Imagine blowing up a balloon, pinching the neck between your thumb and pointer finger, and then abruptly letting it go. That’s what happened to me yesterday morning while I was teaching grade 10 English. I didn’t actually flap wildly around the room making a rude sound and land totally flaccid in the corner, but I sure felt like it.

As you probably know, I was really, really pumped about my entry for the 2011 3-Day Novel Contest. The few friends who read it were enthusiastically behind my novella, and I thought I might just have a chance in the competition. Yesterday my email made the blip sound while I was talking about internal conflict in short fiction (or something like that) and I drifted toward my desk to see if it was a critical message needing my urgent attention. There it was, the email I have been waiting for all month: 3 Day Novel results.

I clicked the link and held my breath.

I am not the winner.

I am not the runner up.

I am not in third place.

I am not on the list of honourable mentions.

Cue the fart noises. Fart noises indicate abject disappointment.

Please understand that I didn’t feel the contest owed me anything. It’s a contest. There is one winner and a whole bunch of people who are not the winner. I’m just pretty bummed that I didn’t even hit the top twelve. Maybe it’s the long, long wait for contest results. Perhaps I was just super excited about my piece this year. I’m not too sure.

All three of the writers who placed are professional writers. One masters of creative writing. One PhD candidate in creative writing. One marketing writer. Am I kidding myself to think I can hold my own with people who have advanced degrees in this stuff and write as a career rather than as a hobby? Perhaps. Is it as impossible as rumour holds for a writer with three major strikes against her (unknown, Canadian, female) to catch any kind of break into the publishing world? Some days I really do feel that way. Today, I just feel flat and dejected. Blah.

I will be reworking my entry, The Rarest Kind, Indeed, into a full-length novel and attempting to have it published. Right now it’s about 122 pages, which is lots to accomplish in a long weekend but not enough to be considered a complete typical-length novel ready for publication under normal circumstances. Stay tuned on that one.

If you’d like to read about this year’s first prize novel, which sounds like it has a hell of a plotline, click here to go visit the official 3-Day Novel site. Hearty congratulations to this year’s winners from those of us in the dollhouse. Well done, folks. Well done.

Thanks to those of you who’ve been asking about the contest. I feel the love.

copyright 2012:



14 Comments Add yours

  1. lexy3587 says:

    Congrats! You entered the contest, you sent your own writing out to be judged. That is terrifying. I can barely deal with giving my blog-address to people I know, because I then know that people I see face-to-face on occasion will actually have the opportunity to read things that I wrote.

    1. Thanks for your positivity. I guess I should be looking on the bright side of things.
      Try telling random strangers about your blog; it works for me!

  2. Kay, I’d love to read your submission. You definitely have talent as evidenced by this great blog. Keep up the great work.

    1. Awww, thanks MW. I didn’t know you’d been by.
      If I ever get a longer manuscript off the ground, I’ll let you know where to find my fiction.

  3. Cinderella says:

    Dear Kay,
    People are idiots. ‘unknown, female, canada has NOTHING to do with talent, and if those were the strikes against you, they were irrelevant.

    Remember all the famous authors who have gotten rejection notices.
    Ignore the morons.

    You DO have real talent. I see/feel/know it, and excuse the total lack of modesty, as an incessant fiction reader, I am VERY good at picking the going-to-be-famous out from the crowd.

    Write the full length novel. Know deep in your heart that the bureacratic pompous blind dingbats that didn’t pick you will be embarrassed beyond words in about ten years when you are on all the best seller racks at the bookstores.

    1. Oh, Cinderella. You always know the right thing to say. Thank you.
      Today is a better day. It’s no one’s fault that my work isn’t what the judges wanted, or that it wasn’t as good as other submissions. It just is what it is, and today I’m okay with that.

      I hope you’re right about the bookstores. Man, that would be a dream come true.

      Ignore the morons. I should paint it up all fancy on a sign and hang it in my house.

      Hugs and hugs. You rock.

  4. Keep trying. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t think that you are a good writer. My plan of attack this year is to enter so many contests and submit so many manuscripts that I won’t even know when winners are announced. That way, I won’t spend weeks and months waiting for the results of the one contest I entered.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. FP. I’d love to hear what your manuscripts are about. Email me if you want to chat privately.
      I think my problem is time: I really only accomplish one major piece each year due to my insane teaching schedule.

      1. Oops. I hit the button too soon.
        Anyway, all my eggs are in one basket, really, because I only get write one major piece per year and I made the mistake of heaping too much hope on one sandwich. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Cinderella says:

    Good Thursday morning to you, Kay.

    What do you mean ‘it wasn’t as good as the other submissions?”
    And no again.

    The judges were looking for something different obviously, if ‘unknown female, canada’ were three of their criteria ‘dings’.
    Doesn’t make anyone else’s submission BETTER, makes their submissions DIFFERENT.

    There ought to be an internet list somewhere of all the wonderful writers who had their submissions declined/rejected until they got their big break.

    I know this hurts.
    I also know it is irrelevant to the quality and level of interest generated by your writing.

    If your short story had been given as a class assignment to advanced high scool or college kids who had to write on themes of abandonment, kindness, healing and sacrifice, etc, I daresay all the english teachers in future classes would be using your story for the same kind of depth in writing.

    Keep that spark of your talent safe and shining Kay. Don’t let the morons tell you anything different. Darkness always tries to triumph over the Light.

    1. Thank you for your unwavering support, Cinderella. Maybe you’re more like a fairy godmother? The kind words mean so much to me. Thank you.

  6. Dalya Moon says:

    Kay, you are a winner!

    You wrote that bad boy and people liked it.

    Now finish revising the thing and publish it. I will be your first fan, okay? I promise.

    I spent the last few months revising my own 3DNC entry and I have published it:

    Publishing it is BETTER than being on the top 12 list. People who buy books to enjoy don’t care about your MFA or lack of MFA.


    1. That’s right: YOU wrote the belly-button one! I was thinking about it earlier this week, too. Now I know where I can read it.

      I’m actually toying with the idea of reworking my first 3-Day Novel entry as a serial for my blog. We’ll see what happens.

      Thanks for the encouragement. It’s amazing how much writers root for one another.

      1. Dalya Moon says:

        I much prefer reading stories on my e-readers. Formatting is pretty easy, and you can always throw it up on Smashwords for people to download in their chosen format.

        Gosh, I’m pushy, aren’t I? Now you can guess why people drop out of my crit group. 🙂

        My husband felt Poke was “the best book I’ve written”, so I think the 3-day thing brought out the best in a lot of us authors. I’d love to read yours!

Leave a Reply to Cinderella Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s