It’s been a while between posts. After a great September, I had a tough October (from a writing point of view) and I’m only starting to get over it.
The nadir was after a week of three rejections, Sisters In Crime tweeted that they had selected their finalists for the Scarlet Stiletto competition. They promised they would call winners shortly.
In a quirky joke from the universe, I got three calls that week from telemarketers based in Victoria. Each time I answered with my heart in my throat thinking ‘it’s happened at last’ -only to have someone try and sell me solar panels or insurance.
I never got ‘the call’ and after two agonising weeks of not getting it, they announced the shortlist. My name was not on it, no matter how many times I read it. I felt empty.
I prepped for this story unlike any other before. I read years of previous winners before writing a word. Then I plotted, wrote and tightened, making sure every word had a purpose and moved the story forward. I finished it two months before it was due, then let it sit for a month before my final edit. I was confident it was prize-worthy
There are over 10 prizes, and one of those is for cross-genre fiction. I’m a spec fic writer and I had a crime story that was equally dependent on the spec fic element and the crime. I didn’t think I would necessarily get a shot at first or second prize, but I thought my story was a great candidate for the cross-genre or best movie idea prizes.
It got nothing.
So, I’m slowly working through that disappointment. After trying so hard and getting nowhere, it made me question my own ability. I know that’s something all writers go through – which is why I wrote this post today, just in case someone else going through this reads it while wondering if they should give up. Please don’t.
I am in the process of picking myself up and dusting myself off. I will send the story to a spec fic market and hopefully get it published. The experience hurt, but I’ll move on. That’s a big part of what being a writer is about. And I can’t lose sight of the fact that at the very least, I got a story out of this of which I’m really proud.
And in all sincerity, congratulations to those who did make the cut for the shortlist. Except the people in the running for best cross-genre story – kidding! Mostly. 😉