RWA–British style

(Manuscript #1 word count: 53,947)

This week I’ve been trying to focus on getting the words down on the page. Not easy with a big self-imposed deadline looming; hubby and I are going to India for two weeks on Friday, and I want to have 60,000 words of my draft done by then. Since I’ll be gone for most of September and will only have my little notebook with me in India, I want to have my manuscript 75% done so it’ll be easier to come back and write the climax and HEA.

The more determined I was to come home every night and sit my butt down, the fewer words I actually wrote. Oh, well. I did find two very interesting things this week. I’ll save one of them for a post of its own.

Apparently, there’s something similar to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) in Britain. It’s called the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The main difference that I can see is that full membership is only open to published writers, which clearly leaves me out (it does have associate membership for other people).

However, they also have a New Writers’ Scheme where you can have your manuscript appraised. For a price. Now, I’ve seen and read about companies that will charge you to read your manuscript and give you editorial advice. I’ve always said I would never do this. What’s the point? You might as well submit your manuscript to agents and, if none of them take it, try to figure out what’s wrong with the help of your other writer contacts.

What makes the RNA look different to me is that they only accept a certain number of manuscripts (250) and give them to published authors (presumably from their membership) who write a report on things like plotting, characterization and plotting. If they’re one of the very small percentage considered ripe for publication, they’re sent to a second reader and then, possibly, agents and publishers.

They say they can’t comment on manuscripts aimed specifically at the US market. I’m not sure what that means. Are they set in America? Only American characters?

They also have an award for novelists from the scheme who go on to get published, although, really, publication is the biggest award you can get.

My plan is to finish my manuscript by the end of October, send it to some trusted writer friends, and then join the RNA when applications are accepted in January. Fingers crossed!

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