July 2010 - Posts

Honorable Mention
Friday, July 23, 2010 11:55 AM
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 Because mine is among those three and my story is as of yet unpublished I am free to seek publication elsewhere but one question I've been mulling over is, how do I approach the issue of being an honorable mention.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.
by DMI | with no comments
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The Next Step
Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11:45 AM
Energized by my recent victory in the Crossed Genres Flash Fiction Contest I've sent out another round of submissions (equipped with my new accolade in the cover letter) and I am ready to lay the cross hairs on my next goal: draft 2 of the novel. Again, I will be giving myself four months to complete the project although it is my hope the project will not take that long although it's hard to know for sure as I will be beginning a new job shortly. The next deadline will be the first of November and the countdown app on my dashboard has begun. I meant to make the announcement on the first of this month but I've been busy with family the last week.

So, chapter by chapter, let the revisions begin. Major changes are in store in every facet of the book as I seek to refine and sharpen before I let friends and family begin reading it. Or perhaps I'll let them read it as I go. It's a lot less intimidating and demanding to say, "here's a chapter, let me know what you think," than it is to plop down four hundred pages. If you're interesting in being among my first readers please let me know in the comments section. I am not looking for "good job"s or spelling corrections. Regardless of the editorial errors made on this blog I am capable of performing those tasks myself and I regardless of the encouragement it may seem that I need I am also capable of bolstering my own self esteem. What I really need is honest and complete criticism. You cannot hurt my feelings and I cannot improve without people telling me what I'm doing wrong.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished author.
by DMI | with no comments
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Victory
Monday, July 5, 2010 9:39 PM

First I must ask that you pardon the tardiness of this post. My maternal grandfather passed on the same day I recieved this amazing news and I have since been spending my time with family. The news, however, is something that would surely make Opa proud. Thanks to the generous support from my family and friends, my fellow blogiversiteers and others, I have been crowned winner of the Second Annual Crossed Genres Flash Fiction Contest. (<--Click to read the now published story for free!)

I'd like to take a moment and mention the techniques and tools I've proported on this blog which contributed most directly to this step forward inmy endeavor to "make it" as a writer. Going in no particular order, I'll start with Duotrope, the online digest for writers. If it weren't for there weekly newsletter on writing contests and submission opennings and closings, I would never have found out about this opportunity. I would never have taken advantage of that opportunity if I did not possess a mindset to make like the empire and strike back when opportunity strikes (I think I'm more amused by that blog title than anyone else). I found out about the contest the day before the deadline and I hammered that story out. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to do that if I didn't have an idea journal, which I opened and promptly found a story idea ripe for the writing, and if I wasn't already a well-oiled (but not oily) writing machine from writing 1000+ words a day (emphasis on the plus). Hell, that makes churning out 500 words easy and leaves plenty of time for revising, editing, and still making dinner before the misses comes home. And then of course, I may not have won were it not for this blog and the followers I have obtained through it. Thank you all of you.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished author, just not on the internet.

by DMI | 1 comment(s)
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