Friday, October 15, 2010

The Two Percenter!

Pink Shoelaces, the YA short story I posted here in May placed in the top 2% of the 79th Annual Writer's Digest competition. The email I received had the subject of "congratulations" and this is what it said:

Dear Maria Buscher,

One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Writer’s Digest is passing along good news to writers. This is one of those fun occasions. It is my pleasure to tell you that your entry, Pink Shoelaces, has been awarded 21st place in Childrens/Young Adult Fiction category of the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. You will receive your Certificate of Achievement which honors your accomplishment in the near future. Finishing among the top 100 entries is an accomplishment you can be proud of. Your success in the face of such formidable competition speaks highly of your writing talent, and should be a source of great pride as you continue in your writing career.

All 1,001 winners will be listed at after the December issue is published. The Grand Prize manuscript, the First Place manuscript in each category, and the names of the top 100 winners in each category will be printed in a special competition collection. If you would like to order copies of the Competition Collection, please use the order form which will be included in the envelope with your certificate. The Competition Collections are scheduled to begin mailing in December.

I congratulate you again on your accomplishment, and wish you the best of luck in your future writing.

Jessica Strawser, Editor
Writer’s Digest

So at first I wasn't impressed to be in the top 100 (even at the 21st spot), and I think this is just the "first born" perfectionist that resides in me. However, upon closer inspection the top 100 is the top 10%, at 1,0001 WINNERS, not entries. I'm feeling pretty good about this now. So OK, 21st place: not too shabby. And I also like that it's a multiple of 7, but let's not go there now. That's one of my little quirks.

Here is a quick link to the story right here on my blog:

I wrote this story a few years ago, and pulled it out when I heard about the contest. In order to meet the word count, I trimmed it by about 1,500 words.

This is actually a very sad story, loosely based on a true story. About 8 years ago an 8th grader at a local middle school in our town hung herself in a bathroom stall from her shoelaces. At the time, my oldest son was a 7th grader at the same school. The school was under "lock down" when the principal found her and valiantly ran for help. Paramedics were summoned and the other kids were kept inside as they tried to revive her. I heard about the incident a day later as it made the local news.

As happens to often with writers, the story stayed with me and didn't full leave me until I spilled it out onto paper. Most of the story is entirely fictional, of course. By the way, some of the elements I originally had in my story were watered down (as in cut out) to meet the 2,000 word count limit.

I'd love to market this story and possibly sell it now that I have the rights back. Any ideas would be welcome.