Judges comments come back on “The Murder Plague” – they’re terrific

ImageImageI never felt so good about losing a writing contest.

Last spring I entered “The Murder Plague” in the Unpublished Novels (science fiction) category of the Florida Writers Assocition’s annual Royal Palm Literary Awards. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Florida’s a big state. There are a lot of great writers here.

So I wasn’t terribly disappointed last month when I got a notice from the contest coordinator telling me that “The Murder Plague” was not a finalist. A little bit, sure. But it was easy to shrug off. Here’s how the contest worked: We submitted both the complete manuscript and a seperate entry of the first 30 pages. Two judges would read the first 30 pages, and score them. If it scored high enough to be a finalist, then the judges would read the entire manuscript. The winner in my category was “Outpost Earth” by L.H. Davis of Malabar. Congratulations!

So when I got the letter last month saying, “sorry, you’re not a finalist” I moved on pretty quickly. I forgot that FWA promised to share the judges’ comments when the contest was finished.

Those comments, scorecards, arrived last night and they were wonderful. Continue reading

Entering The Murder Plague in a writing contest

I’ve always had mixed feelings about writing contests. On the one hand, there’s that fantasy about winning, with almost all the validation you’d ever want. On the other, there’s the reality of not winning, which leaves you grumbling that the judges are stupid because your work surely is prize-worthy.

In my day job there are a lot of awards contests for which my day-job writing is eligible. But I haven’t entered any of those contests in many years. Once you get a long losing streak, you start worrying about breaking records for losing.

But a novel is different. A novel you love like a child. It is perfect, worthy of accolades, right?

Continue reading