Look at me, I’m a Finalist

I haven’t told you this yet, at least not by way of this blog, but I’m working on my second book. I’ve kept it under wraps because the concept is cool and I don’t want someone to steal the idea. The nice thing about writing CNF is that even if you tell people what your piece is about, no one can steal your raw material because everyone’s experience is so different. Weirdly, though, I’ve found that the more personal I write, the more people can relate to my experience–the unique is universal, it seems. In this case, however, the structure and format of the book are just as important as my memories.

Aside from my work on my second book, I’ve also been writing shorter pieces and submitting them places. I just found out last week that a piece of mine was accepted to Sleet, an online magazine, and a few weeks ago a friend sent me a link to the Vita.mn Summer Short Story Contest, which had a “Choose Your Own Adventure” theme this year. I chopped up a section of something I’d written, made it fit the page and CYOA requirements, and sent it off, not expecting it to get anywhere (and almost half-hoping it wouldn’t).

I’d forgotten about the piece until last Wednesday, when I got an email informing me I was a finalist. Whoo-hoo! My half-hopes that the piece would go nowhere turned into full-hopes that it would win the whole prize–publication AND $1,000–and/or the distinction of fan favorite–a $300 gift certificate to the Loft. And, of course, the title of fan favorite–who wouldn’t want that?

As a finalist, I was given the opportunity to read my piece (750 words total) on a rooftop in Minneapolis in front of friends, strangers, and strangers who became friends. All of yesterday I sat with a knot in my stomach waiting for the reading. I don’t normally get too nervous, having read in public enough times to feel comfortable, but for some reason this time had me jittery and nauseated. What if I flubbed my words? What if I threw up on stage? What if people hated it?

I didn’t flub my words. I didn’t throw up. And no one seemed to hate the piece, although there were people there who seemed a bit bored. The hostess of the evening, Heather McElhatton, wrote her own Choose Your Own Adventure novel, Pretty Little Mistakes, which I have not read but now have in my possession. Thankfully, I did not have to follow the “fluff” piece, but I did have to follow the only somber moment of the evening, when we toasted Vince Flynn and Robert Bly, both of whom passed away this year. I think it’s because my piece had “deadly” in the title, but I can’t be sure.

Anyway, I did not win fan favorite, but I did several fans there (thanks guys!), I did some networking, and I also got asked out, so all-in-all, a pretty good evening. Oh, and I found a nickel! So who won, you ask? As of the writing of this at 11 PM on Wednesday, I don’t know. They announce the winners today. But, as they say, it was an honor just to be nominated. You (and I) can find out the winners in today’s edition of Vita.mn! And look for a piece of mine in an upcoming issue of Sleet!


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About Sarah in Small Doses

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