Well, I’ve done it. Finally. Now, for the unnecessary backstory…
About a million years ago, or 13 if we’re being more accurate, I picked up a volume (22) of Writers of the Future at a library sale. I enjoyed the short stories, and I learned about the contest. I thought great, here’s a contest that is legit, easy to enter, and focused on the types of stories I love.
Fast forward. I started following David Farland’s writing tips, and attending some of his lectures (at LTUE). I got a copy of Writer’s of the Future volume 30 via I think LibraryThing and wrote a review. Then I was contacted by the publisher for a couple subsequent volumes, so I got to read the ebooks early (ooooh) and write reviews. (I write a lot of reviews; this was especially rewarding).
But you’ll notice any lack of, you know, actually submitting to the contest.
Back in 2008, my little sister and I created a story concept, called Oreo Cream Fudge and the Bellydancing Girdle of Doom, which was all set to be the first story for the contest. I guess I got stuck on that, and when that story never got written, I didn’t figure anything else deserved to be submitted.
Enter LTUE conference 2020. (Which got to take place, thank goodness, before the world shut down.) I got an idea for a story, and got it in my head to submit to the LTUE benefit anthology because the theme perfectly matched the story I wanted to write. Why did I think I had any chance at a benefit anthology but not any contest (outside of Writer’s Digest)? Beats me.
Well, even though the deadline for the anthology was extended by a year (like everything) they still kindly rejected my submission just in time for me to submit the same story to Quarter 4 of Writers of the Future. The contest has four quarters of submissions and judging, then does an anthology volume of all the winners. I was really, really proud of the story I wrote, so I thought, you know, might as well do this now.
The result? I got an Honorable Mention! Now, there are lots of HMs, and even different levels of HMs, but it still felt pretty good to get that on my first try. Here’s the first few paragraphs of the story, for your enjoyment.
“The shaman murdered the shaman.”
The eleven other investigators looked up from their tablets, where they had been quietly reviewing the case details. The man giving the proclamation didn’t look like anybody special, although he spoke with finality.
The tall, broad-shouldered man sitting next to Abi made a sound halfway between a cough and a scoff. “Have you read beyond the first column? It’s impossible. And there is no evidence.”
“I agree,” Abi said, too quickly. She swallowed and placed her fingers on her ear subconsciously, twisting her parakeet feather earring and almost missing the next response.
“—and watch your tongue,” an older woman was saying; “that is our High Priest you accuse.” Her voice was deep and even, and familiar.
“Our High Priest was murdered,” the first man objected.
Abi cast an illusion over her face to hide the rolling of her eyes, and the man’s eyes flickered to her briefly, as if he noticed. Abi flushed slowly and wished she dared cover that up also. She didn’t like the impression she was giving at the very beginning of her very first investigation.