Failure. It sucks. No one likes to fail. But that's the nature of competing, isn't it? Someone has to win which means someone has to fail. Both teams can't take home the Super Bowl ring and only one candidate gets to be President. Someone always has to fail.
I recently participated in a short story contest. It was a Halloween themed contest. The stories were supposed to be scary and take a classic story or trope and give it a twist. I had a lot of fun with this idea. Here's what I came up with. A ghostly woman in white hitchhikes on the side of the road, waiting for her next victim. A man pulls over to pick her up, only for her to try and kill him. However, he's not what he appears either and the woman in white ends up becoming the hunted.
It was a classic story, woman in white, with a neat twist. I spent a lot of time writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, proof reading, and so on. Finally, I hit submit, crossed my fingers, and hoped to win. The winner would take home $75. Money I would have used towards expensive advertising costs. Of course, if you read the title of this post you already know if I won or not.
When they announced the winners, I was obviously let down. I really loved my idea. The character was awesome. The execution of the story was well received by the few people who proofed it for me. And reading the stories that did win, I felt even worse. None of them encapsulated the nature of the contest. None really followed the guidelines of the contest. I almost felt cheated. But something happened.
If you're hoping for some twist to this story where the judges changed their mind or announced they made some mistake and I was actually the winner, sorry to disappoint. And to be honest, I'm glad they didn't. Because I learned something more valuable than the minimal prize money. I learned self appreciation. The story and the character might not have been enough for the judges but it was certainly enough for me! I loved my idea so much that I decided to give the character his very own series. And when you break down writing, whether you write for fun, you're a traditionally published author, or self-published, you should write for yourself first and an audience second. If you loved the idea and the story, that's all that matters. Meaning, don't write what you think other people will like if it's not what you like. Don't write YA novels because you think they'll sell better. Don't write non-fiction because you think it'll be easier. Always write what you love, no matter what. You like writing horror? Do it! You love writing fantasy? Do it! Your first book isn't selling well? Write another!
If you would like to read the story that I'm so proud of, there's a couple of options for you. You can head over to Patreon.com/EvanBond and become a patron. It's available exclusively for Patreon supporters for now. Or, you can wait an indeterminate amount of time for my short story collection book to come out. That's right, I will be piecing together some of my favorite short stories that I've written over the years as well as some new ones. I'll slap them together in a book and make it available. However, I don't have a release date for that yet as it's just in the planning stages. I need far more short stories in order to make it. So, you could be waiting a really long time. Why not just head over to Patreon now to read it? But, whatever you end up doing, I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something from it. Until next time, keep wandering. Just not alone.
I am a self-published horror/thriller author. I love reading, writing, and taking long walks through scary parts of the forest. I'm learning new tricks everyday to become a better author and occasionally will share those tips with you. Otherwise, you can read book reviews, info about my writing, and personal stories about my adventures in nature.