As an anniversary vacation trip, my husband and I attended the 30th Missoula Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. This is different from other Cons I've attended in that the focus is on writers and gamers. This will be a series of posts on what I learned from the professional panelists.
James Glass won the Writers of the Future contest in 1991 after entering twice. Julie Frost won after entering 29 times.
I have a few quotes from the panelists to share:
"There are a million and one reasons a story is rejected, and it can have nothing to do with the quality of the story." - James Glass
"They treat you like the celebrity you'll never be." - Randy Henderson, who made the audience laugh at every panel he did.
"At least two out of the twelve [winners] go on to be successful authors." - Kevin Anderson (who is a judge)
"The Writers of the Future's goal is to create successful career writers." - Kevin Anderson
As for writing advice? My favorite quote from this hour was from Randy Henderson, author of the Finn Fancy series -
"Engage with the world."
Now, there are rules to the contest and you can find those here. Kevin Anderson also made the recommendation that he prefers stories that are 8,000 words in length (the guidelines are up to 17,000 words in length).
I would also note that they spent a good amount of the hour reassuring and explaining that this contest is COMPLETELY separate from any Scientology stuff. There's no sales pitch. There's no shared mailing list. It is funded through his fiction work and dedicated to finding new writers.
Tomorrow I'll cover Ask the Editor and First Page Idol (during which I was very brave).