The 27th Annual Fabulous Five contest for unpublished authors and authors not published in book length fiction in the last five years is open for entries. WisRWA is pleased to be able to offer entrants of the 2018 Fabulous Five contest a chance to win one of eight detailed critiques from a published WisRWA author. We wanted to introduce everyone to each of these authors, and share a little bit about their writing journey. Without further ado, please meet our sixth author: Casey Clifford.
I’ll admit it. I’m one of those writers “who’s been writing forever.” Would you believe me if I say maybe I started about age 5? Well, I did, and received encouragement from my parents and grandparents. By age 10 or so, I was writing “plays” for the neighborhood kids to enact so their parents could brag. Gosh, I expect some of those families still have fuzzy home movies of those events.
Since I proudly acknowledge I’m published in fiction, I admit it took me 50 some years to attain that status. What took so long? Well, life and the need to make a living.
Once I retired from teaching, I put serious effort into marketing what I had written and revised over summers between semesters, along with writing new material. After listening to my husband saying, “you have to spend money to make money,” I achieved “almost instant” success by accepting a contract–6 years after retirement. During those 6 years, I was “almost there” many times. Then something totally out of my control made the contract possibility dissolve faster than ice in August. Sound familiar?
As my hubby would often tell me in those years, one way to be a sure-fire failure was to quit writing. I didn’t give up. I kept writing my stories always looking to improve my craft and skills with each finished manuscript. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things I know helped me finally land that contract–hold my published book, Black Ribbon Affair, in my hand, and wept with joy when that book won several awards, especially the HOLT MEDALLION for best first book of the year.
Since that first book, I published a second romantic suspense with my publisher Wild Rose Press.
After those two books, I realized what I wrote was what I termed Wise Women Fiction, and my books didn’t fit well with Wild Rose’s guidelines. Independent publishing was emerging about that time, and I decided to take that plunge. I couldn’t have done so had I not learned about the orderly steps and work required to publish a good book. I thank my Wild Rose editor for that. I have published 9 books independently. They have won awards or been finalists in contests.
This biography leads to one of the items I’ve been asked to address for this blog:
Since this is a blog aimed primarily for unpublished writers, I’ll expand a bit on each of the above items.
But even from those situations, a writer can learn a valuable lesson. In the former, perhaps the opening, title, or category entered led the judge to expect something other than what you wrote. How can you be sure that doesn’t happen again? In the latter example, consider the mean criticism as a step to strengthen your tough, professional armor. Every writer, published or not, will encounter negative criticism. Learn from it. Ignore it.
Don’t let it keep you from writing—or learning.
Which leads me to the final element we are asked to address: What is one piece of writing or industry advice I can offer you. So here it is: Trust your instincts. Listen to your gut about your writing.
I hope you, 2018’s Fab 5 entrants, find bits of wisdom in the above comments. I’ve learned them from other writers and from life. I write because the stories in my heart and the ideas in my head must land on a printed page. I urge you to understand WHY you write. This knowledge will push you always to do your best.
For a chance to win a detailed critique by Casey, don’t forget to enter the Fabulous Five contest. She will be offering a detailed a detailed critique for one lucky entrant in the Women’s Fiction category. For more information about the contest and to enter, click here.