Very pleased that "Day Three", my second-ever piece of flash fiction, came in second in Pulp Fiction's Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize. I don't know what the actual field I was up against was, but the contest is said to be limited to 300 entries, the longlist had 27 stories, the shortlist 10, so...even the second-best out of 50 or so would feel validating when we're talking a publication the quality of Pulp Literature.
I am particularly pleased because getting published in Pulp Literature was one of the five writing goals I set myself for this year. Getting X number of stories written for the year was goal one, of course, and two was to see if I could get something published/sold each month (so far, four out of six, but still time to catch up), and the third was to finish polishing the novel and approaching agents—I'm lined up for a session with an agent in three weeks—fourth was selling to Pulp Literature; and fifth was writing an article for University Affairs, which I'll probably get to as soon as I finish teaching for the year.
So, what writing goals have you set yourself for 2018?
The Hummingbird Contest was an exception to my general rule not to enter contests that charge admission fees, since some of those are scams and others are just too expensive for the odds of being the winner. I generally don't mind fees under $3 because I understand that small press magazines have to support contest costs somehow, but when it's $20 or $30 or $50 to enter, not so much 'support' as a tax on the egotistical and the desperate. But having fallen in love with Pulp Literature the moment I saw it (I mean, even just the covers—wow!) and having already gone through four single issues, I had gone to their webpage with the intention to buy a subscription when I saw the contest. The contest fee included (i.e., was for) an e-subscription, so two birds with one stone seemed like a plan to me. And now I'm $50 up on the deal. Pretty pleased how that turned out.
Looking forward to reading the winning story in Winter 2019. I know I have to up my game when it comes to flash fiction—I'm generally pretty verbose, with most of my short fiction coming in at the 6,000-10,000 wordmark, so need to focus more on short, sharp writing, which in turn will help me tighten the writing in my longer stories. Judge Bob Thurber said of the winning story: "The language of “The Angler” blisters like sunburn. The edges of this very short (under 600 words) story are prickly bright and they’ll leave blind spots on your eyes for days." Yeah, I need to learn how to do that.