Friday, 31 July 2009


So 2 months ago I entered a story, Blue Raincoat, into the Yeovil Literary Prize, which closed at the end of May. There was an online entry system and after the deadline you could actually check the status of your story by logging into your account (how cool).

I've checked it about once a week (how restrained) in the past month to see if there was any change from the 'Accepted, but not yet classified' status it achieved when I submitted it. There was no such change until today, when I happened to log in to see it 'Was not shortlisted'.


But please note, the 'bugger' is not too heavily attached to not getting shortlisted (although that would have been lovely).

You see, for a while I've had this year's Hay Short Story comp, with its given theme of 'Lost', on my list of potential places to sub to, and the deadline was today. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that Blue Raincoat would fit Hay's theme of 'Lost'. I didn't try to write it as a story about loss, but it is, so it might have been a subtle and maybe interesting take on their given theme. But it was out in Yeovil.

So, that 'bugger' feeling is more to do with the big faux-pas of entering writing prizes - thou shalt not sub simultaneously. It is not okay to send the same story to more than one place. Very rarely will you see 'simultaneous submissions okay' in the guidelines of a prize or a publication.

So usually it is either a rule breaking act or it's just frowned upon, and you'd be likely to piss off an editor or prize organiser if they contacted you to say your piece had been accepted/shortlisted and you had to 'pull it' because it had found a home somewhere else in the meantime.

And you'd be gutted if really you'd rather it have been placed in the place you'd be pulling it from.

So, I see simultaneous submissions are not just (often) against the rules of a competition but are also a pretty big gamble for the writer.

But, as I've said, I did think 'bugger' when today doubled as the 'Hay deadline day' and coincidentally the 'Yeovil finding out' day. A poetic bugger, at least. (I hope the word 'bugger' isn't offending anyone seeing as it's littered throughout this post... it's very British, nothing to do with bums.)


Miles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miles said...

Sorry, I posted the wrong thing! Um, yes, just wanted to say that it does indeed suck, that.

The big film festivals also have this dumb rule that if you've screened your film to so much as the neighbour's dog and its fleas, you've just invalidated your film for submission. Because they want 'exclusives'. Bloody rules.

Teresa Stenson said...

That probably made it tricky when you subbed the hum-drum films, then? Or maybe they went to littler festivals who weren't so strict.

Any plans to send Crime Fighters to festivals when it's finished?

Miles said...

We just lied with the hum-drum films! Although they were smaller festivals anyway.

With CrimeFighters we decided we had to have the premiere in York, I mean you understand... we have to! And after a short run there and hopefully otehr Picturehouses we'll try and get it into other cinemas around the country and invite lots of influential people to come to the screenings.

You know, farmers, travelling tinkers... and hopefully a few festivals will accept it, maybe some TV stations, and if all else fails it could become a smash hit DVD!

I'm tired now, I can't deal with the future... sleepy time.