So go enter if you can. Before I had an agent, I entered a lot of contests. I think they are excellent learning experiences, even if you don't win. Seeing what others are writing, what is successful or not, it's just a good experience all around. And having a chance for Catherine Drayton to look at your partial? Dude. She's awesome. Don't miss out on that.
I actually kind of miss entering, so in honor of this life-changing contest I thought I'd do what I did then—make up a paragraph. Yes, when I entered that contest all I had of that story was...the first paragraph. I wrote it on a whim, since I didn't want to enter the one from my project he, uh, already rejected.
Let's see...a paragraph...
They say a witch lives in the old house under the interstate bridge. Always in the shadows, draped in ivy and sorrow, the house waits for a child too daring for his own good. And inside, the witch sits with her black eyes and toothless sneer. They say she can foresee your death in return for a lock of hair. She can make someone love you for the small price of a pinky finger. And, of course, she can kill your enemy if you give her your soul. Some people think it's only a silly tale to scare children, but it's true. Every word.
Sigh, that was fun. I love first paragraphs.