…but then again, when isn’t it? To be honest, I have no idea. Until this past weekend, I hadn’t entered a writing contest since… well, since grade 2. I won, mind you, but that was then (“this is now, this is Stouffer’s, ooh ooh”).
Old Maritime commercials aside, this weekend I entered the Writer’s Weekly Fall 2008 24-Hour Short Story Contest – sort of on a whim, sort of as a challenge to myself. I wanted to force myself to produce something creative under pressure, since I tend to have problems getting anything done without some kind of pre-arranged structure.
Now that it’s all said and done, it was a pretty good experience and I’m glad I tried it. The results (ie. who won) won’t be in until the end of the month, but this time around, it wasn’t really about winning. Next time, perhaps. This time I just wanted to see if I could do it. I managed to write the story fairly quickly once the topic was released, but I ended up spending hours and hours editing the thing, trying to cut it down to the 850 word limit. I started with 1200 words, and thought “that’s not bad, I can edit that down”… naturally, I didn’t realize how difficult it can be to remove 400 words of a very short story, since in short stories, every word needs to be crucial to begin with. I think I got 3 hours of sleep that night.
The next contest with Writer’s Weekly runs January 23rd.
In terms of the next contest that I’ll be entering for sure (hah) is probably one of the Writer’s Digest competitions. They run a number of variously themed contests throughout the year, and the genre fiction short story deadline is coming up fast. I’ll keep you posted on my progress…