I am having a moment.
I have pro’d out, as they say, from Writers of the Future. My fourth pro-rate short story is coming out soon (stay tuned!).
TL:DR for the link: it’s a quarterly contest, with respectable pay, for new science fiction writers who have not published more than three stories at “pro” rates (5 cents a word or higher). Multiple Honorable Mentions and Semi-Finalists per quarter, ten Finalists, three winners.
I always thought I’d place or win the contest. I got two Honorable Mentions back about 2005 or 2006.
I was a finalist twice in 2007. Two times in a row. I came close and lost twice over six months. That is a very special pain. I often wonder where I would be as a writer if I had won. (Don’t get me started on how I was shortlisted for Octavia Butler’s last year at Clarion.)
After 2007, I went for a few years submitting ever single quarter, and got nothing. My stories, which had once been loved there, even embraced, were just flung right off.
I got discouraged and angry at them. I’d never gotten any guidance (like they gave other finalists) and besides, a couple of exposés had been published on the high-level Scientologists running the place and their links to cases of institutional abuse. I’m willing to give Scientologists the benefit of the doubt as individuals, but I’m not crazy about organized religion.
After hearing from Anaea about the experience of winning, I’m both relieved and sad. Relieved because it sounds like things are a bit weird. Sad because… I really thought I would win one day!
My wife used to point at a particular dress in a shop window and say “I’ll get that when you win Writers of the Future.”
We used to say “we’ll travel when I win the grand prize in Writers of the Future.”
I am having a moment.
EDIT: So, I’m still not pro’d out, with no word on when the new Beneath Ceaseless Skies comes out, and just for kicks, I entered the contest. (Okay, not just for kicks. I really need to earn something off these short stories that have piled up over the years.) I doubt anything will come of it, with my history of heartbreak, but hey… I would love for this post to be proven wrong.