Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dear Diary

May 6 – Over 36 days have passed an still nothing from the WoTF. Running out of funny, cutesy things to say.

 

The truth is, 36 days is hardly a wait at all. Last time I was in the finals I waited over two months. The reason for the long delays is simple. The judges. They are all writers in the field, some of them living legends—and they all work. Judging for the Writers of the Future is very much a labor of love, a chance for them to ‘Pay it Forward.’

This is a term associated with Robert Heinlein who when thanked by someone he had helped with writing replied, “Don’t pay me back, but pay it forward. If you have the chance, help the next guy with his career.” I’m paraphrasing, of course.

This is one of the reasons I strive to succeed in genre fiction. There is an actual community within the field. Stories abound of main stream authors who become full of themselves and only meet the ‘little people’ when its time to promote their books. On the flipside, you go to any SF Con and approach any author you might recognize and admire and say hi. If they have the time, they might engage you in conversation. They might even remember you from a previous meeting.

Be warned, this kind of interaction has its risks. If you’re a troll who only wants to harass an author, don’t be surprised if they rip your head off. After all, they are human, too.

Judges do get paid for reading, but so little you just know they do this out of the goodness of their hearts. (I had asked a judge and he quoted a figure that was less than a hundred dollars. Way less.) Sometimes life gets in the way, and they don’t get to the stories as soon as other times. Even K.D. Wentworth, who has to slog through over a thousand stories every quarter doing preliminary judging, sometimes runs over the limit. For this, she can be forgiven, as with the other tardy judges.

That doesn’t mean I’m not antsy about the outcome. I’m sure the other eight finalists are constantly checking their emails and phone messages. It’s all part of the game. And when the call does come through, and I get the old, “Sorry, but thanks for playing,” I will feel bummed out, more so because I have been to the ceremony before, and damn, but they put on a great show. On the other hand, I made finalist for a second time, which means I’m definitely heading in the right direction, (or is that write direction?).

And I’ve already mailed in my next submission. So, until then…

May 6 – 36 days + 15 minutes and still nothing. So hungry. Family is starting to look like roast chickens.

 

Mike

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