Failing to Win: My Second Short Story Competition 

mary at meeting - 2017 - 16x9 vanilla
Eduardo Suré; Mary at Meeting, 2017; Watercolor with Vanilla Filter

In July 2017, I submitted Mary’s Ten O’Clock as my entry for a second short story contest this year: the Sean O’Faolain Short Story Competition. I was not placed on the short list.

I can’t say I was surprised. I thought the story was funny, but not one that would win a competition. My family really liked it and suggested I enter, so I deferred to their opinion.

It was fun to enter, hope, and experience real life suspense. I plan to submit short stories to a few contests every year.


Failing to Win: My First Short Story Competition 

In June of 2017, I entered my first short story competition. I submitted Brother Thomas to The Masters Review Short Story Award For New Writers. I didn’t even make the short list.

I have mixed feelings about competitions. Prizes are great, but I care more about what placing could tell me about my writing. If I am placed on the short list or win, then I have some evidence that I may be a good writer. If I’m not placed on the short list, does that mean I suck? I default to a yes, but I would be doing theater if I had not received some positive reinforcement about my writing.

Failing to win did not give me much information about whether I suck a lot, a little, or not at all. There are several possible scenarios. For example, the judge read my first sentence and vomited all over his desk. In a more positive scenario, the judge had trouble deciding between my story and another for inclusion in the short list.  My story may have been in the middle of a mediocre set of submissions, and the winners may have been the only good stories they got. Or my story may have been in the middle of the best set they have ever received, and the winners were only a reflection of the judge’s preferences. 

I did enjoy several things about entering the competition. I enjoyed submitting a piece others thought was good enough to win. I enjoyed having something to look forward to and the hopes I had as I waited. Anything was possible until the short list was announced. These are things I can enjoy every time I enter a competition regardless of the outcome.

Failing to Win: Middle School

When I was in sixth grade, I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about a homicidal teddy bear for a competition. It murdered my sister and had a glorious death itself. My hopes were high because I’d never seen such a children’s book. Alas, I didn’t win. The book is probably filed in my permanent record at the school.

Beginning the Living Jewel Series

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Eduardo Suré; Sketch of Living Jewel in Hand, 2017; Graphite

My youngest boy has been asking me to tell him stories at bedtime about stones with special powers. I have told him several; and now I’m having trouble keeping track of characters, stones, and powers. Therefore, I’m going to write them down here. However, I will call them Living Jewels for a reason you’ll find out if you read the stories.

I’ll get back to Steven and William later in case you were wondering about them.

The sketch in this post illustrates a scene in the first story. I hope the foreshortening works. The point of view is that of a man looking down at his palm.

Writing a Longer Short Story 

This week, I am working on the third part of Steven the Gray Fox’s story. I was not planning to spend so much time with this character and his story. I simply wrote an exposition that was way too long – as long as my usual short stories. Therefore, I was compelled to give each subsequent part of the story the same word count. Because writing is a temporal art, I want my visitors to enjoy themselves, and I want them to leave my blog feeling like they got a complete story; I do try to make each part stand alone. 

I am also working on painting a fox for the story. The image in this post is the structural drawing I will use for it. I would have never expected I would draw and paint so many foxes.

Change, Sort Of

I started this blog to capture some of the bedtime stories I improvised for my five-year-old. However, I couldn’t get the stories to work when I wrote them down. So, I improvised my kid’s bedtime stories; but, I planned the stories I wrote for this blog. The results were written stories more appropriate for tweens. 

Even though I didn’t fulfill my purpose for starting this blog, I didn’t want to delete it. I enjoy the process of writing and painting. As I work, I like to imagine that someone might enjoy what I produce. It makes me happy to be able to reach people around the globe and to be able to hear [read] from them when they have a thought or reaction they want to share with me.

I changed the presentation of this blog in small ways. I didn’t want parents to read something to their kids that wasn’t appropriate for their age or interest. I’ll continue to write the same kinds of stories. I hope you’ll stick around. 


Devising Science Fiction

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Eduardo Suré; The Cybernetic, 2017; Graphite

The stories The Cybernetic and The Precious Soldier had the same setting and shared a plot. I wrote one as a romance and the other as a satire just because I like to try different things. I don’t think my kid likes the stories I write as much as the ones I make up nightly. That’s my fault for experimenting; but writing fiction, sketching, and painting are all new to me and I want to try different things. For the next story, I’ll keep working with the Cybernetic and see if I can get the character to grow on my kid.

Flat Characters

Eduardo Suré; Rock Hero, 2017; Graphite

My youngest is somewhat dissatisfied with the stories I write for this blog. The reason is that I exclude from my written stories the flat copyrighted characters I insert in my oral stories.

When I am tired at night, I use some shortcuts in my oral stories. My plots are always original; but I save myself some time on exposition by using heroes from popular kids shows. I do not want to infringe copyrights for images, characters, or anything on my blog; so, I use only my original work.

To make him happy, I will need to create some flat fantasy or science fiction characters. I will need to create a look for them that he likes. I will also need to give them some powers. I hope you guys like them.

Hello, Reader

My five-year-old asks for a bedtime story every night. He asks me to make it up on the spot. My energy is expended when he makes the request, but I can either oblige him or spend the next hour asking him to stop loitering in the hall outside of my bedroom. There is something about my stories that my preschooler likes; so, I started this blog to share those stories with you. I hope you will like them too.