UPDATE TWO: OOPS. So I got an email today. They didn’t award “Tabor’s Work.” They awarded “Fell Folk.” Which I haven’t shown to anyone. I shall post it tomorrow in its entirety. I’m really freaking out that they liked it.
UPDATE: They sent me a sweet badge! Check it out!
I have a long relationship with the Writers of the Future contest. I’ve been entering my short stories since 2017. I finally… FINALLY…got an honorable mention. Hallelujah.
The contest is free. It gets more entries than you can imagine. It’s free to enter, judged by HUGE names in SFF and has a big cash prize and award ceremony. Plus an anthology. So any recognition is fantastic. Huge honor. The creme de la creme win. To be clear, I didn’t win. But I got honorable mention. It is huge.
I suck at short stories. I do. I admit it. If I get really really really stoked I will scribble out a short story. I’ve written four. Total. One of those is a children’s book and one is 300 words of flash fiction. All of them have been on this blog, though I may have set them private now. Can’t remember.
So my first entries to the contest were excerpts from my novel and they didn’t get any love. I kinda understood that. Same thing happened when I submitted to Deep Magic. They weren’t short stories. They were excerpts from novels…which however much I might want them to be, are not the same thing.
So when I wrote “Tabor’s Work” I was actually trying to write something that would stand alone. An actual short story. Then I put it in my novel. (lol) But I had a MUCH better response. Anyhow. If you want to read it, it is here. And I’m going to go study how to write short stories now. I have a couple months to enter again. Woot.
One of the judges wrote an article on Honorable Mentions. Another article said this:
Here is what honorable mention means:
“Stories that received Honorable Mention status were good enough to merit acknowledgement for being well written. The selected stories for this category did not make the semi-finalist or finalist category. Out of the thousands of stories that get submitted to the contest, a very small percentage make it this far.” – K.D. Wentworth
So getting an HM is a solid indicator that you’re doing well with your writing.
If your story is rejected or if you get an honorable mention, you are welcome to work on your story some more and re-submit it.
Brandon Sanderson won an HM the year before he was first published.
But this article struck me deeply.
I kept submitting to Writers of the Future as able, and got an invite to attend the awards gala when it was held in Seattle. At the after party, I sat with Kevin J. Anderson, and he asked about my writing. I told him about the HM certificates. “They don’t hand those things out lightly,” he said, looking me straight in the eye. “This is a huge contest. That you have that many says a lot. It’s a Big Deal. Keep writing, Moon.”
One last note. My Editrix said “I can’t believe you entered that contest.” Because it is associated with L. Ron Hubbard. Yes. THAT L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology guy. He was actually buddies with Alastair Crowley and got into some really seriously weird stuff prior to starting his cult.
I’m a Christian. Make no bones about it.
The fact remains, some of the best teachers, the best writers and the biggest names in SFF have come from this contest. What she doesn’t understand is that ALL contests, unless they are Christian, are associated with unbelievers. At least I know what this one thought. I’d have to leave the world to get away from people who disagree with me. I’m not going anywhere. And Fantasy needs more Christians writing. Not just Christian Fantasy, but Christians writing fantasy. I’m not intimidated by Mr Hubbard. He’s dead. I know his faith is wrong and I know why. But I’m not called to hate people I disagree with. In fact, the opposite is true.
I actually got lectured about how the contest is a cover for the Scientologist church, on Reddit. I listened to what the guy was saying and filed it away.
But heck yeah, I’ll enter this contest. If I win and they try to brainwash me, I will let you all know. But as far as I can tell, others have come through unscathed. I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay.
And if they do try to brainwash me, it will make an epic story.