Finalist, Writers of the Future Q1 vol. XXVI

It’s not official yet, but I got the phone call this morning from Joni Labaqui.  I hope Joni doesn’t mind if I blow it open via blog.  This is a brand spanking new blog anyway, and I am sure Joni will have the other Finalist results posted by the time anyone gets around to reading this.

Wow, a Finalist at last.  This is my fourth entry for WOTF and the first time I made the top list. Previously I went 3 for 3 on entries / Honorable Mentions, and I had hoped very much that my Q1 entry for the Volume 26 anthology would climb out of the HM pool. I can’t express how pleased I am that my story made it, and now competes with 7 other entries for the coveted three placement spots — including the ultra-coveted 1st place win, which then goes on to compete with the other three 1st place wins from the other three quarters for the Grand Prize, which can net a writer up to $6,000 by the time (s)he is done collecting all their prize money.

That is some serious bread, people. As in, you can’t find another professional short SF&F fiction market in the world that offers up that kind of bread. Especially to new writers!

Anyway, there are lots of adjectives to describe how I am feeling: excited, relieved, ecstatic, and newly apprehensive all over again. How will my story do, against 7 other entries of equal or greater calibre? Especially when being judged by heavyweight Name SF&F authors?? Thinking about it too much sorta makes me a little crazy, so now I have to go back to trying not to think about it, and waiting out the weeks and weeks while the judging takes place.

I do know one thing. This news came at exactly the right time for me. Just like when I got my first HM back almost two years ago. My writing discipline has sucked in 2009 and I’ve been letting the “everything else” part of my life swamp the writing part, and I’ve felt stuck, flumoxed, and utterly unable to be productive. Well, maybe now I can un-ass myself and get back to work. Maybe I just need to know. Know what, I am not sure really. Perhaps after working so long to attain pro recognition and publication, maybe I was in need of some kind of real validation: yes, this is possible and is going to happen.

I’m saving my most explosive joy for when I actually WIN the damn thing. But for now, I am feeling mighty, mighty pleased. If writing is a sport, and the WOTF contest is a basketball court, then getting HM is like driving to the hoop or shooting a jumper and watching the ball crawl off the rim. Getting a Finalist spot is like shooting a three-pointer and watching it almost go in — it’s circling the inside of the rim as I write this. Around and around. Will it finally drop, and will I finally score? Or will it roll back out and force me to rebound, dribble out, and try for another shot?