On NOT winning the Gigabyte challenge

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It is said that one learns more from one failure than from a thousand victories.

It was the first writer’s competition that I’ve entered, and frankly, I’d have been baffled to have won it. Not that I thought the story that did win was too terrible, it’s just, different than mine. Very different. Cute, it was cute. Mine was, well, not. It started with someone getting stabbed and ended with someone dying. Not cute at all.

At first I was taken aback. I believed in that story, I believed that it was good. I believed that it was a winner. But it didn’t win. Disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow, but not an unknown one. What did I expect?

Thinking about it now with a little distance, it is not surprising that it did not win. Even if I moved every one of the judges emotionally, the story simply did not fit the audience. They wanted Sci-Fi set in South Africa to be published in a Tech/Gaming magazine read by youngish tech minded people. I gave them dark Dystopian with Sci-Fi elements set in South Africa. Never mind that the story that did win was actually a subverted cutesy humorous take on the Paranormal Horror genre with zero Sci-Fi to be seen. The winner wrote something that the magazine’s audience would find enjoyable, and that was what the judges picked. Stupidly, I tried to go deep on a light entertainment platform. Cute and humor will win over super serious in that arena at all times.

What I learned was that I need to be cognizant of what story would best be matched with the publishing platform’s goals and expectations. If I could write a new story for that competition then I would take more time to get the lay of the land and match up my concepts with that knowledge.

I’m still looking for a home for that short story, and it could do with some expanding if I am granted a little more lenient word count, so I’m not looking to publish it online just yet.

On to the next writing competition!

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