I’ve had a really great opportunity, and I just had to take advantage of it! The annual “Twisted Tales” competition is going on now, in conjunction with Raging Aardvark Publications and Ether Books. Ether writers were asked to judge, and I quickly volunteered.
I’m really glad I did. It’s going to help me so much with my writing, and it will surely help as I devise ways to teach the basics of short-short fiction to my university students.
It’s an odd experience, though. Some stories strike me as very amateur, right up until I go back to my writing and see that I wrote stuff at least as poor. Some has blown me away, making me wonder just how I can ever write like it. For the most part, though? Middle of the road. Stories with no strong punch, yet not really bad.
I can now kind of imagine what editors have to deal with. Terrible stories? Easy, just ditch them with the standard decline. Great stories? Okay, publish! But kind-of-okay-but-lacking-a-certain-something? Yeah, I can imagine those stories causing the greatest headache with publishers who have multiple editors vote on each story.
Anyway, my greatest takeaway from this is that it’s got me reading and critiquing. It’s got me thinking a lot about how I will write and submit my stories. To my readers I say: If you have a chance to judge a writing contest, take it! Search and talk around to see if you can find such chances. It is very worthwhile, and gives you an interesting view of the other side of writing.
More about Twisted Tales:
More about Ether Books: