Following my triumph in the Crossed Genres
Flash Fiction Contest I decided to write a story for another competition they were holding, the Science in my Fiction
contest. Per my personal requirement, there was no entry or reading fee and to my delight there was a top prize of $300. The contest was to see who could pen the best story based on a recent scientific or technological development, discovery. You had to provide a link to an article about the development. I decided to write about a robot designed to interact with autistic children I read about in popsci. The article is titled The New Face of Autism Therapy.
Winners were announced recently and my story "Regular Robots and Irregular Humans" garnished an Honorable Mention!
The folks at Crossed Genres choose ten finalists from all stories submitted and passed those along to a panel of judges that included editors of other magazines and scientists. The three top stories were published and three others were named honorable mentions. Because mine is among those three and my story is as of yet unpublished I am free to seek publication elsewhere but one question I've been mulling over is, how do I approach the issue of being an honorable mention. Should I put that in my cover letter or just not mention it at all? Not that cover letters have that much attention paid to them, but if an editor did actually read it, would saying the story had been an honorable mention in a contest help it or hurt it? Would they say, "I don't want someone else's leftovers," or "Oh, must be a decent story at the very least."
It seems to me it almost sounds better to say that I was a finalist rather than an honorable mention. "Finalist" connotes an achievement, a reference to the relationship of my story with all those who were not finalists. It is a surpassing of the majority, a relative victory. "Honorable Mention" is a relative loss because it refers to my status as compared with the winner. The word "honorable" isn't the culprit here, it's the word "mention." As to say, "Look! Behold the winner. And, oh yea, we'd like to mention these guys..."
This is in no way to say I am not grateful to the recognition I have received from the judges for my work. I am proud to say that of all the stories submitted mine was in the top six and not just the top ten (those authors listed simply as finalists). I'm just not sure how to proceed from here other than to give the story another read through and see how it can be improved. An honorable mention isn't beyond tweaking.
As for cover letters, I'd say they probably aren't worth losing sleep over but your comments are always welcome.
Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished author.