The contest I was looking to enter my novel to asked for two documents–one with the full MSS and the other with just the first chapter. Obviously they were going to screen novels using one with the first chapter only. So I asked my professor to read my first chapter and give me a gut reaction about the characters–did she care about finding out what happened to them or not?
So she emailed me back today and said it was an enjoyable read but that she thought I needed to explore the characters’ motivations more–why they did the things they did in that first chapter. So I thanked her for her input and said with the contest deadline being so close, I felt like it would be a mistake to send it in as it was and I thanked her for keeping me from making that mistake.
If it were a free contest, I might have sent it in regardless. But they want $30 to read it and that kind of thing is eating up my budget for me to be entering too many of them. So I will wait until I get into fiction in my studies and revise on it then and THEN see if I can interest anyone in it. And hopefully I will have published a little more in magazines by then and can have more of a track record. God has a plan. I can wait.