Joni Labaqui announced the 4th Quarter winners today.
1st Place – Laurie Tom from Torrance, California
2nd Place – Scott W. Baker from Monterey, Tennessee
3rd Place – Lael Salaets from Oakridge, Oregon
If memory serves, Lael has been entering for awhile now? Lael is also the latest Wordo from that ‘machine’ they got out in Oregon. C’mon, Wordos, can’t you take a year off? (grin) Scott, welcome to the club, man! You made it! And Laurie now takes a shot at the Big Money. Very exciting. Fanfare for the three of you. (trumpets) Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray!
Now, on to something a little more serious….
John Arkwright, Andrew Baines, Kevin Kenan, Jeffrey D. Lyman & Meagan Spooner didn’t make it. This time.
They will be tempted to look at that story that had them feeling so happy a month ago, and wonder: what was wrong with it? Why didn’t it win? What flaw or flaws prevented it from rising to the top three spots? The self-doubt will likely be louder than it’s ever been at any time for them during their writing careers.
They must ignore such second-guessing. It is crap.
Because there is probably nothing wrong with these stories. Nothing wrong with them at all. K.D. isn’t kidding when she says all the Finalists are pro-level stories and could just as easily go to any of the pro-level markets. I’ve seen the proof of that with my own work. So non-winning Finalists must not get it into their heads that somehow their manuscripts sucked and the winners were awesome. All of the Finalist stories are likely to be at more or less the same level, and what the final decision came down to was…. taste. The personalities of the four judges. The difference between the 1st place winner and the last non-winning Finalist story is…. The width of a hair.
So now the non-winners have a mission. Their mission is to come back hard. Enter the contest the next quarter, and the next quarter, and the next quarter, and keep doing this until they win. Being a Finalist is their proof that they are ‘there,’ and can write at the level required to win. All they have to do now is make sure they keep sending, until Joni pitches them back up into the Final 8 and — this time — the judges are in the mood for what they’ve put on the plate.
Of course, there is always the chance for Published Finalist. Depending on how thick all the winning stories are, the Contest could put one or even several non-winning Finalist stories into the mix for vol. XXVI, which means some of the non-winners could be coming to the workshop this summer anyway.
Now, if Joni would just release the dates. I’ve got a busy schedule and it would be really nice to know when that week will be.