beginning phrase, you write a maximum of 1,500 words and post it by snail-mail. I've placed once and enjoyed the subscription so much I've renewed it regularly. Go to their website for more information on this and other contests sponsored by the magazine.

Maybe these three topics do have a strong link--they're all about writing, and we're all writers.  


Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Judy,
I read and enjoyed your Gwyneth Greer book - The Showboat Affair. I think if your genres are similar you should stick with one name, but if they are very different, two names work.

I like having an alter ego with my pen name and that's all I use.

It's nice being a fellow Last Rose of Summer mate. One for the Road is my over forty romance.
By the looks of your new cover, your couple is definitely younger!
Oh, I don't journal, and I used to enter a lot of contests. One for the Road won and finaled in a handful, even got a full request from an editor.
The over forty love story is a tough sell, so I'm glad, like you. to have discovered The Wild Rose Press.

Vonnie Davis said...

I'd planned on using a pen name, too. I've always hated Vonnie. "Ah, is that with a 'B' or a 'C'?" I've been asked that question so many times. However, I didn't think things through too well. I started blogging and fb and twitter under my real name. By the time I sold a book, my agent said to keep the real one so my "following"--and I laugh as I write that--would know who I was. Heavens, I barely know who I am.

Journeling always seems a waste of time for me. I'd sooner be writing for real.

I, too, placed in a Writer's Journal contest a month before I contracted for my first book.

As for older couples in romance. Wny not?