Finalist, Writers of the Future, Q3 vol. XXVI

It’s official.

Click here to see the announcement.

My sincerest best wishes to Adam Colston, Jakob Drud, Brent Knowles, Geir Lanesskog, Dwayne Minton, Robert Pritchard, and Tom Waters.


Oh frak it, why not?

It’s been the better part of a week now, and though the official word still hasn’t been put out, enough people have been informed under-the-table that I may as well just blog about it. Hopefully Joni doesn’t mind.

Yes, I am a Finalist for Q3, Writers of the Future vol. XXVI

Yes, it’s my second call-up to the WOTF Majors this year. Hopefully I don’t get sent back down again. Hopefully I connect for a single, a double, or a triple. Or, like Emery Huang most recently, the Golden home run.

If nothing else, making Finalist twice in the same year ups my chances at being a Published Finalist. Which to my mind is almost as good as a placement — because you still get your work in the book, which means superb word rate and potential royalties, and you get to keep coming back and submitting to future quarters in the hopes of winning.

Eric James Stone did it. I wouldn’t mind doing the same.

We’ll just have to see what happens. Wait time ought to be 8 to 12 weeks, just as before, so nobody will probably know anything about the winners until around Christmas or so. Unlike last time, I’m not expending a lot of energy fruitlessly daydreaming about The Big Win. I am instead tempered by the knowledge that it’s good to be in the queue, but nothing is guaranteed, so best to just keep tapping those keys and firing out those manuscripts.

Q1 of WOTF vol. XXVII is currently open for business. Maybe this time I do an about-face and turn my submission in way early, instead of writing and mailing at the last minute like I always do.

I’m also going to begin entering the Illustrators Of The Future contest as well, so Q1 will see me sending two envelopes to Hollywood. There has been only one double-winner to my knowledge: Stephen Stanley. As with Eric, I wouldn’t mind following in those footsteps.

Hey, maybe I can be the first guy to get a Published Finalist, a placement, and a win at the IOTF as well?

As always, you can’t land on the moon if you never launch your rockets.

Best to everyone still waiting for news about their entry. If you’re struggling with anxiety, why not pour that energy into a new piece. Get your mind going on something else. I spent too much time stewing over my Q1 Finalist and it resulted in nothing.

Happiness is being lauded by Dave Wolverton (aka: David Farland)

Can I just say now that Dave Wolverton (aka: David Farland) is a peach? This bestselling author has clearly forgotten none of the struggle of being an aspirant writer, and spends a whole heck of a lot of his time engaged in projects — his daily Kicks in the Pants, his writing workshops, judging Writers of the Future — that benefit aspirants.

Dave’s been giving me some very excellent feedback on my Finalist story, and today he sent out his daily Kick with the following praise:

I was also delighted to see that Brad Torgersen was a finalist in the contest this quarter. His story “Outbound” was one of my three top picks.

Oh. Wow. (blink… blink…) That’s DAVE WOLVERTON telling the world that my Finalist was one of his top three picks!

Short of winning Writers of the Future, I couldn’t ask for better than this. Truly. Dave didn’t have to put this out to the world, but he did. Talk about having a daily affirmation!

Thanks, Mr. Wolverton. This aspirant thing is — has been! — a very lonely road, with few or no words of encouragement. Just lots and lots of form rejections. As in, lots and lots and lots. No clue how you did. No word. Just, “Thanks for sending us your story, it didn’t work for us, blah blah blah blah…” Until you feel like you want to scream.

Well, Dave, I’m going to take that quote above, print it out on a big ledger-sized piece of paper, and tape it up everywhere I can possibly see it. At work. At home. Everywhere, to remind myself that this trek towards publication is not futile, and that I do have what it takes to tell a good story! The key now is probably what it’s always been: no letting up, no quitting, no slacking. Write more, submit more, until I’m finally over The Wall (see post below) and can claim my first official victory.

Writers of the Future… And the ball crawls off the rim!


Got the call from Joni today.

No joy.

As they say in the NBA, around and out, baby. Around and out!

Time to get the rebound — pound the glass! — and go up for a second chance opportunity!

HUGE THANKS to everybody who has been sending support. Also HUGE THANKS to Dave Wolverton for being able to provide feedback on the story, once the decision to not place it was made. I’d have liked a W for this one. I felt like I had a W on this one. Alas, feeling and realizing are two different things. The reality was, three other stories were better than mine. Mine was right there, but it was outclassed by three others.

Now I’ll take what I’ve learned from Dave and from other, ongoing stories, and try to make my Q3 entry as good as I can. Better than the Q1 Finalist. Better than anything I’ve written before. I fell short just inches from busting the tape. Next time, I’ve gotta make sure I can go the distance.

The wait is… Almost over?

Well, the requisite 8 weeks have passed since I was first notified of my Finalist status for Writers of the Future.

Theoretically, all of us Final 8 (heh!) should be getting some kind of news in the next week or two.  Past winner Emery Huang clued me in that it took roughly 9 weeks for him to get word, so I am hoping that perhaps next week, the good news will roll my way.

Or not.  There is no guarantee.  Do I like the story that is currently a Finalist?  Oh, absolutely.  I consider it probably my best ever.  But my best ever might still not be good enough.  It’s just so hard to tell.  So much hinges on who the judges were, what their tastes are, whether or not my story was up their alley, whether or not the other 7 stories were up their alley, the general competence and professional quality of the other 7, versus my own, etc, etc.

It’s enough to drive a man batty, I say.

Well, hopefully, soon, the wait will be over.  One way or another!

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?