Thursday, 14 October 2010
As in, I was almost a Writers of the Future winner. Probably most folks reading this knew I was a finalist for the second quarter of the WOTF contest this year. That means my story—entitled "A Phalanx of Flowers"—was in the top eight, from which three would place as winners and get published in their anthology. I just found out, after an exasperating three month wait, that I didn't place.
What is one supposed to say in this situation? It's hard to be discouraged—after all, the fact that my story made finalist is plenty of validation that it's good. In fact, the contest administrator made a point of telling me multiple times that it's publishable, that I should submit it elsewhere. And I will—but the fact remains, yesterday the story had a three in eight chance of being published, and today its back to the slush pile. (Actually I told WOTF that they can hold onto it until March; sometimes they will publish non-winning finalists if they need to fill out their anthology, so I'll cross my fingers for that.)
I guess the real reason I'm discouraged is that this story was probably my best bet for winning the contest. I've come to a pretty good idea what the contest is looking for and my finalist story hit it dead on, but what I usually write isn't quite a match. I've already entered stories for the third and fourth quarters of the contest, but I know that neither of them is as good as "Phalanx".
All that aside, it doesn't really change anything. I'll still try to write every day. I'll keep submitting. It just gives me some motivation to finish off the novel I've been working on and get some more short stories written, so that I can keep entering WOTF. I know that I'm capable of reaching that winner's circle, so now it's just a matter of time and persistence, right?