Several months ago, I took a deep breath and a chance and submitted a short story to a contest sponsored by Florida Writers Association. This marked the first time I’ve ever participated in a writing contest or submitted anything for publication. I have a hard enough time just letting people read my stories that the thought of sending one off to literally be judged was a little intimidating.
The rules of the contest were simple:
- Write a short story with a max of 1,200 words (or a 50-line poem)
- Tie the story or poem literally or figuratively to the theme – this year’s was “It’s a Crime”
- Submit your work to be judged by this year’s “person of renown” who is typically a published author whose work also relates to the theme
- Hold breath and wait for the judging to be done
- Find out if the judge likes your story enough to pluck it from the pile of submissions and send it off to the magical world of Publishtopia via the annual anthology
With hundreds of stories submitted each year, my odds of being selected to be included in the anthology were slim, but I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I went for it.
Several weeks after clicking the “send” button to submit my story, I came home one evening to an email from the contest organizer. I was sure it was going to be a condolence email, but I literally whooped with surprise and joy to read that my story had been chosen. For a moment, I was all Sally Fields-y. I may even have jumped up and down like a lunatic and done a goofy happy dance, but there’s no video of that, so you can’t prove it.
So, Dear Reader, I invite you to check out my story, “The Collector,” in paperback (e-book edition rumored to be coming soon). I hope you enjoy my story and the other stories written by the fellow members of FWA.
And if you’re an aspiring writer, why not take a chance and send a piece or two off to a contest or submit something for publication? You never know what might happen if you don’t give it a shot.