I recently received another rejection for my AI vs. Aliens story. This one was from L Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest. Before I entered, I knew the contest was kind of a big deal, but I didn’t realize it was a REALLY BIG DEAL. A number of sites I’ve read since submitting have convinced me the contest is very prestigious and probably gets a large number of entrants.
The contest posted a partial list of people whose stories were better than mine. Let me know if anyone on it is familiar to you. I haven’t carefully checked the whole list, but I know J.M. Williams visits here. I recently read his short story at Uprising Review and found it entertaining, so I don’t mind being placed below him.
As you can see from the list, there are five categories: winners, finalists, semi-finalists, silver honorable mentions, and honorable mentions. So, I’m in a sixth tier below those. Actually, since the contest is not open to professional authors, maybe my tier should be pushed down even further.
Although my story didn’t make the cut, I have a positive impression of the contest. The administrators were very friendly when I interacted with them, and they seem interested in helping new writers improve. Unfortunately for me, only semi-finalists and above receive story critiques.
Before I entered the contest, I had already purchased a collection of last year’s winning stories, but hadn’t had time to read it. I’ll get to it as soon as I’m finished with my magazine quest, and I’ll post a review.
One of two things will happen after I read it:
I might think the stories aren’t good. I hope this isn’t the result. It might feel good for a few minutes to say “my stories are as good as those”, but it wouldn’t be helpful.
I might think the stories are great. I’m hoping this is the result for two reasons. First, that means I’ll have 32 previous collections I can read when I’m ready for more short stories. Second, I can try to pick the stories apart, and see what winners are doing that I’m not. Are their openings stronger? Do they focus on the characters more? Do they use more description?
Let me know if you have experience with the WOTF contest, either as an author or as a reader.