f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Christmas Story Contest – Some Thoughts

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, January 03, 2005

Christmas Story Contest – Some Thoughts

In the end, I think 43 or 44 of you submitted stories. I read them all.

Of these, I selected my favorite 10 and passed them on to Robin.

Robin, in between completely re-launching his website and celebrating Christmas, read them and between us we came up with an imprecise ranking of the stories. Robin posted the top 5. I posted the others.

That’s the nuts-and-bolts of how it went down.

Behind the scenes though there was a little more happening. Here’s a glimpse:

1. You can’t run a contest, no matter how casual, without it meaning quite a bit to those who entered. I forgot this a little. BUT, please know that no matter how casual the outward appearance, I did take the reading of your stories quite seriously.

2. In the end, subjectivity rules the day. We had 10 slots to fill. For me, there were 4 stories that I thought were exceptional. After that, there were many, many, many more that were very good to good. I had to choose 6. So I cut the good stories. That left the “very good” stories. Still more than 6.

3. At that point, I simply tried select across as broad a range of styles and approaches as I could. There were a number of biblical retellings, a number of domestic slice-of-life’s, a number of Christmas-gone-wrong stories. I tried to cull from among them those that seemed to achieve, most successfully, what they were aiming at.

4. I am not a science-fiction fan. Fantasy, yes. Science-fiction, no. I don’t know that I’ll be able to get beyond this.
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In the end, I was very glad with the results. The stories were fresh and engaging. It seems like people read them and also read those that you posted on your own sites. My main goal (besides having content to fill a week I’d be gone) was having you read and respond to writing. I think that’s been achieved. Which makes me think it’ll be worth doing again in the future.
What do you think?

And, finally, I’m interested in my own blind-spots as an editor. Was there a story (not your own!) that you all read and thought I was simply insane for not including in the Top 10? Email me. If there seems to be a general consensus on one story, then I’ll post it for all to enjoy.

I am, after all, the man who hated The Lovely Bones and The DaVinci Code. Popular opinion sometimes eludes me.