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 . . . .