Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crunch Time

Now Playing: TOP OF THE WORLD by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman
Just Read: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST by Ken Kesey--Very fun! I've been meaning to read this one for a while and it didn't disappoint. Great writing--awesome analogies--and great story.
Reading Now: THE TIGER'S WIFE by Tea Obreht

I think I have discovered that I work well with deadlines.

They are, of course, purely imaginary at this point in my career. My Write1Sub1 goals don't cost me anything if I don't meet them, but they're there to challenge me and keep my writing on track. Likewise, some magazines have their own deadlines: limited submission windows, or contests like Writers of the Future that starts over every three months. I've done well trying to position stories for submission within these windows.

Winning  the Writers of the Future Contest is a huge goal I've set for myself. I first started submitting in . . . 2007? . . . took some time off but have submitted every quarter regularly for the past three years. I received an honorable mention two quarters ago, but everything else has been a form rejection. However, I think my stories have gotten progressively better, and the contest itself has made my writing more disciplined.

Reading some of the winners' anthologies, I started to pick up that the contest tends to lean toward longer stories. Perhaps it's a mark of a new writer's control, like being able to keep a story together for a higher word count is tougher and therefore more worthy of winning. The problem with writing longer pieces is they take longer to perfect. So I've gotten into a habit of writing a longer piece for one month's W1S1 goal, then two shorter pieces for the next two months while I work on editing the longer piece for the WotF Contest. By the time the deadline comes around, it's usually ready.

This quarter ends on March 31st. I have a story edited and prepared . . . but is it perfect? That's what I'll be asking myself over the next few days as I try to nail it down and send it toward the higher ranks of submissions. It's crunch time! Let's win this thing.