Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
I have a near pathological fear of rejection. That is kind of strange because I am a writer. Maybe not so strange when you consider that I am unpublished writer. You can’t be rejected if you don’t send your work out, but then again neither can you get published.
Until you actually submit things you don’t know if you are any good or not. My friends and family say I am a good writer, but can you trust them? It isn’t that I think they are lying. They are just too close to me to be neutral on the subject. When my kids use to bring home their art from school. I would tell them it was wonderful. I wasn’t lying it was wonderful to me because I saw a piece them in it. At that moment those crayon drawings were more beautiful than any Picasso or Rembrandt. But still I wouldn’t pay to see an exhibit of them by someone I didn’t know.
But I decided that I just needed to put myself out there. And the PDX Cthulhu.Con Second Annual Micro-Fiction contest seemed as good a place as any to try. 500 words or less on anything Lovecraft like. (Let’s leave the debate to what is Lovecraftian to the good folks over at the HPL Historical Society)
Since I am more ‘the idea guy’ than the wordsmith, I figured I could do this all day. All I had to do was whip out vaguely gothic, vaguely creepy stories. The hard part is the 500 words part. My first two ideas although good weren’t easily reduced to 500 words. It is just easier to tell a story in 3000 words than 500.
Lovecraft is very hard to condense to 500 words. Horror writing has two parts the windup (back ground, setting the mood and creating protagonist you care if they live or die) and then the payoff (The big wham ending) In most cases HPL was about the windup more than the payoff. In Micro-fiction it is all about the wham ending no room for the wind up.
But finialy I found something I could (just barely) squeeze into 500 words. It centered on what was Lovecraft afraid of? (And no it wasn’t foreigners, well he was but that wasn’t what I wrote about.) I had a second idea but it was more generic horror than Lovecraftian, but in the end because of a formatting issue I only submitted one story,. I called The Horror Behind the Door.
Well it can’t be easy to run a convention so the announcement of the ten winners kept getting pushed back. Apparently there was an overabundance of really good stories to choose form. As time progressed I decided that the likelihood of me winning was pretty remote. So I comforted myself with the thought that at least I had something that I could post here. At 11:00 PM Monday night I read on Cthulhu Facebook that they’d have a finial cut announced within an hour. It wasn’t worth it to me to stay up.
The next day I am feeding the goats in the morning when I realize that I haven’t checked on the announcements. The Email from Arkham Bazaar, (Who was administering the contest) looked pretty generic. I had to read it three times to realize I had been selected not as a winner but as one of three honorable mentions.
Honestly I am not sure what this entails. I know that I get two copies of the chapter book that the contest winners, but I am not sure if my story will be included in it or not. (and I not going to embarrass myself by asking, I will just wait until a week from Saturday and find out when I pick my copy up. Maybe I will be presently surprised.) But even if I can’t put published author on my resume, Honorable Mention for the 2015 PDX Cthulhu.Con Micro Fiction Contest sounds pretty hotsy totsy for this Oregon goat farmer.
I am sure I still retain the rights to the story (I find that out Saturday too I guess.) So I will post it here on Dave’s Corner of the Universe in a few weeks.
But even if it I am not published in the chapter book there is something I wanted more, validation.