I received the form rejection email for the story I submitted to Write Michigan today. It was folly to think that the first story I ever sent in anywhere had a snowball’s chance in hell, but it was still disappointing.
What took courage for me was to go to the website and look at the top 10 stories that are the finalists and will be up for public voting for a short bit. I wanted to read what I lost to. I only got through the first story when I said to myself this is masochism. I’m sorry I read the first one.
You see, what has the #1 spot is a story about a mother murdering her child because the child didn’t live up to her expectations. Now I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe that’s what makes a story a winner: something so evil and horrific that it haunts the reader?
One part of me wonders about resenting the writer whose story was chosen over mine, where another part knows it is about the content that caused revulsion. I read stories all day long on Word Press, so I feel comfortable knowing quality writing when I see it. This story wasn’t quality. It was more like, what is the most revolting, objectionable act a human being could do? Answer: Willful murdering of a child – and beyond (I don’t want to say what happens next.)
Sorry, but if that’s what it takes to win, I don’t want any part of it.
Update on 2/5/20. The story that haunted me (described above) won first place in the judges’ eyes. List of winners found here but titles only. Not sure if you can access them now unless you buy the anthology. I’m about to fill out a survey they sent asking for feedback. Not sure if I’ll skip it or tell them my thoughts.