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New Year's resolution

The Future of Short Stories: A New Year’s Resolution

Writers of the Future is a contest built upon short stories, inspired by the days of pulp fiction, where short was de rigueur, whether science fiction short stories or fantasy short stories.

So we want to help you start off the New Year by keeping with the original goal for Writers of the Future as stated by L. Ron Hubbard when he launched the Contest in 1983, to “provide a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.”

What better way to make a New Year’s resolution than to ask some of the top names in publishing their thoughts on the future of short stories. Allow them to help you reaffirm your goal to be a published author of fantasy short stories or science fiction short stories!

Bill Fawcett

Bill Fawcett“I see short fiction and media merging with cut scenes and videos weaved into eBook formatted stories and audio read stories … Multifiction format.”

Bill Fawcett, an American editor, anthologist, game designer, book packager, fiction writer, and historian.


David Farland

David Farland“The future for short fiction has never been brighter. With a plethora of new online magazines, it’s now cheaper to produce and distribute great short fiction than ever before, and so I see a burgeoning market over the next decade or two!”

David Farland, an international bestselling author, a writing instructor, and the Coordinating Judge for Writers of the Future.


Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick“The short story, as has been shown over the past couple of centuries, can be as powerful as the novel. It’s quicker to write, easier and cheaper to publish, takes less of a time commitment on the part of the reader (and usually, though not always, the author), and there’s no question that it’s here to stay. I would guesstimate that there are more short stories in print from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s than there are novels in print from that same time period.”

Mike Resnick, has sold 69 science fiction novels and more than 250 short stories and edited 40 anthologies, and is Editor of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine.


Jody Lynn Nye

Jody Lynn Nye“With a single plot and a world drawn with rapid strokes, short fiction has a flexibility that long fiction does not. Readers can have the pleasure of downloading a piece to enjoy with their lunch, during a commute, or just standing in line. Writers have been experimenting with the explosion in social media and new technology to get their work into the hands of more readers than ever before. We’re already seeing short stories being posted on websites, transmitted over Twitter, or downloaded on cell phones (especially in Japan), in both text and audio formats. Every advance in communication is an opportunity for writers to offer their ideas, their characters, their worlds to readers. Short stories are those bite-sized pieces ready for those eager consumers.”

Jody Lynn Nye, the author or co-author of approximately 40 published novels and more than 100 short stories.


Dean Wesley Smith

Dean Wesley Smith“I think in this new world of indie publishing, short fiction will play a major part in a lot of different areas, from increased cash flow to promotions to discoverability of a writer’s work. In essence, I think any writer working into the future must know short fiction and make it a regular part of their writing.”

Dean Wesley Smith, has published almost 200 novels in 40 years, and hundreds and hundreds of short stories across many genres.


Nancy Kress

Nancy Kress“In science fiction, short fiction has gotten increasingly sophisticated and literary, and as a new generation writes, its social concerns will be reflected in fiction’s themes, as has always been true.”

Nancy Kress, bestselling author of 26 novels and four collections of short stories.


Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card“The investment a writer makes in a novel is staggering. For months or years of their lives, writers concentrate on a single story, usually a complex one, with many threads. Living inside that world, it becomes familiar and, when the books emerge, they are self-consistent exactly to the degree that the writers disciplined themselves to stay within the bounds of that fictional reality.

“In short fiction, however, the investment of time is far less burdensome. The writers have room to play, to explore. If they come upon an idea that contradicts what they said earlier, it’s a simple thing to go back and revise in order to fit in the new idea—because they will be revising here and there among 20 pages, not 200 or 1,000.

“Creativity, not consistency, is the river that spawns short fiction. Short fiction can make nonce rivulets that flow where there has been no stream before. It is in short fiction that genres are defined and redefined, banks and boundaries oversplashed and, in some cases, eroded away, to move the community of writers and readers into new channels and new possibilities.

“No television show can ever take the place of short narrative fiction, because the huge budgets required even for the cheapest storytelling podcast or vlog, compared to the cost of purveying short fiction, make it commercially impossible to create screen stories that do not meet audience expectations and follow the tropes and obey the parameters of existing genres.

“Even though television and its stepchildren on other screens have largely replaced short fiction in the attention of the vast public, there remains a select audience that recognizes that in the text of short fictional narratives, the best writers are carving out new territory. It won’t be ready for television for decades, in all likelihood—yet through that select audience, the influence of the short fiction will spread, opening the minds of the wider audience until they are ready to receive the new worlds and ways invented and discovered by the writers of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.”

Orson Scott Card, international bestselling author (Ender’s Game) and publisher of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show


As we enter 2019, the future of short stories, whether science fiction short stories or fantasy short stories, looks brighter than ever. So if your dream is to be a published writer, then heed what these top authors above have said and avail yourself the opportunity provided by the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Make your New Year’s resolution. Enter the Contest. And allow your creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.

 

 

"One of Our Robots Is Missing" painted by Bob Eggleton

How Bob Eggleton Created the Cover Art for Writers of the Future Volume 35

The cover for L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35 is not one, but two paintings by world-renowned artist Bob Eggleton.

We found a piece of art that Bob had painted years ago which had never been on a book cover. The painting itself is a perfect example of the power of illustration and one we really wanted to use for the book cover. But, there wasn’t enough art to be able to wrap around a book.

Super 7 Robot by Bob Eggleton

Original artwork “Super 7 Robot” painted by Bob Eggleton.

WOTF 35 cover sketch

Working together with Bob, we sketched out how his art could be transformed into a cover for Writers of the Future.

Detail of sky and clouds

Based on this sketch, Bob painted a second piece of art to be combined with the original.


Detail of water and waves

Detail had to be given to match the waves and sky to the original art while expanding the dimension of the overall painting.

The two paintings are merged

The two paintings combined provided sufficient art to wrap around the entire Writers of the Future book.

"One of Our Robots Is Missing" painted by Bob Eggleton

Finally, we matched the colors to make it a seamless combining of the two images. The result is the painting “One of Our Robots Is Missing” by Bob Eggleton.


Bob said, “It was fun to revisit a painting I did 12 years ago and expand on it. It was a wonderful job melding two paintings together to make a wholly new one.”

And with this final art, we are able to reveal the cover for L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35.

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35


Bob Eggleton

Bob Eggleton was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1960 and became interested in science fiction art at an early age. Today he is a successful science fiction, fantasy, and landscape artist.

Winner of seven Hugo Awards and eleven Chesley Awards, his art can be seen on the covers of numerous magazines, professional publications, and books in the world of science fiction, fantasy, and horror across the world including several volumes of his own work. He has also worked as a conceptual illustrator for movies and thrill rides.

Of late, Eggleton has focused more on private commissions and self-commissioned work. He is an elected Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists and is a Fellow of the New England Science Fiction Association.

He has been an Illustrators of the Future judge since 1988 when the Contest first started.

Walter Dinjos

“View from a Hill”

by Martin L. Shoemaker

A tall, strong, young man stood on the crest of a hill, looking out over the green-brown plain below. A slight breeze ruffled the collar of his dark blue shirt. The air bore the sweet scent of the Maringa trees behind him and the musical chattering of the dabchicks in the ponds. The sun warmed his head through his short, curly locks. He held a long, straight, roughly shaped staff. But he did not lean upon it. He stood strong.

A short, gnarled old woman, old as the land itself, emerged from the trees and stood next to him. She also stood unbowed, and she gave the impression that she was larger than him in a way that the eye could not see. “You are audacious,” she said, “to bear a stick to meet me.”

He shook his head. “It is not a stick, it is a scepter.”

“I am the Woman of the Wood,” she answered. “I know this stick. I can name the tree from which it broke, and the stories of that tree, and of the seed from which it grew, and of the tree which dropped those seeds. Your eyes lie to you. It is a stick.”

“I do not see with my eyes, old mother, but with my spirit. As you have taught me. And my spirit knows that this is a scepter, and it marks me as king of all that I see.”

The woman chuckled softly as they looked out over the plain, with its stagnant ponds, sparse grasses, clumps of withered trees, and goats idly grazing. “And what do you see, O king?”

The young man shielded his eyes and looked out where she did. “I see rich fields where our people will someday grow sweet berries and yams and rice. We will plant vast crops to feed ourselves, and more. We shall feed a hungry world.”

She shook her head. “Once these lands were enough to feed our people, so they did not ask for food from others. Your spirit sees the past, before the wasters and the troubles, not the future. These lands were rich once.”

“And they shall be again! We bear burdens, but we do not sink beneath them. Someday we shall be rid of those who threaten the people and the land. We shall not break, we shall grow.”

“All I see is struggling grasses and goats wandering among them. And dirty little children,” she added, though she smiled when she did. “Children all around the field, if you know where they play.”

“And not just in the field,” the man answered. He glanced over his shoulder where bushes rustled, and he heard one small child’s voice gasp, while another giggled.

“They are brave, but foolish to approach me.”

“As was I,” the man answered. “Brave. Foolish. Burning with a hunger that food could not fill. I had to know. I had to know your ways.”

“And so it is with these? They come to learn of the Woman of the Wood?” Her eyes grew moist. “They still know of me?”

“No. They do not see you. Not yet.”

“I know,” she said, and a tear ran down the furrows of her face. “They do not know me anymore.”

“They will! It’s my turn now. I will teach them. They will know you, and they will know this future. That is what draws them today.” He lifted the stick and grasped it by the end. “They come to hear tales of my star sword!”

That turned the old woman’s frown into a smile. “I thought it was a scepter.”

“It is a star sword, won on the field of battle! You see?” He gestured across the plain with the stick. “Out there, beyond our rich fields, is the spaceport! There we shall build our own space program, with our own strong hands and our own bright minds. There we shall build rockets that shall take Nigerians to other planets. To the Moon and to Mars. To the stars!”

The woman’s dark lips parted, her mouth gaping. Finally, she said, “You’ve given me a gift. Now I know that even I, Oldest, can still wish. I wish that I could see that.”

“You will,” the man said. “My spirit sees it. We will go places that can only be seen in the imagination today; and wherever we go, we will take your stories. We will take you with us. I will tell your stories.”

“No,” the woman said softly. “I’m sorry. Not you.”

He turned to her. “So soon?” She nodded. “But I have so much to do. So many stories to tell. My children must learn. They must have this future.”

“You’ve made me believe, king of the world. They will. But you? Your spirit shall be freed to go many places, worlds even I have never imagined. And that journey starts today.”

The Woman of the Wood loomed tall over the man, her true majesty revealed at last as she reached out a hand and gently cupped his shoulder. He collapsed against her, strong until the final moment. And then he faded on the wind until all that remained was spirit, which she clasped to her breast.

And then she too was gone, and the old stick clattered to the ground, the only sign that the tall man had ever stood there.

The bushes rustled once more. After several minutes, the bravest of the two little boys came forward, looking around the hill and out over the plains. In the distance, he saw the silver towers of the spaceport. He picked up the stick. As a rocket blazed into the sky, the boy held up the sword and pointed it to the stars.


Emeka Walter Dinjos, 7 Dec 1984 – 12 Dec 2018

You saw far, but too briefly.


Walter Dinjos introducing himself as a Writers of the Future winner.

Walter Dinjos acceptance speech shown at the Writers of the Future Volume 33 awards event.

Walter Dinjos award-winning story “The Woodcutters Deity” was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33.

 


Martin L. ShoemakerMartin L. Shoemaker is a programmer who writes on the side… or maybe it’s the other way around. Programming pays the bills, but a second place story in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest earned him lunch with Buzz Aldrin. Programming never did that!

Martin’s work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Galaxy’s Edge, Digital Science Fiction, Forever Magazine, Humanity 2.0, The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 4, Writers of the Future Volume 31, Time Travel Tales, Trajectories, Little Green Men: Attack!, The Glass Parachute, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection.

Martin had become very good friends with Walter and so originated this tribute.

Illustrators of the Future 4th Quarter Winners

Illustrators of the Future 4th Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 35

This illustration contest list is the place to be!

 

And the winners are:

Aliya Chen from California
Qianjiao Ma from California
Alice Wang from Washington

 


Finalists:

Ivan Garcia from Mexico
Gillian Griffiths from Colorado
Ashly Lovett from Louisiana
Yo Mutsu from Japan
Richard Romare from the Philippines

Semi-Finalists:

Victoria Campbell from Minnesota
Allison Chen from California
Consuelo Higdon from California
Sang Eun Lee from California
Bojan Milojevic from Serbia
Crystal Modeste from Florida
Sarah Moore from Tennessee
Melissa Posner from New York
Aaron Radney from Missouri
April Robinson from Arkansas
Andy Rogers from Alaska
Michelle Vigeant from Massachusetts
Jabari Weathers from Maryland

Honorable Mentions:

Lorena Campes from Florida
Ben Coombs from Utah
Kayla Fox from Pennsylvania
Caroline Griffith from Florida
Ryan Hamm from California
Eliana Harrison from New Jersey
Doug Hoppes from North Carolina
Ravi Kumeriya from India
Phillip Mandipira from Zimbabwe
Rose Moran from the United Kingdom
Jason Notter from Alaska
Annabelle Pullen from Florida
Emily Schallock from Alabama

Writers of the Future 4th Quarter Winners

Writers of the Future 4th Quarter Standings for Year 35


Of all the writing contests out there, this one launches careers!

 

And the Winners are:

First Place – Andrew Dykstal from Virginia

Second Place – Wulf Moon from Washington

Third Place – John Haas from Canada

 


Finalists:

Nathan Dodge from Texas
John Lacist from Illinois
John D. Payne from New Mexico
Brittany Rainsdon from Idaho
Thomas White from West Virginia

Semi-Finalists:

James Blakey from Pennsylvania
Rob Bleckly from Australia
K.L. Evangelista from Australia
Jason Evans from Illinois
Kevin McGinn from New York
N.J. Morris from Idaho
Cassiopeia Mulholland from Arizona
William Stewart from New York

Silver Honorable Mentions:

Yuk Chi Chan from Singapore
Jordan Chase from Oregon
Jeremiah Christie from Florida
Russ Colson from Minnesota
Paulo da Silva from Germany
David Eyk from Washington
Justin Ferguson from Kansas
Kevin Folkman from Washington
Henry Gasko from Australia
Amanda Geard from South Africa
Ken Hoover from New Mexico
Gregory R. Hyde from Colorado
Christopher A. Jos from Canada
Carolyn Kay from Colorado
Jennie J. Keyes from Idaho
Kari Kilgore from Virginia
Anike Kirsten from South Africa
Amber Knoles from California
A.J. Lee from Canada
Roger Mannon from Colorado
Brad McNaughton from Australia
Charles Mears from California
Stephanie Mirro from Virginia
Marian Rakestraw from Missouri
Jared Schmitz from Kansas
Jerod Scott from West Virginia
Dillan Smith from Georgia
Michelle Staloff from Florida
Jessica Staricka from Minnesota
Robert Stephenson from Australia
Todd Sullivan from Georgia
Morgan Welch from the United Kingdom
David Williams from Ohio
Elisa Winther from the Netherlands

Honorable Mentions:

K.C. Aegis from California
B. Morris Allen from Oregon
J.W. Allen from the United Kingdom
Steve Arensberg from Texas
Tim Asay from Oregon
Zack Be from Maryland
Josh Beals from Georgia
Joe Benet from North Carolina
Derek Benson from Florida
Len Berry from Missouri
Paul Bianchetti from Montana
Michael W. Boggs from the Philippines
Gustavo Bondoni from Argentina
Ezekiel James Boston from Nevada
L.R. Braden from Colorado
Madison Brake from Florida
J. Leigh Bralick from Texas
S.R. Brandt from Louisiana
Jonathan Bronico from Massachusetts
Collin Brown from California
Gregg Brownell from Ohio
Bokerah Brumley from Texas
Jacob Byers from Massachusetts
Brennan C. Caldwell from California
Tom Camozzi from California
Cody Campbell from Oregon
Anna Cates from Ohio
Alicia Cay from Colorado
Grace Chan from Australia
Joanne Chapman from Utah
Dantzel Cherry from Texas
Myles Christensen from Utah
Rui Cid from Portugal
C L Clickard from Florida
Thom Connors from Texas
Rob Cornell from Michigan
David Costa from Portugal
Kody Cowell from California
E.L.V. Cowen from Australia
Crystal Crawford from Florida
Richard Crawford from California
Sarina Dahlan from California
Kayla Dailey from California
Kate Dane from Minnesota
Kyle de Waal from Canada
Benjamin DeHaan from Illinois
Elizabeth Delafield from Pennsylvania
Nestor Delfino from Canada
FR di Brozolo from California
Peter Diamantopoulos from Virginia
Caroline Donica from Texas
Mira Dover from Virginia
Em Dupre from New York
J.W. Elliot from Massachusetts
David A. Elsensohn from California
Matan Elul from Australia
Tim Emery from the United Kingdom
Jon Eno from Texas
Tim Fenner from Wisconsin
Neil Wesley Flinchbaugh from Illinois
Aiki Flinthart from Australia
Jacob Flowers-Olnowich from North Carolina
Tim Fox from Oregon
Nick Franco from California
Alex Franco from Georgia
Adam Friedma from California
Urania Fung from Texas
Simon R. Gardner from the United Kingdom
Michael Gardner from Australia
Katharina Gerlach from Germany
Grant Gerwatowski from Michigan
Michelle F. Goddard from Canada
Barry Goldsmith from Arizona
Ian Gonzales from Washington
Mark A. Gordon from Florida
Erin Grant from California
Barry Gregory from Florida
A.D. Guzman from Texas
Anaïd Haen from the Netherlands
Pam Hage from the Netherlands
Kevin Hallett from Texas
Laura Handley from Virginia
Dan Hankner from Iowa
Karissa Harlow from Arizona
Kelly A. Harmon from Maryland
Vanessa C. Hawkins from Canada
James A. Hearn from Texas
Alexandra Holbrook from New York
Keith Hoskins from Maryland
Matthew House from North Carolina
Chip Houser from Missouri
Celesta Hubner from Maryland
Scott Hughey from North Carolina
Corinne Hurlbert from Texas
Carolyn Jew from Maryland
Jessica Johnson from Virginia
K.D. Julicher from Nevada
Brandie June from California
William Kalb from Massachusetts
Joshua Kapusinski from California
Dave Kavanaugh from the Netherlands
Seth W. Kennedy from California
R.W. Kerry from Ohio
D.M. Kiely from Florida
Marjorie King from Texas
Ness Kingsley from the United Kingdom
Michael Kingswood from California
Megan Kraus from Connecticut
Andrea Kristeller from Argentina
M. Kuriel from Virginia
Eli Landes from New York
Alon Lankri from Israel
Alexis Lantgen from Texas
Laura Lavelle from New York
Avram Lavinsky from Massachusetts
Adrian Law from New Mexico
Ricky Lawhon from Florida
J. Lyon Layden from Georgia
Michael Lee from Florida
Sabrina Leyba from New Mexico
Misha Liu from Canada
Robert Allen Lupton from New Mexico
Durwood MacCool from Washington
Rachel Macklin from Washington
Melford Maderazo from the Philippines
Oliver Madison from Arizona
Bonnie Jean Mah from Canada
Scot Maiorca from Oklahoma
Celine Malgen from Switzerland
Roni Manor from California
Johannes Mathijsen from the Netherlands
Robert J. McCarter from Arizona
Jason McCuiston from South Carolina
Guy McDonnell from New Mexico
Kenneth Meade from Georgia
Assaph Mehr from Australia
Jessica Miller from New York
Mark Minson from Utah
J.L. Moore from Texas
Vincent Morgan from Canada
Leon Moss from Israel
William Nalley from Tennessee
V.E.W. Navarra from Georgia
Kristin Nergaard from Colorado
Linh Nguyen-Ng from Massachusetts
Dana Nisewarner from West Virginia
Luke Nolby from Minnesota
Megan Nordquist from Utah
Joseph Norris from California
Lawrence M. Nysschens from California
Mandy Oaks from Tennessee
Adam O’Connell from the United Kingdom
Julie Oldham from Missouri
John Olsen from Utah
Al Onia from Canada
James Paris from Tennessee
Courtney Pederson from Texas
George Petit from Delaware
J.C. Pillard from Colorado
Thomas Pitts from the United Kingdom
S.C. Potter from Utah
J.N. Powell from Texas
Beth Powers from Indiana
Rajeev Prasad from California
Lisa Prince from Alabama
Milana Quezada from California
Toms Raven from Latvia
Fatima Razvi from California
Becky Reape from Ohio
Esther Magdalena Reed from Colorado
Thomas Ricks IV from Mississippi
Vincent Riddle from Utah
Daniel Rodrigues-Martin from Utah
Lynette Roggenbuck from Michigan
Glenn Rosado from California
Roger Rosenberg from California
Andrew J. Savage from Japan
Cassandra Schoeer from Canada
Carrie Schwieger from Washington
caroline sciriha from Malta
Evie Seldon from the United Kingdom
Gary Sharp from Ohio
Sydney Shockley from Idaho
Joseph Simurdiak from Japan
Adam Smedley from Alabama
Benjamin Tyler Smith from Pennsylvania
Alexander Smith from Rhode Island
Daniel Soeder from South Dakota
Chase Speicher from California
C.L. Spillard from the United Kingdom
Shelby Sprigg from Maryland
Robert Stahl from Texas
C.K. Stevenson from New York
E.C. Stever from Idaho
Laura N. Stewart from the United Kingdom
Shami Stovall from California
Megan Stuart from Ohio
Celia Stuart-Powles from Oklahoma
Johanna Stumpf from Norway
Liviu Surugiu from Romania
Vincent Sutherland from Arizona
Nuha Syed from Texas
S.C. Taulbee from Oregon
SJ Thayer from Canada
Jessie Thomas from Kansas
Nicholas Thomas from Ohio
Noelle Tkacz from Massachusetts
Rebecca E. Treasure from Texas
Heather Truett from Mississippi
Daniel Uncapher from Indiana
Nick Vracar from Illinois
KT Wagner from Canada
Hetty White from Tennessee
Luke Wildman from Indiana
JM Williams from South Korea
Cliff Winnig from California
Thomas Woodward from Minnesota
Claire Wrenwood from North Carolina
Tannara Young from California

Katherine Kurtz with her bestselling Deryni Rising

Writers of the Future Welcomes Bestselling Author Katherine Kurtz as its Newest Judge

It is with considerable enthusiasm that we announce Katherine Kurtz as the newest judge in the Writers of the Future Contest.

Katherine, known for her fantasy writings, is the author of sixteen historical fantasy novels in the Deryni series. She is also known for her alternate history Templar series and urban fantasy Adept series.

I Always Try to Help

We were introduced to Katherine at Dragon Con by Writers of the Future judge Jody Lynn Nye and Bill Fawcett. It rapidly became apparent that Katherine would be perfect as a judge as she brings with her a strong desire to help aspiring writers—stating, “I always try to help up and coming writers and am delighted to be able to judge in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.”

Also discovering that Katherine was great friends with Anne McCaffrey, who had been a Contest judge until her passing in 2011, even living near Anne in Ireland, made her all the more desirous to have on board.

World Fantasy Award-winning author Tim Powers and longtime Writers of the Future judge was enthusiastic about the prospect of Katherine coming on board and stated, “Katherine Kurtz has written some of the finest fantasies of our time.”

When L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest, he wanted to provide a “means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” So it was important to provide the best possible opportunity for writers to pursue their dream however envisioned. We wanted top brand judges who, combined, specialized in all aspects of speculative fiction.

About Katherine

Katherine sold her first novel, Deryni Rising (actually, the first trilogy, The Chronicles of the Deryni) on her first submission attempt! She completed her second two novels, Deryni Checkmate and High Deryni, while completing her MA in medieval English history at UCLA and writing instructional materials for the Los Angeles Police Department. Her early work built on the popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but she soon defined and established her own sub-genre of “historical fantasy” set in close parallels to our own medieval period and featuring “magic” that much resembles what some of us might call extrasensory perception.

Elise Stephens

This Just Happened: A Writer’s Dream Come True

It was late April 2018. James and I were hiking Little Si, a small mountain near North Bend, WA. We navigated wet dripping branches and slick tree roots as we tried to rouse our minds and spirits from a season of mental fog that had engulfed us while my husband studied fervently for his Structural Engineer licensing exam.

Elise with husband in Spain

I just love this guy. Spain vacation.

He’d taken the test a few weeks before and would have to wait several weeks for his results. We’d left the kids with my parents and retreated for a one-night stay at a bed and breakfast to heal, spend time together, and catch up on many neglected conversations.

Amongst discussions of our families, hopes, and dreams, James and I also did some goal setting. James’ goal was to pass this SE test. It boasts a statistical 30% pass rate. It might take him more than one try.

At the beach with the young’uns!

At the beach with the young’uns!

My goal was to place among the winner’s ranks in Writers of the Future–a global Sci-Fi and Fantasy short competition. I thought I should give myself five years, vowing to submit one short story for every quarter. If by the end, I still hadn’t won, I’d at least have honed my writing skills with small, specific projects on which I could focus on while our kids are young.

October 4, 2018. I was standing by my front picture window when I got the call.

I dropped into the black IKEA armchair from my grandfather, shaky with anxiety. The woman on the phone informed me that I was a Writers of the Future finalist. I was shocked. I actually thought I’d made no headway in the contest. Now I was being told I’d made it to the top eight stories.

And then? Hurry up and wait. I waited three weeks.

About to fly internationally for 15 hours…

About to fly internationally for 15 hours…

My first week of waiting I was an anxious, sweaty wreck. I slept 3-4 hours a night. The second week, I started to lock down into tight-fisted anxiety. By the beginning of the third week, I heard God say, “I’ve heard your prayers. I know what you want, Elise. Now let me take care of it.” I taped Exodus 14:14 on my bathroom mirror. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. I transitioned into a place of precarious peace, but it was infinitely better than the sleepless wreck of the first week.

As I waited for the news of whether or not I’d win the contest that I’d made into my all-encompassing writing goal, I imagined myself as Schrodinger’s cat. Both alive with joy and dead with despair. (Yes, I’m dramatic with my analogies. That should come as no surprise by now).

Finally, on the morning of October 26th, I received another call. Poetically, I was standing beside that same, sun-streaming window. And no, I hadn’t been rooted there for three weeks, you smart-ass. It was poetic like I said.

I took this pic the day I got the call!

I took this pic the day I got the call!

She told me I’d won first place for the quarter. My little story, read by kind critics and harsh critics, read on my laptop screen till my eyes burned, read out loud to my husband until my throat was dry…that little story had turned heads enough to be awarded a prize in an international contest. It didn’t feel real, but there it was, my name displayed for the world to see as if to say:

This girl can write.

A new chapter is opening. You guys, I’m going to be published in a sci-fi and fantasy anthology that hits national bestseller lists each year! I’ll attend a fancy awards gala (I’ll probably trip on my dress and laugh when we’re all supposed to be quiet, but that should make everyone more comfortable, right?)

They’ll give us writer winners a special writing class and fly us down to Los Angeles for everything.

Yes, it feels like a dream. I’m honored by the favor, overwhelmed by its magnitude. Very grateful to my friends who have supported me and read my drafts and encouraged me in so many ways. Thankful to my God who continues to show that he has some great plans that involve my writing.

It’s time for victory dancing, you guys! In April, I’m going to Hollywood!!

 


Elise Stephens

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. She is a recipient of the Eugene Van Buren prize for fiction. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), and Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015, INDIEFAB Book of the Year Finalist). She lives in Seattle with her family.

Find her on Twitter @elisestephens and Facebook.

Writers of the Future 3rd Quarter Winners

Writers of the Future 3rd Quarter Standings for Year 35


Of all the writing contests out there, this one launches careers!

 

And the Winners are:

First Place – Elise Stephens from Washington

Second Place – Christopher Baker from the United Kingdom

Third Place – Mica Scotti Kole from Michigan

 


Finalists:

Sarah Feng from California
Storm Humbert from Michigan
Tom Prentice from Ireland
Ujwal Rajaputhra from New Jersey
Tyler West from Georgia

Semi-Finalists:

Jason Cantrell from Texas
Andrew Dykstal from Virginia
Chanahra Fletcher from Georgia
Berkeley Franklin from Oregon
Taylor Geu from South Dakota
Sydney Kuntz from New York
Eden Ariel from New York
James A. Hearn from Texas

Silver Honorable Mentions:

Joshua David Bennett from Colorado
Carina M Bissett from Colorado
Sarina Dahlan from California
KM Dailey from California
Nathan Dodge from Texas
Mira Dover from Virginia
Neil Wesley Flinchbaugh from Illinois
Charlie Harmon from Illinois
Barbara Lund from Utah
Chinedu O’Nwachukwu from Nigeria
John D. Payne from New Mexico
J.C. Pillard from Colorado
Kindra Pring from California
Claire Wrenwood from North Carolina
Dodde Steiner from Georgia
Blazej Szpakowicz from Canada
Galen Westlake from Canada

Honorable Mentions:

Jaimie Aurelio from California
Hannah Azok from Ohio
Robert Bagnall from the United Kingdom
Raluca Balasa from Canada
Garrick Bateman from Colorado
Christopher Baxter from Utah
Jordan Benefiel from California
F. J. Bergmann from Wisconsin
Olivia Berrier from Pennsylvania
Len Berry from Missouri
Hayden Bilbrey from Oklahoma
Beverly Alice Black from Pennsylvania
Timerie Blair from Ohio
Rob Bleckly from Australia
Gustavo Bondoni from Argentina
Matt Bosio from Florida
Ezekiel James Boston from Nevada
James Braun from Michigan
Forrest Brazeal from the United States
Ian Brazee-Cannon from Colorado
Rodney Brierly from Virginia
Richard D. Bruns from Minnesota
S.D. Bullard from Louisiana
Katie Bushan from Virginia
R.H. Butler from Pennsylvania
Jackson C from Kansas
Steve Cameron from the United Kingdom
Tom Camozzi from California
Dylan Cary from California
Erin Casey from Iowa
Amanda Cate from California
Ethan Douglas Chadwick from Kansas
Grace Chan from Australia
Carrie Channell from Illinois
Samuel Chapman from Washington
Stephen Charles from Australia
Rachel Chimits from Nevada
Russ Colson from Minnesota
James A. Conan from Canada
David Coombs from Canada
Michael Costello from New York
Emily Craven from Canada
Kate Dane from Minnesota
D.J. Daniels from Australia
S. R. Dantzler from Arkansas
Brandon Daubs from California
Laurance Davis from the United States
Drema Deoraich from Virginia
M.A. Dosser from North Carolina
CC Dowling from California
Jen Downes from Australia
David Dunbar from Pennsylvania
W.H.N. Dunham from Canada
Noel Dwyer from Illinois
Sharon Erez from Israel
Andrea Escoto from District of Columbia
Frederick Essig from Florida
Kristy Evangelista from Australia
Eveona from California
Aiki Flinthart from Australia
Jacob Foncea from Alabama
P.K. Gardner from North Carolina
Nick Garrett from Georgia
Collin Gian from Tennessee
JCG Goelz from Louisiana
Ilyssa Goldsmith from Arizona
W Goodwin from Florida
Mark A. Gordon from Florida
Asa H. Grey from Utah
Thomas Griffin from Tennessee
Ioseff Griffith from Sweden
Claudine Griggs from Rhode Island
Jen Haeger from Michigan
E. G. Hamilton from Indiana
Dan Hankner from Iowa
Rachelle Harp from Texas
John Harper from New Zealand
Mary-Jean Harris from Canada
S.L. Harris from Illinois
DW Harvey from California
AnnElise Hatjakes from Nevada
Danielle Hauck from Canada
Robert Hawkins from Texas
Christopher Henckel from New Zealand
Brendan Hiles from Canada
Alexandra Holbrook from New York
K.R. Horton from Oregon
Kate Howe from Colorado
Porter Huddleston from Florida
Patrick Hurley from Washington
Isabelle Hutchings from California
Ifeoluwa J. Ibitayo from Indiana
Stephan James from Missouri
Cristina Jantz from Colorado
Jao from the Philippines
Anisha Johnson from California
Jessica B. Johnson from Virginia
Joe Jones from Maryland
Ron Kaiser from New Hampshire
Carolyn Kay from Colorado
Christopher Keene from New Zealand
A. Keith Kelly from Georgia
Zada Kent from Ohio
Michael Kingswood from California
Priscilla Kint from the Netherlands
Emily Kjeer from Minnesota
Brittany Koch from Illinois
Kacie Faith Kress from Tennessee
Andrea Lain from Utah
R.D. Landau from California
Nita Lapinski from Arizona
Dan Latusick from Oregon
Katelyn Lauer from Colorado
Laura Lavelle from New York
Joseph Layden from Georgia
Colt Leasure from California
Kialee LeValley from Kansas
Marissa Levine from Florida
Roger Ley from the United Kingdom
Miranda Liang from Massachusetts
Brandon M. Lindsay from Japan
Noah Linwood from New Mexico
Sierra Loewen from New Mexico
LindaAnn LoSchiavo from New York
Shantrell Lumpkin from California
Robert Allen Lupton from New Mexico
William Mangieri from Texas
E. H. Mann from Australia
James Stuart Mann from California
A.J. Martin from Ohio
Kiera Martz from Georgia
Dennis Maulsby from Iowa
Robert J. McCarter from Arizona
Jason J. McCuiston from South Carolina
Molly McDonough from New York
L. R. McGary from Massachusetts
Sean Patrick McGinley from Pennsylvania
Taylor McNitt from Minnesota
Jim Meeks-Johnson from Indiana
Brittany Miller from Washington
Devin Miller from North Carolina
CV Mollee from Canada
Dennis Mombauer from Sri Lanka
Wulf Moon from Washington
Josh Morrey from Utah
Aaron Moskalik from Michigan
Nitin Motiani from California
Megan Nordquist from Utah
Toni Novotny from Florida
Kevin L. O’Brien from Colorado
Y.M. Pang from Canada
Aayushi Parekh from India
Jason Parker from Florida
H. Parkin from Maryland
Joe Paul from Maryland
J. R. Pearson from Arizona
Barton Perkins from Alabama
Paul Peters from Kentucky
Vin Piazza from California
Thomas Pitts from the United Kingdom
Aelred Powell from Georgia
Rajeev Prasad from California
D. Hunter Reardon from Virginia
Esther Magdalena Reed from Colorado
Jake Reed from California
Willow Reeves from Kentucky
Elsa Risgin from Massachusetts
M.C. Rosado from New York
Jesse Lynn Rucilez from Nevada
Nicholas Ryan from Maryland
Will Scarborough from Georgia
Jacob Schafer from Oregon
Cody Schroeder from Missouri
Spencer Sekulin from Canada
Jasmine Sewell from Montana
V. Shalace from California
C.L. Shoemaker from Canada
Hank Shore from North Carolina
Joseph Simurdiak from Wisconsin
Adam Sloter from Arkansas
Mikayla Smart from Canada
Richard Smith from Georgia
Shelby Sprigg from California
Robert Stahl from Texas
Mark W. Stallings from Colorado
Tasha Staples from Colorado
Robert Stephenson from Australia
Nicholas Stillman from California
M. F. Sullivan from Oregon
Cynthia Suryawan from Texas
N. L. Sweeney from Washington
Shannon Sweetnam from Illinois
David Teves from California
Dan Thurot from Utah
Shara Tran from California
Alicia Tubbs from Georgia
Noe Varin from France
Scott Pohaku Vilhauer from California
Ben von Jagow from Canada
Jonathan Vowell from Tennessee
Jack Waddell from Arkansas
KT Wagner from Canada
M. Saxe Wallace from Ohio
Jeremy Walsh from California
Alice Wanamaker from Massachusetts
R.C. Weissenberg from California
Thomas Welsh from Washington
Daniel Westmoreland from New Jersey
Luke Wildman from Indiana
David Williams from Ohio
Oona Winners from Illinois
Cliff Winnig from California
Tyler Wood from Utah
Thomas Woodward from Minnesota
Austin Worley from Oklahoma
James Wright from Utah
Michael J. Wyant Jr from New York
Dax Xenos from Kentucky
Sonny Zae from Texas
Jackie Zitin from Missouri

Illustrators of the Future 3rd Quarter Winners

Illustrators of the Future 3rd Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 35

This illustration contest list is the place to be!

 

And the winners are:

Allen Morris from Washington
Jennifer Ober from New Mexico
Josh Pemberton from Washington

 


Finalists:

Nicole Annunziata from New York
Chase Henson from Utah
Linda Thai from California
Erika Torres from Georgia
Brandon Whelan from Kentucky

Semi-Finalists:

Adam Carsons from Colorado
Kristelle Dirks from Arizona
Bianca Dortch from California
Adam Mekies from Colorado
Evangelia Psoma from Greece
Daniel Santiago from Florida
Julia Talbot from Massachusetts
Joel Tokarczyk from Indiana
April Wei from California

Honorable Mentions:

Sean Bedrosian from Michigan
Anthony DiBattista from New York
Jackson Fojut from Colorado
Camila Frater from Canada
Mayralejandra Guevara from Tennessee
Alexandra May from California
Mary Margaret McKay from Massachusetts
Leah McKay from Texas
Andrea Palmer from Virginia
Chau Pham from Washington
Miriam Presas from California
Christina Rodriguez-Unalt from New Jersey
Nava Saad from New York
Erin Sheehan from Maine
Mariah Stewart from Missouri
David Unthank from Ohio
Cassandra Vincent from Florida

Rainsdon Brittany Certificates

Birthing Stories: Five in Thirty-Five by Brittany Rainsdon

I’m Brittany. I’m a nurse. I’m also a mom. I just had a baby. And I got my fourth quarter entry in for the Writers of the Future Contest while working around giving birth. Crazy? Maybe. But sometimes our dreams make us push a little harder (pun intended) and crazy things make a certain kind of sense.

Discovering Writers of the Future

I first heard about Writers of the Future approximately two years ago, when I took an online writing class and was assigned to research potential markets. A few clicks made it clear this was the contest to enter—but it almost seemed too good to be true. In fact, I remember querying a few writer friends to find out if the contest was indeed legit. It was.

Another assignment involved reaching out to published authors from my target market and asking for an interview. Still intrigued by the contest, I hit up Sharon Joss, a previous Golden Pen winner (she also has eight novels under her belt). She gave me an entire page of writing tips and advice, but perhaps her most far-reaching was this: join the Writers of the Future Forum, a discussion board where members communicate about the contest.

I did.

I immediately found friends who wanted to exchange stories, talk craft, and some even seemed to have insider information on how to do well (Coordinating judge, David Farland’s tip emails were foreign to me at the time). They preached producing a fresh story every quarter, not giving up, and maybe (eventually) you would win.

They were right. Even if I didn’t win, my craft would. I would form habits. If I kept writing and then sending my best stories to other markets, I could even pro-out. That would be a win in and of itself. I’ll admit, I haven’t sold anything yet—but with two honorable mentions and a silver honorable mention from this contest, I have hope I’m on the right track. Writing professionally is a marathon, not a sprint.

At the start of Volume 35, one “forumite” set up a challenge—enter every quarter. I had already entered three in a row the previous year, so I committed to do four more. Obviously, at the time, I didn’t know I would deliver a little girl a few days before the end of the final quarter.

When two pink lines did show up a few months later, I determined to plow through all four quarters regardless. What’s a little morning sickness? But I discovered it was much harder producing stories while pregnant. I had three other children, and well, they didn’t exactly slow down when my body did.

Although it got harder to write with each trimester (and Writers of the Future quarter!), the real scrambling didn’t start until the end. For some reason (I blame hormones), I decided the old nursery needed to be completely redone and sanitized. I love my three other kids, but kids can be gross! We scrubbed the walls, painted, caulked, put up wainscoting, rented a carpet cleaner, and even sewed a matching nursery set. Coupling that with other health issues (thanks again, hormones), writing time became slim. Slimmer still as I felt like I couldn’t work on anything non-baby related until the baby came.

As the final quarter drew to a close, my story remained unfinished. With twelve days left in the contest and my baby overdue, I needed a boost. I took to the Forum.

Whenever I tell people my goals, it makes me more accountable. It’s the reason I’ve joined consistent critique groups in the past—friends help friends get things done. The Forum proved to be that and more.

When I told the “forumites” about my desire to finish, they were super supportive, but also reminded me to be reasonable. Having a baby is kind of a big deal, and they advised me it would be okay to take a pass this round. No judgment. I still wanted to finish, but it was a reality check that health and family came first. I told myself I would only write if I had time and it made sense.

I didn’t touch my story.

Instead, I focused on making my home baby-ready, caring for my other children, and eating as much spicy food and pineapple I could handle (spicy food to start contractions, and pineapple to prep the cervix for delivery). For the record, pineapple core is gross, but not so bad when blended into a smoothie.

When the baby still didn’t come, we scheduled to induce labor on the twenty-fourth. All my other children had come naturally, so medical intervention made me nervous—especially when well-meaning women would tell me their induction horror stories. And what would recovery be like? I didn’t think it would include writing. Still unwilling to admit defeat, I gave my laptop the side eye and packed it into my hospital bag.

Giving Birth

Rainsdon's BabyLucky for me, I went into labor on my own a few hours before my scheduled induction and had my little girl in my arms shortly thereafter. It was, perhaps, my easiest labor.

So, I wasn’t exactly giving birth with a typewriter atop my belly, but I was incredibly grateful I had my computer in the delivery room. When the rush of adrenaline came that wouldn’t let me sleep for hours, I had something to do.

While still in the hospital and snuggling my newborn close, I typed out everything but the last scene. I kept my promise to only write while it made sense. If I was tired, I slept, and when my other children came to visit, I visited.

Transitioning to home was difficult. The baby didn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep, and it seemed I had tripped just before the finish line. But my sweet husband knew my goal and offered to take the children on Friday afternoon (the twenty-eighth) so I could finish my story. A few hours later the deed was done.

On the last day of the contest, I edited as much as I could and then hit submit. It was my most rushed entry, I had no time for critiques, but hitting that button felt oh, so good. Four submissions in Volume 35—but by my count, I produced five in 35. I dare you to count differently. I birthed two babies that week!

I think I’ll keep pushing.


Brittany RainsdonBrittany Rainsdon grew up as the only girl in a family with four brothers. She’s reversing that trend with her own children—three girls and one boy. Brittany is a registered nurse and has worked in both medical/surgical and rehabilitation nursing. When she went to her first writing conference in 2017, she wore a new pair of green glasses and several people recognized her during lessons as “that girl in the glasses.” She kept the nickname and uses it as her tag on the Writers of the Future Forum. Brittany wants to eventually publish novels, but is currently focusing on writing short stories.