Two years ago, I wrote a story entitled, “The Women in the Club.” It was about the family of a man who committed a heinous crime. The story felt a bit edgier than what I normally write, but I believed the topic was worth talking about. My writing group loved it.
I began to send it out both as a regular submission and a contest entry. Every time it was rejected, I edited again to see if I could make it just a bit tighter, sharper, clearer.
Judging others is tricky business. Being viewed as judgmental is nearly always negative. Criticizing someone’s art or craft—even when that’s what you’re paid to do—can lead to some spicy battles. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns us, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-2 NIV)
Which are some of the reasons I was a bit nervous when I agreed to serve as a judge in a short story contest (which we’ll call “The Contest”).
I’ve been submitting stories to contests and publications for nearly four years. While I have had some small successes, the rejections far outnumber the acceptances. Continue reading →