I didn’t make it to the second stage of the competition. In practical terms, this was a good thing, because our new wireless router hadn’t arrived and so participating in an interview via Skype was going to be a challenge without a reliable internet connection. In all other terms though, it was obviously a disappointment, albeit not the most surprising one.
Just once – and I attempt to say this without any trace of bitterness – it would be good if the judges for these sorts of competitions could explain how they come to their conclusions. I skimmed through 40 or more of the 66 pages of entries for this particular contest and, unless there were ten AMAZING efforts in the remaining 20 pages, I can’t help but be – deep down – a little crushed.
“The more creative your entry, the more chance you’ll stand” said the submission guidance (or something along those lines). Writing in the non-specific third person was perhaps not the most creative idea ever entertained, but (to my mind at least) it demonstrated a little more endeavour than churning out, “I’ve been a Formula One for fifteen years and I understand how its technology works” etc etc.
Alright, alright, sorry. I knew I shouldn’t have started trying to analyse how these things work, it was never going to turn out pretty was it? Although, better this (perhaps!) than my original thought, which was to respond to the announcement on Facebook with a ‘Like’ and then a comment saying, “Bastards!”. With some shame, I admit that I did respond on Facebook, albeit with a completely disingenuous, “Well done to the ten people chosen.”
I really should have known what to expect though, which is the most galling aspect. There must be something in the way I approach the writing of these submissions that misses the mark with those who decide what is ‘good’ (however arbitrary a measure that might be). Eighteen months ago, I entered a competition run by Shell and Auto Express and my finely crafted entry lost out to, amongst others, one that described the fuel as “a magical power potion”.
If it’s that sort of thing judges want, or generic self-aggrandising fluff, then they can keep their competitions. I might be a miserable loser, but at least I’ve stuck to my writing principles!