Running a Flash Fiction Writing Contest is a lot of FUN!
I learned something from this contest experience that I think may be of value to many of you authors. All of our entries were fun to read. A number of them were ruled out because of MAJOR editing mistakes.
Grammar and punctuation, I can’t stress it enough.
When all the entries were in, each judge read all of them, and then we set them aside for a week. Then, we reread all of them again. It was amazing how much our perspective changed as a result of a second read.
There were six submissions that really stood out. We set them aside again for another week. On our third read, (and vote), our winner, Susan Pawlicki, was the clear victor for first place. But, second place had become a real battle royal.
At this point, we were able to narrow it down to two stories. We put them aside again and did another read and vote several days later. What really differentiated our second place winner was how the two authors handled the theme. In light of that, I’ve decided to give an honorable mention to an author who was so close that the voting tally was almost imperceptible. I’ll name that author at the end of this blog post.
Authors, this is what I want you to hear.
When you submit a story and receive a rejection letter, don’t take it to hard. You may have been so very close. It may have been the smallest element in your story that kept it from being accepted. It may have been personal prejudice on the part of the person reading it.
I’m willing to bet that in many cases a story, or book, is given a cursory read.. If your story doesn’t resonate with that decision-maker immediately, you may be rejected. It may have nothing to do with your book. It might be something that happened to the decision-maker that day.
Does this make your story bad? No. In fact, if that same person were to reread your story on a different day, they may have a completely different perspective on it. (We did.)
However, I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH how much GOOD EDITING will affect the outcome of your submissions. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY enjoys reading a poorly edited book. I hope you will take that one statement and…
MAKE It YOUR MANTRA!
I’m proud to announce
that our second place winner is…
Sue Butler with her story, “The Unexpected“.
Sue wove an intricate plot into a flash fiction piece that we really liked. We felt that her interpretation of the theme was strong. We also liked her character development.
by Sue Butler
‘Our Employee of the Year is John Mulcaster.’ The words rang out like a hammer hitting a gong. I stood up and stumbled towards the podium; I had never won an award l before and had no inkling that this one was to be mine. Nervously, I accepted the shield and envelope from the Chief Executive; the former had my name and the year engraved on it, below Sheila Thomson in 2012. I would have to give it back at the end of the year, but the envelope contained vouchers for a large department store, and they were mine to keep. I returned to my seat amid the applause, nodding to the people who smiled and patted my arm in congratulation, a big grin on my face.
Now that the contest is over, and the winners have been announced, I would like to give an honorable mention to, Kate Baggott, for her story, “Salvation“. Kate’s story was in the thick of the voting right to the bitter end. We liked her story a lot. However, in the end, we felt that her story didn’t represent the theme as clearly as our winners. Good luck with placing your story elsewhere, Kate.
I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.
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I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.
All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.