Finished a New Story . . .
Happy New Year, everyone!
Now that I’ve gotten the good wishes out of the way, it’s time to talk turkey. I haven’t blogged much over the past ten days because of the holidays. I had to take some time off, because the pace of the last year, post-bronchitis anyway, was almost too hectic to be borne.
But for whatever reason, idle time and me just do not seem to go together. So I had the idea for a new story — well, new to me, anyway, as it’s based on an unfinished story of my late husband Michael — about a week ago. I adapted Michael’s story and used about 3,000 words of it, then wrote 6,000-plus words around it to make it all fit.
Note I’m not giving you too many details of this story. There’s a reason for that — I was attempting to send it to the Writers of the Future (WotF) contest in order to make one, final try.
Those of you who’ve read my blog for a while know full well I’ve been entering that contest for eleven solid years. I haven’t sent in a submission every single quarter, no. But every year, I’ve sent in at least one story.
And every time, my entry sunk like a stone.
This year, my story was ready at 11:50 p.m. on New Year’s Eve PST, which is the time zone of the WotF website. (Note that it was 1:55 a.m. New Year’s Day CST, in my own time zone.) So I went to the WotF website, and attempted to upload my file.
. . . but nothing happened.
Why? Well, the site had inexplicably decided to stop accepting submissions early. Usually, they will accept up until 11:59:59 p.m. PST (that is, eleven fifty-nine and fifty-nine seconds), but not this time.
So after all that work, my lovely 8600-word story (I pruned 1000 words on the advice of my long-suffering friend and first reader) didn’t end up getting sent.
Talk about frustration.
I did, of course, let WotF know that their site did something hinky and I wasn’t able to get my submission in through no fault of mine. But it’s like spitting in the wind. They’re most likely going to say that I can send the story in for the next quarter (once it opens; the site is still not up as of this hour, though normally it would be as the new quarter has started and submissions usually start right away at the stroke of 12:00:00 a.m. PST), so I should just do that.
But as the first half of ELFY should be out in early April (meaning it could be out by the end of March, as publication dates can be flexible on either end), I most likely will be ineligible.
So this was my last try . . . in more ways than one.
For those of you who’ve never submitted anything to WotF, you might be wondering why this is. I’m still a writer who most people don’t know about, I haven’t made many Science Fiction Writers of America-eligible sales (two, now, though the first was shared with Michael so it technically counted as half a sale), and I certainly could use the exposure and help that winning any prize in the WotF contest could bring.
But once you’ve published a novel — whether it’s self-publishing or traditional publishing — you are ineligible.
That’s why my niece, Jennifer Lunde, is ineligible; she self-published her novel PULSE through Lulu back in 2010. That’s one reason my friend Jason Cordova is ineligible, though he’s actually eligible to apply for the SFWA as he has at least six qualifying sales to his credit by my count, as Twilight Times Books — which is as reputable a small press as they come, and is now my professional home as well — published his novel CORRUPTOR in 2010.
But maybe there’s a silver lining in the fact I couldn’t get my story into the WotF contest.
The venerable magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) has announced they’re going to have a guest editor, C.C. Finlay, for it’s July/August 2014 issue (details can be found here). Better still, Finlay will be accepting electronic submissions — a first for F&SF — between January 1 and January 14 of this month.
Mind you, F&SF has never been interested in anything I’ve sent them, just as WotF has never been interested, either. But it’s a New Year, I’m an optimist, and I believe my time is now.
So what are my plans at this point for my poor, beleaguered story? If WotF won’t accept it, I will send it to Mr. Finlay in the next few days.
Wish me luck?