I had the pleasure of being chosen as the winner of the Readers of the Future contest this year, and it was a fantastic experience. I met some of the significant authors of my life. I learned from them and discovered the fundamental importance of this Contest and the anthology. It was an amazing experience that has changed me as a writer and given me a focus on my work that has been amazing.
Most people talk about the effect that this Contest has on the writers and illustrators that enter, but there’s more to it than just that. After my trip to Hollywood and the connections I made, I’ve discovered that this Contest should be a big deal for every fan of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Hopefully, below I’ll be able to explain this a little bit.
Writers and Illustrators of the Future hasn’t been a part of my writing career long, but this Contest has been more influential in it than I ever could have imagined. I’m sure many authors involved in this Contest have stories similar to mine, and I’ve heard it from other prominent published authors like Brandon Sanderson. I won’t go into details here, but I was struggling with my confidence as a writer and questioning if I should continue to share my work with the world. On my second story that I submitted to the Contest, I received an Honorable Mention, which gave me the confidence to keep going.
Short fiction has forced me to clean up my writing and define my style. It does matter if you prefer to write novels or if you love writing short fiction already, write it and submit it to this Contest. I love writing novels, but everything about my writing has improved beyond anything I could have done alone.
Beyond those benefits, winning or even being recognized for your story with an Honorable Mention or a Silver Honorable Mention moves you into a community that will support your writing career moving forward. The friendships and mentorships that have opened up from this amazing tight-knit community from just an Honorable Mention have helped shape me into a much better writer and have helped me evolve into a true author instead of a hobby writer.
With all of that said, you can tell how much I appreciate this Contest and the people involved.
To any writer or person considering taking up the pen to write, I’d suggest the same thing that several authors I consider my mentors did. Please go through the list of story ideas you have, find the ones that may not work for a novel, and write them. It will help you exercise your creative muscles and give you stories you can submit to this Contest. If you do, we may meet next year at the Gala as winners. At least, that’s the hope.
Tyler currently spends his days working in the IT and Cyber Security field and his nights at a laptop writing. Since he found the Writers of the Future Contest in 2022, he’s only missed one quarter while he was finishing his third published novel. He’s written both Fantasy and Science Fiction and has submitted stories in both genres for Writers of the Future. So far, he’s received an Honorable Mention for his story “Salvaging Heaven.” He currently lives in Springville, UT, and is an active member of both the League of Utah Writers and Wulf Moon’s Wolf Pack. With two more novels in various stages of editing and his short stories, he’s hard at work bringing the stories in his mind to life. Besides that, he spends his free time with his puppy Rex or painting his Warhammer army. Find out more about Tyler Tarter at www.tylertarter.com.