Had some bad news in the mail yesterday. I received the results of a literary competition run by an Australian magazine. I had submitted three poems and three short stories. None was successful. [Update: That last sentence should read: “None were successful.” See comments for an explanation.] Same result as last year, but with a different set of poems and stories. Oh well, all it means is that the judges didn’t like what I wrote. Print them out and resubmit elsewhere is the usual advice at writers’ seminars and workshops.
The poetry judge actually made comments on every poem submitted. The only comment on one poem was “Inventive.” Mmmm, wonder what that means? Does it have some merit? Is it worth resubmitting elsewhere, or does it mean that the judge couldn’t understand it? The comment for the other two poems was “Attempt a rewrite”. Yes, I have done that over and over and over until they were both so different from the original draft that they were essentially new works.
Judging literary competitions must be a thankless task. I’ve never done it and I’m sure it is very hard. I’ll try not to be too despondent – and try again elsewhere. Trouble is, my hit rate has taken a battering in the last 2 years with far more rejections than acceptances. (My success rate is around 10%) You get that. Now on with the next project.
Trevor…you should try writing a novel! I’ve had mine into every publishing house in Australia at least twice, and all I get is this: “Very good, but not what we’re printing at the moment!” PLUS…they add that they only publish established authors, and, besides, I should have an agent! If I was published I could afford an agent!!! And, what do I write: sex and violence????? That seems to be what sells these days! Why should I compromise myself? I write humour! Regards, JOHN.
Hi there John,
Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. Yes – I know what you mean, having tried the same merry-go-round you seem to be on. It is most frustrating.
I still have three unpublished novels and a number of texts for children’s picture books in my files – plus a growing number of ideas for more books. I will get them finished sometime in the next year or so and I will continue to try to break into the difficult world of print publishing.
In the meantime I am getting a great deal of satisfaction from writing my three blogs. I know I am getting read by hundreds of people on a daily basis (over 100,000 visitors this year already). I am also beginning to see some small financial rewards from this writing. Like the number of readers, the income is steadily increasing every month.
It’s no wonder with grammar like this:
“Had some bad news in the mail yesterday. I received the results of a literary competition run by and Australian magazine. I had submitted three poems and three short stories. None was successful. ”
Overlooking the obvious typo “and” instead of “an” if your sentences are constructed like this “None was successful.” I’m not surprised. None were successful maybe??? English 101 I would have thought!
Thanks for pointing out the typo Ads. It has now been corrected.
As for the use of “none” I am a little red-faced. It is one of those words that so easily trips one up, especially with the pressure of trying to post an article on this blog every day. Still no excuse for sloppy writing.
For the pedants reading this, the indefinite pronoun “none” can be either singular or plural, depending on the context. I wrote “None (meaning not one) was successful.” However, I was writing about several items, so I should have written “None (meaning not any) were successful.”
I certainly hope “Ads” is not being just an armchair critic hiding behind a pseudonym; they’re a dime a dozen. At least I’m having a go, getting my writing out there in competitions, in magazines and on my blogs. I know I’m not perfect – just a keen writer having a go.