I don’t often enter contests. There are several reasons: most writing contests cost $20-$30 for an entry and you only have one to three chances of being chosen. The odds of submitting to a magazine are much better. However, I will once in a while enter a contest if the price is right and if it’s for a good cause. I also understand that many magazines do a yearly contest, which fuels their production budget and that it’s a necessity but I certainly couldn’t afford to enter every contest to every magazine. I have in recent years entered and placed in the Rannu Fund poetry and short story competition. It’s smaller and Canadian but takes submissions in English from anywhere in the world. And the price isn’t high.
Likewise the Friends of Merril decided to hold an inaugural short story contest. The Merril is a branch of the Toronto public library and the foremost collection of speculative fiction and poetry in North America. There are over 72,000 works stored there and it continues to grow. Judith Merril, an American by birth, was one of the grand dames of science fiction. She was more background and while she wrote and published in the early years, she was also an editor.
So I thought, why not, the contest is cheap ($5), it’s the first time and supports a good cause, it’s Canadian, and I write. All good reasons. I entered one story though I think you can enter up to three and then forgot about it. Yesterday I was informed that I’d made the shortlist. Of the 102 entries they received for the first year of the contest, nine finalists are chosen. I cannot say which title is mine but here is the list:
Muffy and the Belfry
My Profit On’t Is
Rikidōzan and the San Diego Swerve Job
The Mobius Garden
The Ties That Bind
Your First Real Rocket Ship
Even if I don’t win, it’s nice to know a story or poem are rising to the top. I’ll find out in the next month. But as I’ve found with honorable mentions or even winning, there are no guarantee of getting the piece published so it can work in reverse as well. The Rannu Fund competition has just opened to entries from March 1 to May 31. I’ll probably enter this again as I’ve been shortlisted, won second place and been judge. Now it’s time to win first place, should the gods and the judges (who might be the same) so decide.
And I have finally worked out the kinks and finished the story “Nightingale.” Now I need to shunt that into the feeding tubes of the submission engine and see what comes out.