I have so much energy right now it’s hard to make myself sit still. But what am I going to do with this new energy, vacuum? I think not! Instead, I post.
Over the weekend I attended a banquet at the OWFI writer’s conference. The Saturday night banquet ends the conference, and that is also the night they announce the winners in the annual contest. The last time I won anything was 1st Honorable Mention for a confession story, of all things, in 2000, and I wasn’t even there to receive my certificate. I don’t enter every year—I’d say I’ve entered maybe three times since. No winners.
The good thing about entering the contest is getting feedback from the professionals who volunteer to judge. I’d forgotten to put postage on the return envelopes, so that meant I’d have to pick up my entries in person. Which meant I might as well lay down $40 for the banquet.
Well, I’m glad I went, because I actually won something. My first novel, Ea’s Gift—the one that landed my former agent—took 3rd place in the fantasy novel category!
I’d entered it five years ago, before it was completely finished (they only need the synopsis and 1st 30 pages) and the judge slammed it, but apparently he slammed all of them, because on his blog he lamented the terribleness of the entries. Yes. Publicly. He’s a fairly well-known writer now, of novels and screenplays, though he wasn’t big then.
So anyway, a finished, polished Ea’s Gift got much more helpful comments. I think it helps when the judge enjoys your sub-genre, too, since Fantasy is such a large umbrella with too many different styles under it. Go visit Ty Drago. He’s got taste. Also, he’s a Quaker. I like Quakers.
I got good comments on Black Veil Angel as well, but the judge felt it shouldn’t have been entered in the YA category. That hurt the score. You know what’s funny? I had just put this judge at the top of my new agent query list for BVA, but I didn’t realize she was the judge for my category. I guess I don’t need to bother now.
My short story, Mon Petit Ami, didn’t get any comments but the score was in the 80-89 range, out of a hundred. She had a huge number of entries, so I don’t hold it against her.
I feel validated, which I really needed, but I still don’t know what to do with these stories. I’ve been looking at small presses and at self e-publishing and at agents. I’m feeling pretty creative, so maybe I’ll just write for a while.