A few post-game thoughts on the Mormon Lit Blitz…
1. Congratulations to Merrijane and the rest of the top 5! In case you didn’t know, Merrijane has a blog where every Friday she posts a poem (sometimes one by her; sometimes one by someone else) plus a few thoughts. Check it out.
2. I’m not going to reveal my ballot, but I will say that I voted for two of the five works that placed. And while the finalists didn’t get a complete breakdown of voting, the organizers did let us know that all of us got a good number of votes. What’s cool is that each of the finalists were able to bring in their readership, which meant we all benefited, in terms of readers, from each other’s efforts.
3. Many thanks to James, Nicole and Scott for running the contest and to my sister Katherine and Ben for hosting it at Mormon Artist and to anybody who helped with the graphics, which were very cool (Anneke and ??). I thought it was all very well managed and promoted and am pleased that I decided to participate.
4. Yes, I am disappointed that I didn’t place. But not that much. I was talking with Jonathan Langford on Thursday, and I was thinking about what I really wanted to get out of my participation, and I said that this would never happen, but in an ideal world, what I would want is to be listed on every single ballot because that would mean that I had made a connection with every reader. No author bats 1.000. But the point I was trying to make is that I wanted to make an emotional connection with a lot of readers. If the Facebook page comments are any indication, I was able to do that at the very least with some readers who had not previously been familiar with my work. That makes me very happy.
5. Other than having readers, what I’m most happy about with my participation in the Mormon Lit Blitz is that it led to a version of “The Elder Who Wouldn’t Stop…” that I was finally satisfied with. (More about that in the [forthcoming] liner notes). Those final few edits that I made in response to some excellent editorial feedback I received took it from a work that I liked and thought was good to one where I finally felt like it was doing everything it needed to. Thanks, Nicole!
6. My other two submissions were “The Shattered Backboard”, which is a humorous short story in the style of Wodehouse and was a semifinalist, and “Pass Along”, which is about an LDS woman who finds an abandoned pass along card at the Rockridge BART station (BART = San Francisco Bay Area commuter train/subway). It is quite likely that “The Shattered Backboard” will be published in the new online lit mag Everyday Mormon Writer, which is a sort-of spin-off of the contest. Perhaps “Pass Along” as well.
7. The one thing I was disappointed about was that there weren’t more finalists that were fiction that dealt with the modern Mormon experience. I can understand why — flash fiction is a difficult form (as I have discovered). Most writers have more experience producing poetry or essay at that 1,000 or below word count. But that’s what I was most looking forward to reading and most excited about when writing submissions (in fact, I abandoned a science fiction concept for my third submission when the idea for “Pass Along” came to me because I wanted to see that represented in the contest and figured I could get at least 1 of 3 into the finals [which — yay! — I did]). This means, of course, that I need ya’ll to write such stories and submit them to Everyday Mormon Writer.