It’s nice when someone likes your story. I know it’s not all about competition and credits but let’s be honest, it’s an amazing feeling when one of your stories is accepted for something. Sort of opposite to the crushing dismay when one is rejected.
Sometimes, it’s just about finding the right place for your work. I’ve had a story not make a shortlist for a competition but the feedback I received from the judges was phenomenal. They loved it and it scored highly in every criteria. Which did lead me to question: what on Earth did I need to do to get on the shortlist? Possibly an unpopular opnion here, but genre writing is not always given the same credibility as other writing, perhaps they just didn’t want horror/fantasy. I’ve submitted to a few places and even as I did so, wondered why I was doing it. Yes the brief is open, yes it fits the specs but be honest this trendy mag is never going to go for a supernatural piece even if they tell you to do different. There are people out there that think that fantasy etc is not quite proper literature. Well, I for one think that nonsense Sir. To each their own. I can safely say that those who think fantasy is nonsense have books that would make me want to gouge my eyes out. But to imply that sci-fi or fantasy or steampunk is lesser fiction is just not cricket. So imagine my delight at a competition just for sci-fi and fantasy stories.
Early this year, I discovered I had made the shortlist. I was overjoyed; I had made it into anthologies before but this was my first compeition success. And I was very proud of the story I put forward for that one. I was all geared up for the Write Festival held by The Word in Springtime. And then all hell broke loose.
We all know what happened, we’re still all in the middle of it. My first competition success was being bullied by a virus. Time came and went and the festival eventually appeared online in October and out of the blue an email arrived. The anthology was being printed and not only that….but I had come JOINT FIRST!!!!
Yes, four exclamation marks. I was excited.
The shortlist had been thirty entrants and I was joint top of the pile! Good news in an otherwise grim year. It gave me a bit of spark back, trying to kickstart the creative vibe. Why am I telling you this? Not sure really, guess a little bit of pride. I’m not great about highlighting my successes. Only one person I work with knows I won, and even then I felt embarrassed to tell her! Perhaps it’s because I want others to know that even if your stories get rejected in a million places, it doesn’t mean they aren’t good. Someone somewhere will like it. You just have to keep trying. And sometimes, even when the world is so gloomy you feel it too hard to write, one story will break through and make it worth all the effort.
But probably, it’s because as part of the festival they recorded this video of Celia reading my story out loud! No, I haven’t heard the whole thing. I can’t, I’m like one of those actors that can’t watch themselves on screen. If anyone ever tried to read my work out loud I run a mile shouting LALALALALALALA. You on the other hand might like to hear it, so click the link and listen to ‘Looking For Lucifer’ in full. Go on. Please?