The Contest

Slice of Life2When I was about ten, I entered a writing contest in a children’s magazine. The task was to write a story ending. All I remember was that the story was about some kids who went to school one day and found that it was closed. I was sure I had the “right” answer. What else could it be but that they forgot it was Saturday?

When the issue with the winning entries arrived I raced to the door as soon as I heard the mailman, then practically ripped the pages of the magazine getting to the right section. I quickly scanned the names…then checked again…and again. Mine was not there, and a feeling of deep disappointment fell over me. I was sure I was “right.” Then I started to read. Some of the entries were realistic, but some were pure fantasy. I remember one in particular that explained the reason for school being closed was that it was National Worm Day (explained to the kids by a worm, of course). I clearly remember not understanding why that was considered a better story ending than mine. Creativity was obviously something I had not yet learned to appreciate.

I think I’ve come a long way as a writer since then, but rejection is still hard to take. Because I’m trying to stretch myself as a writer, I decided to enter a holiday story contest a few weeks ago – a story of 250 words or less that had to include a holiday surprise. I struggled a bit, then finally got an idea, wrote what I thought was a fairly good story, then mustered up the courage to send it The feedback I got on it was enough to make me hopeful, although I tried to convince myself that being named one of ten finalists in a field of about a hundred entries was a long shot.

So, last week, I was that little girl of ten again, except that this time my email brought the news. I knew it was coming and kept checking all day, then finally just before I was about to go to bed there it was. I quickly scanned through the finalists…then again…and again. Mine was not there. Oh, well, I thought. It was a good reminder that writing is full of ups and downs, failures and successes. We just have to keep going.

Then this morning I learned that my story received an Honorable Mention for Great Kid Appeal! Yea! I truly am humbled and ecstatic, because that’s what I want to do – write stories with great kid appeal. And that little girl of ten? I think she finally gets it.

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10 Responses to The Contest

  1. arjeha says:

    Congratulations, Rose. I can’t think of an award a story can have that is better than being honored as one having Great Kid Appeal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mukhamani says:

    Congratulations and it is such a joy if children enjoy stories 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adrienne says:

    Congratulations…it definitely has kid (and adult) appeal!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. elsie says:

    No matter how old we are, there is still a rush of excitement in the anticipation of the announcement. I know kids would love this story as a picture book. Maybe someday? Congratulations on the Honorable Mention! Happy holidays Rose!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. franmcveigh says:

    Rose,
    Love “Kid Appeal”. There are days when “Made it to an End” seems appropriate or even “Effort, Effort, Effort! would be the category. So interesting that we love to win and are ever hopeful! That anticipation is also a great part of our work!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lynnedorfman says:

    Fabulous, Rose! I loved reading this piece, especially hearing your story received kudos for great kid appeal. What else can we hope for as writers of children’s stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mbhmaine says:

    Congratulations, Rose! What a great accomplishment. I’m sure kids would love your story and enjoy thinking of other mistakes St. Nick might have made!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jarhartz says:

    Loved your story (congratulations!) and the visit to your past! It is inspirational to read the ups and downs of a writer’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cvarsalona says:

    How imaginative, Rose. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats, Rose! I love how you connected your past and present in this piece and showed your own aspirations and disappointments as a writer. And, all the years in between you’ve developed into a successful writer – contest winner, honorable mention winner, or not. A winner because you have stayed with it and actually got what you wanted – being “a writer’ with great kid appeal. Kudos to you!

    Liked by 2 people

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