Tag Archives: Barbara Gordon

Writing: Rannu Competition and Update

I’m working away on several things and of course we’ve hit the busy social season, but I’m hoping to get my cyber-feypunk novel rewritten before the end of the year. Which means my steampunk story, all but laid out in my mind, is on hold until this is out of the way.

I’m still reading slush for CZP but it’s slowed down with all the other stuff. I still have about ten submissions to get through and have requested the full manuscript from one person. I’ve also forwarded about three on to Sandra and Brett. There are several readers for the manuscripts so it’s hard to say how many submissions we have at once or how many are forwarded, unless you’re Sandra.

And today it’s been confirmed that Steve Vernon and I will be judges for the poetry end of the Rannu competition. We are both horror/dark fiction writers, in one of our guises and live on opposite coasts. We are of course not the only writers in Canada of that ilk. And the poems entered do not need to be dark fiction/horror; they just have to be speculative. Steve won last year’s poetry competition and I was one of two runners up.

Barbara Gordon and Francine Lewis will be the judges for the prose competition.Barbara won last year’s competition and Francine was one of two runners up in both categories. The competition gives a $500 first prize in each category, open to anyone in any country and the deadline is January 15, 2011. Full information and the past two years’ winners can be seen here: http://rannu.webs.com/ The award was created by Sandra Kasturi of Chizine.

I’ve not been a judge before; just a writer, competitor, copyeditor, editor so this will be fun and something new. I have no idea how many poems we’ll have to judge but I suspect we’ll be busy. Editing poetry is quite a different pony from editing prose. Whereas you can start with the basics of grammar for prose, it doesn’t necessarily hold true for a poem that can have a different style from the next one. Grammar doesn’t work the same way if at all. But some hints on how to write good poems is to stay away from cliche images and sayings. Things like sunsets, moons and suns have been described so many ways that making them unique becomes harder. Also these days rhyming poems aren’t really in fashion. I wouldn’t dismiss a poem for it rhyming, but there are few people who can do it really well. It better not be trite and simplistic. Google Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” for an example of simplistic and bad.

If a poem is using specific imagery, then that image/simile should follow through or be completed, not left hanging to go on to another image. Sandra’s amusing and acerbic guidelines for Chizine can apply to any poem. I’m copying the relevant parts here:

  1. Note on Goth poems. BEFORE YOU SUBMIT, go to the Goth-o-Matic Poetry Generator and create a poem:
    http://www.deadlounge.com/poetry/poems.html
    If the poem you want to send me even remotely resembles the one you just created with the Generator, DO NOT submit your own poem.
  2. Unless you have had poems published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly or a similar calibre of magazine, DO NOT SUBMIT:
    1. formal verse of any kind whatsoever
    2. vampire poetry
    3. any poem with the word “blood” in it
    4. any poem with the word “womb” in it
    5. anything remotely related to J.R.R. Tolkien
    6. any werewolf poem. We know you think your werewolf poems are good. We don’t. We’re tired of the howling and the biting. You give us mange.
    7. any poem entitled “Underworld.” The movies weren’t THAT awesome. Also, it’s the name of the knicker factory on Coronation Street, so it elicits immediate snickers from the editors.

A poem should say something new, in a unique way. It shouldn’t be a story. That’s what prose is for. A poem should be succinct with strong imagery, atmosphere or feeling. It shouldn’t all be angst or broken hearts. God forbid that’s what we get. Judges are people so there will be things we prefer or don’t prefer but I’m pretty good in separating my personal opinion from judging something on the strength of execution and style. If I wasn’t judging I’d be entering again. We’ll be blind judging so there is no chance of favoritism.

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Writing: News & The Rannu Competition

I’ve finally received my issue of Evolve and the reviews continue to roll in. It’s interesting how reviewers pick different favorites. I’m not mentioned in one but I am in the other and my story continues to intrigue and disturb, as I intended. Overall, it’s getting good reviews. Following are two more reviews.

http://roverarts.com/2010/05/stretching-the-vampiric-envelope/

However, there are also some stories that will stand out and sparkle, that come across as an exceptionally new take on what some think is rapidly becoming an over-plowed field.

Among these is Claude Lalumière’s “All You Can Eat, All The Time,” his female-narrated first-person take on vampirism as an extension of the hyperactive, quick-to-burn, fear-of-growing-old generation being spawned at this very moment. In “An Ember Amongst The Fallen,” Colleen Anderson gives the reader an all-too-visual/tactile glimpse at a world where humans are used as cattle for food and blood – and the results when the metaphoric apartheid barriers are crossed.

http://www.sfsite.com/05b/ev320.htm

As well, my poem “Of the Corn” is about to come out in Witches & Pagans. The poem was lost for about two years due to computer crashes and restructuring of the magazine. I have “Secrets of Trees” about to come out in Pinecone. It likewise was stuck in a two-year limbo.

Once again I entered the Rannu competition, in fiction and poetry. Last year one of my stories made it onto one of the judges’ shortlists. Again, this year, my story (unpublished at this point) “Freedom’s Just Another Word” made it again onto at least one judge’s shortlist. I didn’t win but that’s still not bad. And one of my poems, “A Good Catch,” bout a modern-day mermaid, did get an honorable mention. This comes with a small cash prize and I’m quite pleased by that.

Competitions are even harder than magazines to get into. Whereas you may be competing for several spots in a magazine, this repeats monthly or quarterly. A competition has only one spot (and up to three often) and everyone is competing for that one spot. Like the Olympics and getting Silver or Bronze, I’m happy with the honorable mention.

I know the winners of the fiction and poetry prize and they are both excellent writers.  I recommend finding their work. I believe the winning entries may be printed in the future on the CZP site but I’m not quite sure.

Fiction Winner:
“Foretold” by Barbara Gordon

Fiction Honourable Mentions:
“Little Escher” by Robert Borski
“A Swarm of Shadows” by Francine Lewis

Fiction Judges: Don Bassingthwaite, Nick Stokes, Sandra Kasturi

Poetry Winner:
“Barren – A Chronicle in Futility” by Steve Vernon

Poetry Honourable Mentions:
“A Good Catch” by Colleen Anderson
“Manifesting Universes” by Francine Lewis

Poetry Judges: Gemma Files, Helen Marshall, Sandra Kasturi

We would also like to note the entries that made it onto one or more judges’ shortlists:

Fiction:

“Freedom’s Just Another Word” by Colleen Anderson
“Water of Life” by F.J. Bergmann
“Bat Story” by Michael Colangelo
“Book of Kishon” by Ivan Faute
“Gentle Awakening” by Maybelle Leung
“The Official” by Eric Sandler
“Simulove Industries, Model #69” by Myna Wallin

Poetry:
“Nephology” by F.J. Bergmann
“Overtures” by F.J. Bergmann
“Polterguest” by Robert Borski
“Yeti-Nessie: A Cryptid Love Story” by Robert Borski
“Persephone Depressed” by Adrienne J. Odasso
“For the Reverend Adelir Anton de Carli” by Matt Schumacher
“From a Little-Known Collection Entitled ‘Legends of Spiders & Water'” by Matt Schumacher

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