Panic mode part 2- The Contest.

This is a follow-up to this post about my mid-life crisis.


Okay, internet. Blame the Dayquil. Blame the crazy. Blame the searing feeling of inadequacy tearing at my insides. Yesterday I went into panic mode about what would happen if I didn’t get into grad school. Serious sickness melt-down time. It was a mess. There were tissues everywhere. I drank four cups of tea. I willingly listened to Taylor Swift. I went off The Deep End.

And I Googled. I Googled like the wind. I Googled like a med school grad before a big exam she’s procrastinating. I bookmarked every relevant writing contest, fellowship, grant, scholarship, and meet that I could find for this year. Because dammit, this is my life and I WILL NOT GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP.

In my graduate cover letter, I included this story:

“I received a letter from my thirteen-year-old self one afternoon… It was part of a school project I had done in middle school and completely forgotten about. In the envelope was a page of writing from a story I had started, along with the letter, which urged me in bold letters to KEEP ON WRITING, no matter what else I was doing.

I can say with complete honesty that it was one of the most self-satisfying moments of my life thus far. How many other people can say that they are still pursuing the dreams they had when they were children? Instead of wanting to be a princess or an astronaut, I wanted to be an author. I wanted to be an author so badly that I once broke down crying in the bookstore because I didn’t want my books to be out of reach on the top shelf”.

I didn't make that story up.

I didn’t make that story up.

So here’s where things get real. I found a writing contest for unpublished authors that ends on March 15th. All you need to do is submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript, along with the outline of your book. If you’re selected as a finalist, you send the committee your next 50 pages.

I guess it’s time to dust off my old ideas.

Is this a little crazy? Perhaps. But I’m good at crazy. Are my odds of winning or even getting into the finals slim? Not as slim as getting into grad school for creative writing. I figure, hey, if I don’t win, I’ll at least have the first 100 pages of a book polished and at my disposal.

From now until March 15th, however, I’ll need a little motivation. So for the next 4 Mondays, I’ll be dedicating my blog to my book writing efforts. Even if nobody reads or responses to my Monday bogs, the commitment to write about it will be there. How do I know if I’ll actually do it in time? I don’t, but that’s half the fun.

The working title of my book is called Alpha. It started as a parody of those really awful A-List and The Clique and Gossip Girl novels that were popular when I was in high-school that all feature really pretty, popular rich kids getting what they want. My main character, Marie, is a delusional fashion magazine editor who gets involved with a sexy socialite named Ryder (yes, I know) who ends up being exactly as much of a douchebag as his name would suggest. As her friends abandon her, and her employees confess that she’s the laughing stock and downfall of her company, Marie must change her worldview entirely, or risk ruining her life and her business to stay in the limelight.

I started it back in 2009 one summer after rereading Atlas Shrugged for the umpteenth time. It’s infested with bad analogies and Randian philosophy soundbites, but the scenes I’ve written still hold up, and it contains some of the best dialogue I’ve ever come up with (I was a lot smarmier in my teens, apparently).

Let’s do this.


  1. Pingback: Manuscript Mondays – The Beginning. « her name was cassandra
  2. Pingback: Manuscript Mondays- Here goes nothing. | her name was cassandra
  3. Pingback: Manuscript Monday – Anomaly. | her name was cassandra

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