|On top of the world, in this case Bald Mountain, Vermont.|
I interrupt the weekly story with a news flash. Apologies for bitter disappointment and general outrage.
I almost had a heart attack this past Monday morning. I received an email with this subject line: Congratulations!
Naturally, I thought it was spam, a mistake or perhaps a cruel joke. After all, it's been years (literally) of rejections or just no responses from agents regarding my novel.
The message read that I had been chosen as one of 25 finalists in a novel-writing contest.
I had entered my paranormal novel in a respected, NYC-based contest. Of course, I nurtured some vestige of hope. But, based on past results ie. 24 rejections, hope was at the molecular level. So, I was ecstatic to hear that mine (ie. the first 250 words) was one of those chosen out of 130 submissions. Now I just have to wait another three weeks to find out if an agent's interested in my work.
Meanwhile, a big thanks to all of my friends and family members who have read and critiqued said novel. And also thanks to you, readers of my blog. I'm very encouraged by your interest in my work.
Back to contests and awards: I used to enter short story contests all the time but gave up a few years ago. This was because:
a) I never won;
b) the judges never chose stories like mine; and
c) I decided to spend the time on my novel.
On the other hand, if you win a contest, it can be a huge boost especially if you are a "new" writer. And you might even get published! Canadian author Vincent Lam, whose first book of short stories won the Giller prize, recently weighed in on the value of awards in the Ottawa Citizen.
But as you writers out there know, there are also pitfalls to entering contests. You should know what you're getting into. The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) covers this subject well in the contests and awards section of its Writer Beware.
What do you think of writing contests and awards? Share your comment below.
Back to our normal or paranormal programming next week, when I may (or may not) have come back to earth.