I've been waiting to post about this until I actually had some tangible proof on the interwebs to prove it, but that may not happen for a while (but as soon as it does, you'll see the link on this blog!) so, well, here goes.
I'm a semi-finalist in Q4 of the 2012 Writers of the Future contest!!!!!!!
Okay, so I know that doesn't sound like much. I mean, semi-finalist, who cares, right? Well, turns out making semi-finalist in this comp is actually kind of a big deal. Just a brief run-down of how things work in this competition:
First of all, it's the largest and most prestigious competition of it's kind. It's an international competition, and every quarter the competition receives somewhere between 1000-1500 stories. Of those entries, eight are chosen as finalists. Of those finalists, three are placed first, second, and third, sent to a writing workshop with a bunch of pro writers (most of whom are judges for the comp), and some crazy gala awards ceremony thing they put on every year. Oh, and those that place get a fair chunk of cash for winning (between $500-$1000, I think), too.
As far as I can tell, only a few semi-finalists are named for each quarter--usually between three and ten. The general feeling I get from speaking with people on the WotF forum (many of whom have been semi-finalists, finalists, and winners of the competition) is that a story is marked a semi-finalist if it was essentially a finalist-quality piece, but just didn't make the cut for one reason or another. Essentially, making semi-finalist means that the story was in the top 10 or 15 of 1000+ entries...pretty cool, no?
Each quarter, a hundred or so (usually a tenth of the entries, it seems) Honorable Mentions are named as well.
So, basically, I feel pretty awesome about my story making semi-finalist. Part of the awesomeness of being a semi-finalist is getting a personalized critique from the coordinating judge (David Farland). In his critique, Mr. Farland actually told me they actually received three apocalyptic stories that were finalist caliber material during Q4, but could only choose one (they generally try to keep a pretty wide genre spread each quarter, as the stories that place are compiled each year into a short story collection and published--check out last year's collection here). So, yeah, that's neat.
It's basically a glorified personal rejection, but it feels pretty good to receive. And, of course, I'm going to continue submitting to the comp (I submitted a story for Q3 of 2012 but received a flat out rejection), and continue hoping for the best. But I must say, it's nice to hear some good news every once in a while :-).
8 Feb 2013 EDIT: Apparently there are a bit more semi-finalists each quarter than I'd originally thought; the numbers are closer to 8-10 than 1-5, so I've changed that number above.