The Perils of Deadline Chasing

Hmmm. I’ve always quite fancied entering one of the quarterly JBWB competitions, and I finally got around to it just over a month or so ago. Actually, I think I can state with a fair amount of certainty that it was indeed a month ago, because that’s exactly when the deadline for entry was. Why do I keep doing this?

I had the basis of the idea for this as soon as I saw the picture prompts; it was something that I’d done during the Children in Need Flash Marathon last November. All I had to do was sit down and write the bloody thing. So why oh why did I wait until the weekend before the Monday of the deadline to do this?

I’d like to claim that the idea for the piece was fundamentally sound. However, having sent in my frantic scribblings to JBWB, I posted the result on the Verulam Writers’ Circle’s private critique forum (known as the Virtual Manuscript Evening). I received one single critique. This is never a good sign, as it usually means that everyone else has taken a look and decided that it’s pretty much beyond help. Moreover, the critique that I did receive was such a comprehensive point-by-point demolition (in the nicest possible way) that I wanted to withdraw the piece immediately. What’s more, I pretty much agreed with it.

By now, you have probably guessed that the story was Highly Commended. So I’m now thinking – what would have happened if I’d actually gone about things in a proper, professional manner? Maybe there wouldn’t have been any difference. Maybe the only thing about the piece that had any real merit was the underlying idea. Who knows?

Meanwhile, I completed my entry for the Dark Tales summer competition this morning and duly sent it in. The deadline is today. One day I’ll learn. One day.

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