Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Contest Update for Those of You Eager for News




Thought you all might enjoy a little update on the Five Magic Spindles contest . . .

Well, the submissions are all turned in, and the judges are working hard at reading through everything before January 16. Why January 16? Because that is the date by which the top 25 stories will be chosen and sent to me! And the first round of judging will be complete.

After the 16th, I will spend the several weeks reading those 25 stories and figuring out which are my favorite. At that time I will experiment with various combinations of 5 to see what I think the best collection will look like.

When I have narrowed it down to my top 7-10, I'll bring in the other Rooglewood Press editors. They will read my top picks, and the three of us will put our heads together and finalize our 5 winners, to be announced on March 1.

Fun times! Am I right?

As to the submissions themselves, well . . . I can tell you this much: We had as many this year as we had last year, but the majority of the contestants were new. I was sad to see a lot of names from the last two years not submit, but excited to see all of the fresh blood coming in! And, don't worry--there were plenty of repeat contestants as well, folks who have submitted amazing stories for either one or both of our previous contests. It's just as wonderful to see their names in the mix, wondering if this year will prove THEIR year!

As for the judges, I have heard several say that real gems are shining out to them already as they read. Two different judges sent me feedback on two different stories, claiming that the entries were practically "perfect." They loved them so much, they couldn't see any flaws or necessary revisions. Now THAT'S a surprise and a delight! It's a rare day that a "nearly perfect" story shows up on any publishing house's desk.

And don't feel bad if you suspect those comments weren't directed at your particular story. Perfection is absolutely not what we are looking for here. What we seek, above all else, is a story that compels us to turn pages. A story that makes us eager to answer the question, "What happens next?" A story doesn't have to be "perfect" or "nearly perfect" to be completely engrossing to our judges. Or to me!

And what a year of stories this has been. Several of the judges have commented on the ingenuity and creativity displayed in this contest, more so even than the last two, incredibly creative years. You competitors really took this "Sleeping Beauty" theme and ran with it, making it your own. One judge--one who has read for all three contests--says that she might even be enjoying this year's contest the most simply because of the incredible variety in the stories she's received!

So well done, you. Well done, indeed.

I'll keep you posted on updates as we have them. For the moment, however, just relax . . . and start working on a new story. Because that's what authors do. When one project is complete and sent off into the world, it's time to start the next one. Time to fall in love with a whole new cast of characters and become lost in a whole new world . . . .

21 comments:

Heidi said...

Eeeeeeeee. How exciting!!! And now I'm SUPER nervous. ;D Tingly with it!!

And.... excellent advice. I'm super excited about jumping back into my western novel here in January! ;)

Jenelle said...

So exciting!!! I am super excited to find out who won this year and cannot wait to read the new collection when it becomes available.

I am enjoying the fact that I'm not nail-biting on my own behalf this year... it's far less stressful :) just too many other things on my writing plate right now. Maybe next year.... depending on what the fairy tale is...

Good luck and bonne chance to all the wonderful authors who've submitted a story. My advice would be to take a deep breath... and try to focus on something else for the next two months. ;) (Yes, yes, I know that seems impossible)

E.F.B. said...

Yay, contest news! I'm very happy to hear that people got really creative with the theme this year. Variety is the spice of life, after all. I'm also happy that it sounds like word has spread and more people are hearing about the contests and entering.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get even a first draft of my story done before the deadline. I told myself that if I didn't have certain, very important questions about my story answered and outlined by the time the entry form deadline came up, I was just going to let it go. Well, the deadline came, and those questions were nowhere near being answered, and with the business of Christmas, I knew I would just be more distracted than ever, so I did indeed let it go.

I was pretty sad about it at first, but upon reflection, I realized I should have decided to enter the contest FAR sooner than I did, and I needed to be more focused about it too.

Ultimately, however, my attempt at writing a story, even though I didn't finish it on time, taught me several things. 1) I need to commit sooner. 2)I need to streamline my writing process. I float around from plotting to writing to plotting WAY too much. I should really get the story plotted and outlined first, THEN write it and I'll save myself a lot of time and frustration. 3) Possibly most importantly, I learned that I am actually capable of coming up with an idea for a story like this, and I've actually had ideas for several other fairy tale retellings in the process.

So, that's that. I didn't get to enter this year, but now I at least have the starts of a story I like and fully intend to finish and get published on my own time, and there's always next year's contest to look forward to as well.

I wish those who did enter the contest blessings, and the best of luck. I look forward to reading and enjoying the winners' stories when the collection is finished. :)

Meredith said...

How wonderful to have something on this blog! Hope that your trip was fantastic, and I'm glad to know that all is well.
I'm so excited that there were new writers as well as some repeats, and I know whatever stories are chosen, they'll be wonderful. I admire the judges and do not envy them their jobs! Best wishes to everyone. And, I love Mrs. Jenelle's advice! God bless.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the contest update! I'm glad to hear there's been so many great entries, and I'm also very glad to have some solid dates to look forward to regarding judging-stuff. And also veryveryvery nervous because I'm one of the new contestants and March 1 is so far away and I've never submitted a story to something this big yet.

I am attempting to take your advice and move on to something new- I have moved on. I've finished one of my WIPs and am about to work on finishing another. But still. It's terrifying.

Savannah Jezowski said...

How exciting! I am so eager to find out about some of the stories submitted! They sound like they are wonderful this year. I cannot imagine reading all these wonderful tales and trying to choose only a few. It must be like a puzzle, trying to figure out which stories would suit well with which other stories to become a beautiful collection of unique but complimentary tales!

Savannah Jezowski said...

Anne Elisabeth, how do you keep your hands out of the pot until the judges send you their top selections? I would be so curious I'm not sure I could stay out of the cookie jar!! :)

Skye Hoffert said...

Thanks for keeping us updated. I have started a couple stories.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Savannah -- LOL! Yes, but keep in mind that I've been doing this for a couple of years now. And 25 stories is a LOT of stories right there when you think about it. I know I'll be spending lots of time reading them when the time comes for my turn. And in the meanwhile, I have so many other projects to keep up with . . . :)

Victoria Kahrs said...

So exciting to get an update about the contest. I am super nervous, personally I think I did better on the story I submitted for this contest than I did on the story I submitted for last years contest. I already have ideas for a second and third story following the story I submitted. I think that was one of the most difficult parts when I wrote my story. Creating a happy ending that almost sounded like a cliffhanger, if you know what I mean. Not sure if I will start writing them now though, with school around the corner.
I am so glad so many have submitted their stories to the contest this year, I am sure that there are all very good ones. I wish all the writers the best of luck, as well as for the judges. Best wishes to all.

Savannah Perran said...

Thank you so much for the contest update! I'm pretty much on pins and needles waiting for March 1st :). It's my first time entering something this big, so I'm both excited and a wee bit nervous :}.
I can't wait to see the contest results, I'm sure this collection is going to be fabulous!

wisdomcreates said...

I was so excited to see your post. Updates are like lifelines for writers drowning in the long wait, and they make me feel connected to my story as it makes the rounds through the judges.
I love the fact that you have some new writers this year; and I have to say that, after hearing bits and pieces of the story ideas floating around,I am really looking forward to this year's anthology. It has the potential to be absolutely amazing.
I can hardly wait to see the results in March!

Jenelle Hovde said...

How fun :) I can't wait to read the collection and it will look so lovely on my bookshelf with the autumn colors. Gorgeous cover sure to house wonderful stories.

Julia said...

I'm so excited for March 1, and so excited to read this anthology! I bet it's going to be amazing! It's very comforting to have actual dates for this process as well. I'll be writing them down in my planner and counting down the days...

Gwen Moeller said...

Even though it doesn't "affect" us to know the process, it still makes us feel like we are a part of it. It's so much fun to know where your story is "at," instead of just wondering. And it makes it possible for all of us to imagine that our stories were the ones that the judges loved, even if that's not really the case. Thank you so much for the update, Anne Elisabeth!

And after reading this, I am even more excited for the contest, if that were possible. This truly sounds like it will be the best collection yet--and the other two were pretty amazing! I'll be on the edge of my seat until March!

Well done, everyone!

Kayla Austin said...

Gah! But how can we wait until summer to read them?
I'm trying to work on other projects to keep myself from going out of my mind with nervous tension, but as I tried to make a working outline I was hit really hard with sadness and homesickness. I miss my characters so much already! Is anyone else having withdrawals and feeling heartbroken?

Kaycee Browning said...

I am so incredibly excited about this collection! I love how each anthology has its own "theme". Five Glass Slippers is very family-friendly, Five Enchanted Roses is more intense, and, if I were to guess, I think Five Magic Spindles might end up being the quirkiest one. A good friend of mine let me read her submission to the contest, and I absolutely loved it! I have also heard of several other stories which all seem so creative and fun. If those stories are any indication of Five Magic Spindles, I'm sure it's going to be wonderful! Best of luck to all who entered!

Tracey Dyck said...

It's so exciting to get a peek into the judging stage of the contest! Thanks for keeping us all posted, Anne Elisabeth. I certainly don't envy you and the judges. From the looks of the show and tell, there are so many great stories. Good luck, everyone!

@Kaycee Browning: Interesting assessment! You may be right. There seems to be a lot of variety this year. :)

princesselwen said...

Congratulations to everyone!
I couldn't finish my story in time, but I will post it on my blog.
http://princesselwen.livejournal.com/17006.html

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the update! Do we get to see the shortlists?

Medieval Girl said...

Sorry, first time I have commented on your site-and nothing to do with the contest, but I so can identify with what you mean about period-appropriate langauge.

One of my pet hates is characters in 'Medieval' fiction saying things like 'Okay'. No! Seriously, that word is not even recorded until the 1800s.

It can probaly be counted alongside the other linguistic faux-pas of laugauge not appropriate to the culture or nation in which a book is set. Sorry, but British people do not measure distances in 'blocks' and 'pants' means something very differnt over here- so seeing those types of terms in a book set in Europe or Britain, with characters of that nationalality is likely to get my back up.