I have to confess that short story competitions are a whole new world for me. I wrote an Olympic themed story for the Costa Short Story Awards last year on a whim to see if I could write a short story and never got a response.
At the turn of the year I began a writing course which focuses my mind on writing with a view to one day making money. Not that it claims to make me a published writer but after my first assignment I received good feedback which was nice. I’m currently waiting for feedback on my second assignment and beginning the research for my third.
For my third assignment I have to source a magazine I would like to write a short story for and produce an outline of that story. I’m not really into magazine reading so I need to do some serious googling to find out what magazines have short stories in them and then see if I can write a story their demographic would enjoy. A challenge indeed.
After subscribing to Writing Magazine I went through the short story competition calender and circled some potential competitions I would like to enter. The first of these was a children’s short story competition. I had an idea for a children’s story rattling around in my head since my cousins little girl’s first birthday last September so I sat and began writing it out. Seeing as this was only my second competition entry I didn’t expect any feedback.
Yesterday I received a letter to say I had placed in the top 10% of the entries although I had been unsuccessful in getting a winning placement. This was very exciting, then I realised the top 10% was anywhere between place 4 and 250. I guess for a first proper try that’s not bad, I was pretty excited at the time.
Since then I have been mulling this over. The letter went on to say they could tell I had experience of telling children’s stories, well I did used to make up stories for my little brother so they were right about that. But then they offered me the opportunity to undertake their children’s writing course, an offer only going out to the top 10 percenters. This was at a reduced rate for placing in the top 10% but still almost £200.
I am thoroughly enjoying my current writing course and would be interested in doing the course to further my knowledge and focus my writing but now is not the right time. I have already committed to one course and financially I am not in a position to spend another £200 on a course.
I wondered how many of the 250 would take up the course. I’m sure I would enjoy it and it would be beneficial to me but my skeptical brain says it is a ploy to sell the course. My ego says what number in the 250 did I place?
If I was in the top 10, 50 or 100 then perhaps with some careful editing my story would be in a position to be sent to publishers without needing a course. Even if I was placed between 100 and 250 this could still be the case.
I will look to this as a positive and keep the letter for future motivation. I have always had stories floating round my head and only recently have I taken the time to write them down.
I enjoy the feeling I get when someone looks at my writing and says nice things. To have someone with years of experience and numerous published pieces of work tell you a piece you wrote for an assignment was good and they were looking forward to reading more of your work, that is priceless!
Hopefully one day the feedback will not only be positive but will also come with a cheque attached!