Today's blog is part whining and part frustration. Several years ago, I entered a couple writing contests on the suggestion of my daughter. I received some recognition from both contests which spurred me on to continue writing. I knew nothing at the time, and those stories were unedited, first drafts. After I learned that you're not supposed to submit your writing that way, I figured if I polished the stories and had them edited, I would do better in future contests.
During the last couple of years, I've written a number of short stories, run them past two critique groups, posted online for feedback, and had them professionally edited. They've all been entered in contests and accomplished nothing. I tried different genres, including literary fiction, and still no luck.
I hadn't paid much attention to the winning entries before, but decided to read a few to see what I was missing. I couldn't believe what I found. Oh, they were obviously well written with flawless grammar and perfect punctuation, but the stories themselves were meaningless.
One story was about how this person made numerous bad decisions that ended up with him in serious trouble, and he blamed it all on someone he met in school. Another one was just filled with name dropping of famous people the writer had met. None of the stories held the least bit of interest for me. If these are the kind of stories the judges are looking for, then I won't bother entering anymore contests. I have better things to do than write meaningless stories in an attempt to win a contest.
My focus will be, and probably should have been all along, to write entertaining stories I enjoy writing and hopefully others will enjoy reading.
If you are interested in what I'm writing now, check out #saturdayscenes every Saturday on Google Plus and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading, and Happy Halloween!