The first batch of results for the first quarter of the Writers of the Future contest has started going out. For me, this kicks off a ritual of checking my e-mail every five minutes and filling the time in between by annoying my husband with guesses about whether my story placed this time around.
I don't claim to have inside knowledge or to be an expert in how the process works. Far from it, or I would have found a way to win by now. However, after nine quarters of entering, I have a pretty good feel for the pattern of how results come out, and it goes something like this:
Main judge K.D. Wentworth sorts the entries and sends them back to L.A. The contest administrator notifies those whose stories are in the batch as to whether they have received an honorable mention or rejection. Certain message boards become busy with some people crowing their success, others commiserating their rejection and still others trying to figure out why they haven't gotten a response yet. A few weeks later, the process repeats. While she reads, Ms. Wentworth sets aside the stories she thinks might win. When she has finished going through all the entries, she sorts those last stories into semi-finalists, finalists and silver honorable mentions.
Then there are those stragglers who, after all the blasts of e-mails has gone out, are left in the dark. Wondering. Most of those entrants can probably count on one of two results: straight rejection, or their story got lost in the mail or eaten by the electronic submission system.
We are at the point in the process when the first results has gone out. I am currently one of those posting to the message boards going: But where's my response?