What am I currently working on? I’m currently working on—
Well, actually, I’m not at liberty to say. My entire focus right now is on winning the Writers of the Future (WotF) contest, and the contest depends on blind judging. Which means discussing works in progress destined for the contest could disqualify me. If a judge can somehow link the author to the work, the author is automatically disqualified. This includes blogs and forums. And I am nothing if not a consummate rule follower. Although, in this case, I’m more than happy to follow the rules so I can win.
I’ve been entering the contest since September, 2012 (in WotF speak, Volume 29 Quarter 4) and have earned two honorable mentions in two of the three quarters I’ve entered. Honorable mentions are basically a nice rejection. All you can really discern from an honorable mention is that the coordinating judge actually read your story–which is all I really wanted the first time I entered. The contest gets thousands of entries (allegedly, the actual amount is a closely guarded secret–I have no idea why) so the coordinating judge realistically doesn’t have time to read all the entries. If you do the math … let’s do the math (I am a scientist after all).
Assumptions: 1,000 entries, the judge reads 300 words per minute, an average story is 5,000 words. This gives us on average approximately 16.5 minutes per story. At a 1,000 entries that’s approximately 278 hours. Assuming a 40 hour a week job, that’s about 7 weeks of non-stop reading, not counting any seconds to actually think about the story, sort through entries, rub his eyes, etc.
What does this tell us? The judge doesn’t read all the entries: there isn’t time. The coordinating judge, Dave Wolverton, is very active in the writing community: blogging and teaching, as well as prolific in writing. There just physically isn’t enough time.
So, the fact that he read the whole story is (or was) a big deal to me to the first time around. I had spent hundreds of hours on that story, from writing to revising to workshopping. A rejection would have had me seriously doing a cost/benefit analysis of time spent. But I love writing, so it would have probably put me in a down-spiral But the hard work paid off, and now I’m more determined than ever.
I’ve already written a story for the current quarter and have planned my next two entries. I’m determined to win, which means in the meantime, I won’t be blogging about current stories I’m working on. But there’s plenty of other stuff to write about.