Let's start with some semi-good news.
In Quarter 2 of the Writers of the Futures contest, my story was selected as a semi-finalist. That means out of hundreds (thousands?) of entries, mine was judged as one of the top 16. It also means I will get a critique from coordinating judge David Farland. Only semi-finalists get the critique. It's the consolation prize for being not quite good enough for finalist.
Last time I made semi-finalist was in 2011. My critique then pointed out exactly one sentence in a 4,000 word story that kept me from the finalist circle. I fixed it, and the story sold to the wonderful Fireside Magazine. I'm curious what I'll get this time.
So in 26 quarters of entering:
- Finalist: 1
- Semi-finalist: 2
- Silver honorable mention: 1
- Honorable mention: 13
- Rejection: 9
My Writers of the Future career is about to come to a close. My friend (and two-time finalist) Dustin Adams and I submitted a co-written story for Quarter 3. And then that's it for me. (Unless I submit one particular story that I love and no editor seems to want in Quarter 4, as one of my writer friends keeps pushing me to do.)
Why stop? Because of the rules. Writers of the Future is for writers who have sold fewer than four stories to professional markets. I should have become ineligible awhile ago, except that the lovely people at the contest keep finding reasons to say this sale or that sale doesn't really count. In my mind, they do count. I could keep entering if I wanted, but it feels like I'm cheating. So, I will stop.
Besides, I have other priorities nowadays than writing a story for Writers of the Future every quarter. I need to finish my novel. I have a story to pitch and write for an anthology. Especially with my new, crunched schedule, I have to pick and choose my writing projects.
After almost seven years of entering every quarter, I'm down to one last chance to win. It's a good story. We'll see in a couple of months whether David Farland agrees that it's worthy of finalist and a shot at the big prize.