When I accessed my email inbox this morning, I hesitated when I saw that the scoring results from the Pikes Peak Writers Annual Fiction Competition were in. It’s always a time of insecurity when something I’ve written has been sent out to be “judged” by some unknown person. No matter how many critique groups I belong to, or how many countless hours have been spent writing and rewriting the work, my writer-skin doesn’t seem to get all that much thicker.
Well, that’s not completely true.
I can handle the weekly critiques because I know those sitting at the table with me. With a contest, it’s all done in a vacuum, leaving the writer – me – to fill in the blanks with my overactive imagination. In ten years, it hasn’t gotten any easier. I dread the outcome, fluctuation between sheer terror and pure exhiliration.
This will be a drop in the bucket!
They’re probably sitting in a room somewhere laughing their asses off!
These are a couple of the things that little voice inside torments me with. Neither confidence nor insecurity can get a firm grasp on my soul. Not until the results are in.
And now they are.
I tucked the results away without looking at them early this morning, not wanting to start my morning out with potential “bad” news. Then I logged on to Facebook and one of my friends and fellow writers posted her scores online for the world to see. She did quite well for herself, especially since her work borders on literary fiction, and the competition is primarily for more commercially oriented fiction. Some commercial fiction writers have a real issue with anything that smacks of “literary.” There’s always a debate about it going on in the circles I travel in. Same with self-publishing. But I digress…
So I figured that if my writerly cohort can broadcast her scores on a social media network like Facebook, the least I could do was actually look at my own scores.
And so I did.
Two judges. Out of a possible 100 points, my submission scored a 95 from one and a 90 from the other. That’s like getting an A- and B+ on a test.
The piece, Plummet, is an urban fantasy that takes place in San Francisco. Since submitting it to the contest back in November, many changes have taken place. That’s the trouble with submitting a work-in-progress. It often changes before the results of the scoring come back. So I don’t feel so bad about my scores. The SF/Fantasy category receives the most entries on a regular basis. Of the 400+ entries this year, SF/Fantasy received more than half of them. Tough competition.
However, it’s still a letdown of sorts. But I move forward with new resolve to do better next time.