The Curse of the Honorable Mention (And Other Updates)

I received a very exciting piece of news last week:  My story “The Wild Wizard’s Win” was chosen as an Honorable Mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest

For those of you unfamiliar with the contest, Writers of the Future is the premier contest for budding authors of speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy).  Winners of this contest include Patrick Rothfuss, Eric James Stone, Eric Flint, David Levine, among other extremely successful authors.  So it was a pretty exciting thing to know that judges like Orson Scott Card, Kevin J Anderson and David Farland thought my story was worthy of recognition.

Regardless of the bit of pride and esteem that brings me, it was a bit of a bitter sweet moment.  I’d been waiting almost 4 months, watching the WOTF forums pile up with people reporting their rejection notifications and wondering if my story would be among them.  With each passing day, I started to look at my phone more and more, waiting for a call that might tell me I was in the final ten.  Alas, my only reward is a certificate and some minute bragging rights.  But I’m still pretty happy about it.

The funny thing about this particular contest was that I submitted the story almost as a joke.  A novelette of over 15,000 words (making it basically unpublishable in any periodical because it’s too long), The Wild Wizard’s Win is a flippant, whimsical tale of a totally inept wizard who enters into a sorcery competition.  His friend, the real protagonist of the story with no magical ability whatsoever, attempts to fix the competition in the wizard’s favor so that he can take some of the prize money.  The story is utterly ridiculous, though it did receive a personal rejection from Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine –  the holy grail of fantasy periodicals.  I had absolutely, positively no expectations for the story, yet here I sit, an honorable mention to my name.  I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned here, but I don’t quite understand it yet.

Now that I’ve make my mark on the competition in a small way, I actually hope to never win it.  Why?  WOTF is a competition for amateur authors; once you attain a certain quality of publication credits, you become ineligible as a contestant.  I hope that I can break into the market before I win.  The contest runs every quarter, though, so I’ll be submitting even as I work toward my overarching goal.  We’ll see how it goes.

A trip to Hawaii and some other life events have taken me away from writing and this blog for a while, but life is slowly returning to some semblance of normal.  In the interim, I also got another piece of exciting news.  I’ve been invited to WORLDCON – one of the largest amateur/professional writing conferences in the world – as a panelist.  Unfortunately it has absolutely nothing to do with my accomplishments as an author; they want me to give some presentations and participate in panels as a member of the military, giving authors the opportunity to pick my brain as they attempt to integrate realistic military scenarios into their fiction.  99% of writers have never served (99% of America, really), yet a lot of people want to write about it.  Even the internet doesn’t give you the opportunity to research what it’s like to be in the military, to live that life.  Hopefully my experience and limited expertise can be useful – and hopefully I can do some serious schmoozing while I’m there.

Once I get more details and the clearance from Public Affairs to talk about my work in a public setting, I’ll post them here.  If you’re going to WORLDCON in Chicago this year, feel free to come to a panel!

Aside from that, it’s time to focus on getting back on the horse and galloping my way to a few odd contests, another novel, editing In the Shadow of Legends and trying to land an agent to represent The Last Scion.  It’s a daunting list of tasks, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about trying to break into this business it’s that I can’t be scared by the amount of work ahead of me.  I just have to keep typing, keep learning, and keep submitting my work to people that might buy it.

I invite you to follow my blog  (or invite others, if you’re already following) if you’re at all interested in my journey.  Writing can be a lonely and discouraging business, and it’s always nice to know that I have some folks cheering for me.

Until next time,

Joe

1 Comment

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  1. Congratulations all the same, Joe! Getting your name out there is just as important as finishing your book. That Worldcon panel might just give you the chance to pitch to an editor in person! Exciting stuff!

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