100,000 words down, 100,000 to go

I've been reading and voting in the FlashFiction40 competition. So far, I've read about half of the stories. At ~1000 per, that means I've read and evaluated 100K.

No wonder agents and editors reject so many, and so easily. I'm trying to limit myself to reading no more than 15 or so at a time, but even so, I'm getting impatient with mediocre or even poor writing. I can easily see how wading through a slush pile means 15% "maybe", 60% "no", 30% "hell no!", and 5% "yes!" (at most).

Unless somebody threw in a piece of junk as a lark, each of these represent a story that the author really thought was pretty good. So many of them don't strike me that way. When I hit one that makes me stop and savor the writing, I feel like I've hit a root beer barrel in a pile of anise candies.

Full disclosure: with 41 reviews, my story is ranked at a 2.7 at the moment. That's "average", guys, but only if you give me the option of rounding up. Not "good", not "excellent", or "heartbreaking, profound, moving, insightful, tremendous, sharp, etc., etc."

"Almost average." Ah, well. Opening yourself up for public judgment requires a thick skin. Reading and considering all of the different styles of writing in the flash format has been educational, to say the least.

Does anyone else have a dog in this fight? Care to share any thoughts about it?


  1. Yep, I have a dog in the fight ... and, like you, hovering just below average. Some of the stories are outstanding; some of them are dreadful. I'm about halfway through the reading and wonder if I'll manage to catch them all between other obligations.

    I have tried not to think that some folks are deliberately sandbagging other contestants, but it has occurred to me when I see some truly outstanding writing ranked so low. :-/

    This is only the second contest that I have entered, and it has been an interesting experience -- almost, but not quite, in the Chinese sense of the word.

  2. It certainly has been an eye opener, hasn't it. Fascinating, on more than one level. Read and rate as honestly as one can is the only thing to do.

  3. Part of why it's been interesting has been the transparency. More in the next blog post.


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