Glad to be rid of the muck - thoughts on the Flash Fiction 40 contest

Well, what shall I say about it? After reading some of the very good stories there, I'm not surprised I didn't win. I'm disappointed that I didn't place, but not terribly surprised at that, either. The scores were going against me, and while that was not the determining factor, I think it was probably a decent indicator of what holds appeal to the current readership.

Heh, listen to me. I used the phrase "current readership".

Anyway, I've been rather surprised at how deeply invested some of the EU folks got. They were just so very anxious about the outcome! Also, there was lots of bitterness, anger, snarkiness that kept popping up. It was more a case of a few individuals being unpleasant and whiny than a case of a groundswell of popular revolt.

Why am I so relaxed about this? First, I'd written my entry prior to the contest, and entered it on a lark. I didn't write a piece especially for the contest in which I could have invested more energy and hope. I edited my 1017 word piece down to 999 words. In general, recycled pieces will command less of our hearts. The first flush of pride at them becomes dulled as they get reworked for one purpose or another.

Secondly, that particular piece was originally intended as a bit of cathartic therapy. Writing it was like cleaning out the greasetrap of my soul and making a little sculpture out of the accumulated filth. I felt a lot better after I wrote it, and was content to toss it into the midden. However, in putting it up in the EU contest, it gave me the chance to see if anyone else would see the emotion I poured into it, would recognize what that piece meant to me, and how hard I had to work to get it out of my system.

The answer is either that the emotion wasn't apparent or that it *was* apparent but was disagreeable. Actually, it's far more probable that the emotion had nothing to do with it, and there were just problems with the plot, character, setting, etc., etc.

Regardless, I'm going to let it all go. I never really intended that piece for publication or distribution any wider than this blog. Over on EU, I had 50+ people read it and vote on it. Their collective assessment was that it was OK - not great, but not terrible, either.

Right now, at this stage of the game, I can live with that.

Besides, the big win for me is in my introduction to a community of writers over at EU. They seem like a decent bunch, and I look forward to becoming more a part of the place.

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