It took me ten years (on and off) to complete my first short story, The Mirror. The reasons why it took so long are covered in an audio interview I will be posting soon, but, let’s just say that, after putting so much effort into the story, I was eager to submit it to journals and contests.
The problem, however, was that my story, even after multiple revisions and strategic cuts, is 12,000 words. Most contests and journals are looking for something in the range of 6-8,000 words. While I considered cutting more aggressively in order to meet submission requirements, a dramatically shortened version just wouldn’t be true to the story. So I left it alone and submitted to just three journals and contests that accepted longer pieces. And that too was a bit half-heartedly, knowing my story was probably not what they were looking for. Then a friend turned me onto the inaugural ScreenCraft Short Story Contest.
Not only was ScreenCraft accepting longer stories, they were also looking for stories that had cinematic potential, which I felt applied to The Mirror because it’s so visual. Further, they had some top-notch judges on board (Valerie Cates, Executive Story Editor at Random House Films; Diana Ossana, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Brokeback Mountain, etc.) and finalists would gain some real advantages: story evaluation by literary and entertainment pros, connections to high-level literary agents, and, for the winner, a phone consultation with Diana Ossana.
Unfortunately, while I didn’t get the gold on this one, I was honored to have been selected as a quarter-finalist in the 2015 ScreenCraft Short Story Contest (see screenshot below). Considering the fact that there were over 1,000 submissions, I’d say not bad for a first attempt.