We had a nice number of Dead of Winter entries: enough to be competitive but not so many as to be overwhelming. As has been my experience in the 15 years I’ve judged this contest, there were about ten entries left for rereading and, from those, I had three clear favorites. My favorite popped right into my top spot. That’s not to say it’s a guaranteed winner; Erin and I still need to collaborate.
Still frustrating: stories that don’t follow word count parameters, stories that arrive late, stories that aren’t horror stories (DOW is a horror story contest), stories that don’t use the theme, and stories that have the theme shoehorned in rather than written into the story. This happens every time. Sometimes a single entry checks off a couple of those boxes.
Invariably, this eliminates at least 25% of the entries. So if you stay within the word count parameters, use the genre, use the theme, and send it in time, you’re already in the top 75% of entries.
We had a whole heck of a lot of technical issues in the last couple of months. Now that those are fixed, we’ve been able to get the AMT contest judged and results posted, plus TCLJ 2015.3 is up. What it shows is how much work is behind a literary journal.
If we’ve promised contest results by a date and the date comes and goes, obviously something has happened. It’s not as if editors say, “Hey, let’s mess with these folks for a while.” Maybe an editor got sick or a life event happened. Maybe, as in this case, we had a technical glitch beyond our control. We do our best to let people know when we’re delayed and we always appreciate the patience displayed by authors. We’re also very lucky in the quality of work we get to read and I’ve found that behind quality work, there are quality people who understand that stuff happens.
We’re still catching up on articles, which shows just how far behind we got. But we’re out of the weeds, DOW is open, and we’re back on track.
I did my final reading early for TCLJ 2015.3 and I picked way too many pieces. It’s going to be hard to make an editor’s pick.
I found that there was a definite theme not just in what people submitted but in what appealed to me. The pieces I gravitated toward seemed to be about loss, promise, and time. So apparently that’s one way to get to me. I even had to give a “no” to pieces I liked. Overall, if everything I chose went in, it would be a beautifully-themed edition of the journal.
I’m eager to see what the other editors choose.