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It’s Official

March 18, 2010

I got the email today.  The story that placed second in Writers of the Future failed to warrant an invitation to Clarion West.  Or Clarion.  I did better last year with a story that still has not sold.  (I think I just sent the one to CW.)  No workshop for me.

I don’t get it.  I can accept it, but I don’t understand what more I can do (other than learn to count).  Was my story too commercial?  You hear that on America’s Next Top Model.  (I have a wife; don’t judge me!)  Or too safe?  They say that on Idol.  Or maybe my style is too unoriginal.  Or maybe…I could do this all year (and may).  Bottom line, I’m out.  Huge congratulations to those that got in.

It was a nice rejection.  You could tell Neile was aware of my very public obsession and/or my waitlisting last year:

Dear Scott:

Thank you for applying to the Clarion West Writers Workshop for 2010.

I am so sorry to let inform you [sic] that you were not selected for this
year's class. I know this is a disappointment. Your work ranked well
with our readers again, but it just wasn't to be.

Leslie and I both wish you the best with your writing and hope you
have a productive summer, and that you will apply again.

Thank you again for your interest in Clarion West.

With much regret,


So, will I apply again?  I’m not ruling it out, but I’m leaning toward no.  I’ve mentioned an intention to expand my family.  I wouldn’t want to leave my wife pregnant with a four-year-old.  That’s far from a guaranteed status, so stuff may change.  It would also be nice if, next summer, I was in a place where focusing on novels instead of short stories proved more productive.  So it may not happen.  It may.  Never say never.  It may come down to who’s teaching.

I still have WotF for a week in August.  That will be sweet.  I may target a con or two this summer.  I’ll keep writing, that’s for sure.  And all my fellow rejects should, too.  Or as Howard Waldrop says, if this can make you stop writing, maybe you should.

Wife, daughter, WotF, vacation, novel work.  Yeah, I’ll be okay.  Pissy, but okay.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2010 7:58 pm

    Sorry to hear it, Scott. If you do apply again next year, and I hope you do, I will be rooting for you.

  2. March 19, 2010 11:08 am

    Sorry, Oso! E-hugs!

  3. March 19, 2010 11:47 am

    That is a very personalized rejection! I say, just keep at it. The stories this year must have been pretty compelling. Your work is obviously improving (witness WotF); nothing to sneeze at. Thanks for holding the forum together.

  4. March 19, 2010 11:52 am

    Take it from a nobody that aspires to be in your position – yes, Clarion West would have been awesome. But don’t let that define you as a writer. More than a few happy, well published authors in the genre didn’t go, and it hasn’t hurt their writing any. Clarion’s a cool opportunity – but you have enough going for your writing without it.

  5. lunapalma permalink
    March 19, 2010 1:57 pm

    Scott–I’m sorry to hear this news, and I want to join the chorus of your supporters who are encouraging you to not feel too deflated. Keep writing! Don’t let the rejection get you blocked! Why not even take up the “Clarion challenge” of drafting a story every week for a six week period this summer?!

  6. March 21, 2010 3:50 pm

    Well, at least you had a personal rejection. I got form rejections from both, and summer workshops are basically the only form of grad school I can afford. Only one chance left (and the Columbia Publishing Course, but let’s be real here, that’s just as hard to make).

    Good luck on your writing!

    • osomuerte permalink
      March 22, 2010 12:29 am

      I suspect that my personal rejection had more to do with my visibility on the forum and online than with the perceived quality of my application. Last year I was waitlisted. This year I’m straight cut. That means I’m getting worse in their eyes. (It could mean the other applicants are getting better faster than me, but that’s no better.)

      I like to lie in bed imagining that there was this big fight about whether to accept me or not based on a split of readers’ opinions, some loving my story, some hating it. I also lie in bed imagining Monica Bellucci is waiting for my phone call. I kinda doubt either is true.

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