SALT announced their shortlist for the Scott Prize this week and my collection didn't make it.
Before the announcement I had conflicting feelings about it (and this isn't like a 'I didn't want to win it anyway' kind of sulk), more about the collection itself - which I knew, deep down, had a couple of stories in that I wouldn't have included if I'd had free reign with the word count. If it didn't have to be be 30,000 words, I would have cut one or two or three stories. And the idea of having a body of work published in which there were some weak links wasn't a good one. I've maybe moved on or outgrown some of the material already, and I can see that more objectively a few months on from finishing the process of putting it together.
I'm still, of course, happy that I did it, it generated some new stories and it proved I can get a lot more done than I think I can most of the time. I'm seeing it as a warm-up.
And, the thing now, the good thing now, is that many of the unpublished stories from the anthology, some of which are complete and ready, some which need some editing, have been unlocked. This is a really great feeling and it resulted in a good day of writing yesterday. Almost an ideal one - you know if at the start of a writing day you had to say what you'd ideally get done that day? It was pretty close for me. I edited 4 stories, subbed 1, and started something new. And left the house several times and cooked a great dinner. (Sort of like Burritos with loads of fresh onion, tomatoes and parsley.)
So -- all is good. I had found myself waiting around a little these past few weeks, knowing I had deadlines I wanted to make in March and not knowing if I could use any of the material in the anthology yet.
I will probably enter the Scott Prize again this year. It will be a different process, a longer-haul one, one in which I feel for each story in there, I'll be more ambitious in my scope, and will have to feel a proper connection to everything I include.
Seriously well done to all the shortlisters - what a great place to be. I'm looking forward to reading the winning collection, and hope the runners-up find publication too.