Saturday, July 23, 2005

24 hour short story contest

The 24 hour short story contest at Writer's Weekly is about to begin in just 7 hours, and I haven't gone to sleep yet. With a bit of luck, the topic will be one I can work my dream around. The real challenge is going to be the word length, which tends to be short.
I'll note that this is the first writing contest I've ever entered. Realistically speaking, it's a hard way to make money. It's far easier - and cheaper - to stuff a story in an envelope and send it off to a magazine, where it will be read by one person who just found out his wife is cheating on him, laughed at by unpaid interns, and ultimately rejected. To a writer - one prepared for the realities of publishing at least - rejections are battle scars.
But this, this is far more difficult to handle. The stories will not be read by cynical editors wading through the aptly named slushpile. They will not be read by naive first readers hoping to discover the next Stephen King. No, they will be read by other writers, who are looking originality as opposed to publishability. The best written version of the topic doesn't have a prayer next to the most original twist.
And then there's the time limit. I do not work to a deadline. I have no idea how many pages it will take to tell a given story until I've seen how much story there is to tell.
On the whole, this contest is scary. But I'm a horror writer. Phobetor is my muse. Bring it on.

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