I don’t ordinarily say much about story rejections—they’re part of the writer’s life—but this one is a special case. I’ve consistently submitted to Writers of the Future over the years. It’s perhaps the most prestigious writing competition for amateur speculative-fiction writers and open to people who have published fewer than four pro-rate stories. With recent sales to Daily Science Fiction and Lightspeed Magazine (my fourth and fifth pro-rate sales, respectively), my eligibility is winding down—as soon as one of them is published, I’ll be disqualified from Writers of the Futures.
My string of near-misses continues in the contest. I receive news last night that my latest entry for Quarter 2 received a semi-finalist. For those not familiar with the contest format, out of the 1000+ entries every quarter, 8 finalist and 5-10 semifinalist are selected, so my story finished in the top 15 or so, but not actually high enough to continue to the final judging (3 of the finalist will be selected as winners for the quarter). This is the fourth time I’ve placed a story as a semi-finalist, to go along with one time as a non-winning finalist. Not bad considering I’ve entered only about a dozen times. While I’m pleased to get close again, but I must be honest and say I’m also disappointed. I’m tired of getting close.
I figure I’ve got two—maybe three—more chances before I’m official disqualified. Maybe my next one will be a winner…so says the optimist in me….
While I understand the frustration of consistently being “this close” to winning, I’d say being disqualified for too many pro-market sales says you’re winning in the way that counts most! So, congrats! Still, good luck on your final attempts…
So true. Disqualifying myself from Writers of the Future has always been a goal because, as you note, it means I’ve been succeeding in ways that matter more to me in the long run. That said, Writers of the Futures is one of those rare markets that is more than just a “sale,” so winning it would be really nice.