“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio” (Shakespeare, Hamlet). There are also many things more satisfying than winning a competition.
This Saturday the whole family went on a mini-road trip to Gawler for the Competition’s Award Ceremony which was held at the Gawler Library Reading Room (complete with glass-fronted bookshelves filled with old hard cover books, gilded ceiling rose and large gilt framed portraits. I was in heaven!) The judges reported that they had a hard time deciding on a winner as there was a very ‘high calibre of the entries.’
I did some schmoozing at the Library, meeting a most pleasant writer (who ended up winning a prize). My daughter was much more interested in the proceedings when she ran into a friend from school (now moved to a new school) and now had someone to converse with.
In August, I entered the Gawler Library Short Story Competition with my steampunk-genre short story - The Guest Upstairs. I had fun writing this story. It all began with a picture of a mechanical eyeball… (Many of my stories start with an idea sparked from a picture, a comment/phrase or a title.) I have more adventures planned for the main characters, both the hero/ine and the villian/s.
Since entering the competition, I presented this story to my local speculative fiction writers’ group. I received very valuable critique and editing help. I am now currently rewriting the story so I was not surprised when I did not place in the competition. But all was not lost.
The most exciting feedback, from my writers’ group, was the overall reaction to the story and characters. There was a strong desire expressed to see me expand the short story into a novel. (squee) At the Gawler Library, I chatted with one of the younger writers. I introduced her to the steampunk genre (something of which she was previously unaware) and we exchanged story plots. Her eyes lit up; she would love to read the story. (more squee!)
Though I did not place in the competition, I gained something even better – positive feedback and enthusiasm for the story and its characters. I was excited that fellow writers would recommend I consider going further with the story and that a younger reader was enthusiastic about the story and was keen to hear more (even in the smaller genre of steampunk).
This promise of hope pushes me to continue writing on the bad days. If sales are the equivalent to ‘bums on seats’, then at least there are some people who are interested in reading it. I got face-to-face acceptance of and enthusiasm for my story – something a writer loves to hear. I think that is much better than winning!
Better than Winning!