Hey kids! How do you feel about contests?
I’ve been looking for ways to move forward. I want to sink my teeth into this writing world…sport a bite worse than my bark. I want to make sure I’m a part of ‘it’ and genuinely working towards achieving more than writing a blog post here and there. (Which I absolutely love doing, by the way)
So…I entered a contest; the criteria – flash fiction, open prompt, a minimum of 250 words and a max of 750. A dreamy drool formed at the corners of my mouth as I pondered the possibilities. It was the first time I’d ever entered a writing contest and it was, although nerve-wracking, exhilarating.
I took a previously written (by yours truly) story called “That’s The Spirit”, tweaked it, paid a ten-dollar entry fee and chose to shell out an extra ten for the optional critique. After several minutes of water-gauging, I shouted heave ho, pressed firmly on the send button and…waited.
Apparently it takes a couple of months to read through, critique and judge several hundred stories. Who knew?
I submitted in January and went about my life sipping a cocktail of denial and disregard with a splash of dementia, and of course, the assumption that my story had been fed to the fishies. Until, one fine day, April 18th to be precise, the sails flapped in the wind, we changed course and before I could yell; “Jibe!” This popped into my box:
You’ve successfully made it through First Round Judging in the WOW! Winter 2013 Flash Fiction Contest. Your entry has officially been given the thumbs-up, and you’re well on your way!”
Whoa. Say what? I was taken completely by surprise. I thought I’d capsized long ago. But, I won’t keep you in suspense. I didn’t win. On May 21st, I received notice that I’d placed as an honorable mention. I’m thrilled with this. I entered to gain experience and something else that’s crucial – feedback. The ten bucks I spent on that critique was invaluable. Through it, I found out that I would’ve placed higher if it weren’t for a handful of technical errors. I scored 5’s on everything, but a 4 in the technical department. These are things that I would’ve thought could be overlooked if my story were good enough. I was wrong.
You don’t win with 4’s. You don’t win with meh. You don’t win with good enough. You require 5’s. You want wow. You need great.
I enjoyed the journey this voyage took me on and I will set sail again, regardless of a calm or cragged sea. After all…