Recently I entered a writing contest at Bria’s site http://www.briaquinlan.com/ it was a fantastic opportunity and very well run. The competition is still going, so be sure to pop over and check it out. (Thanks very much Bria.)
I’m very happy to say that I placed 8th! Only the first five passed on to the next round, but receiving Honorable Mention in a large group of outstanding entries is cause for celebration.
Bria asked us to post our full scene so mine is below. In the contest, we were only allowed to enter our first 250 words so I’ll put ***250*** where that falls. After the scene, I’ll post some thoughts on the process and why I’m so proud of my entry. Some of you will enjoy reading it but if not, this way you can just get to “the good part”. Please post comments; I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please note: The formatting here is slightly different than at the contest. This is the preferred set up.
Jule sat at a table on the patio south of the cafeteria, a myriad of things rushing through her mind. Her five-word proclamation kept coming to the forefront: "I love you too, Vincent." Part of her wondered how she could say the words, and another part demanded they were true. Why should this be different from other decisions she'd made? She took a paper and pen from her purse and drew a line down the middle.
There's two of him.
"Or is that a pro?"
He might die.
Will he be sane afterward?
A junior, with no major.
Hasn't made a serious move.
"Hey, a girl has needs."
No direction in life.
There's two of him.
"Fair's fair, after all." She grinned.
Handsome and well built.
Sexy and doesn't know it.
"Which is even sexier."
"Definitely belongs here."
"Sometimes too much of one." She grinned again. "Okay, Jule, settle down."
He loves me.
She stared at the last line. "At a life and death moment like that, he took the time to tell me." Would he still feel the same if he knew her past? Jule was comfortable with how she lived her life and the choices she made, but she'd learned that male egos are fragile. Even guys who claimed to be “cool with whatever” soon left after discussing past relationships.
"Their loss." She shook her head.
Vincent was special, obviously made of strong stuff. ***250*** "I hope he can handle it...I hope he can handle me." As she glanced up, she saw a pay phone.
"Hello, Reave residence."
"I have a collect call from Ms. Julie Reave. Will you accept?"
"Yes, of course," Julie's mom replied.
"Hi, honey. Is everything all right?"
"Yes, I didn't have change with me and wanted to chat."
"Well, I'm glad you called."
Her mom asked all the required things: classes, homework, term papers, the new computer lab, her tennis, Dad’s racing. The whole time, Jule tried to think of a way to bring up the real subject. It wasn't like she could say, "Hey, Mom. I called because I think I'm in love with a guy who's possessed. That okay with you?" She realized the line was quiet.
"Mom, you there?"
"Yes, I asked if anything was new."
"Actually, I am seeing a guy."
"Oh, that's nice, dear."
"No, I mean, I really like him."
"Well, good. You've always dated...vigorously."
Julie knew her mom was being supportive about the string of guys she had been involved with.
"I think this one is special, Mom."
"I think I might..." She looked toward the gym and saw Vinni come around the corner. In that moment, her indecision melted, her heart felt lighter, and she couldn't wait to be near him.
"...Mom, I'm sorry I have to go, he's coming. I'll call you."
Her mother chuckled at Julie's excitement. "Okay. Oh, Julie, what's his name?"
Read on if you wish, and if you do please understand that I am not in ANY way pissy about not making it. Do I wish I had? You bet!
The contest was for “the best kiss” scene and I believe my undoing was my romantic nature. I really didn’t know I had one until I started writing. After reading a scene I’d written I said to my wife, “This is just a throbbing this or soft wet that away from a romance novel.”
She answered, “Of course, your very romantic.”
What? I am? It was news to me, but as I wrote more I realized that (of course) she was correct. I’m not saying the others weren’t romantic, but rather that I approached a “great kiss” differently.
Of the entries that placed ahead of me, six of them included a kiss and the seventh ended in a character asking for one. Mine on the other hand was still laying the groundwork for the moment. To me, placing where I did against those scenes is wonderfully satisfying. So, would I change it? Probably not and here’s why.
The scene is from my novel “Tearing the Shroud” and in the context of the story shouldn’t be changed. Even so, the romantic side of me, or how I approach it, wouldn’t want to change it either. Why? Because while a passionate, demanding, lusty, desperate, or whatever kiss is great and has its place, for me a truly great kiss scene needs to be built up to. It needs background, mental foreplay, a reason why the moment when their lips connect is so vitally important. So, were the other scenes “wrong”? Not at all! They had great writing and made me want to find out what happened next, and I applaud their work. They just took a different path. Having made my choice, and presented what I did, eighth place feels pretty good.
I hope you enjoyed the scene, I know I did.