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07 May 2010 @ 03:29 pm
"Citizen-Astronaut" takes the silver  
My story "Citizen-Astronaut" just won second prize in the 2010 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest. This is a contest for positive stories showing the near future of manned space exploration; the stories are judged anonymously. I won a year's membership in the National Space Society and a prize package containing various Baen Books, Jim Baen's Universe and National Space Society merchandise. Second prize does not include publication, but I now have a very nice recommendation to include in the cover letter when I submit this story elsewhere.

I have to admit that I feel a little bit strange about this win, as I finished the story barely in time and submitted what I considered an extremely rough draft. Basically, I used the contest deadline as a goad to get me to finish the story. I always used to use the quarterly Writers of the Future Contest deadlines for this purpose and I've kind of been missing that lately. At the same time I submitted the story to the contest, figuring it would not win, I also sent it to my critique group, and they agreed with me that it can be improved (in particular, it's a bit exposition-heavy and the main character's primary problem in the the front half of the story is not as well connected to the climax as it could be).

Part of me says I should take this prize win as validation and just submit the story as-is. However, I think I will go ahead and revise it, though perhaps not as heavily as I might otherwise have done.

The next question is where to send this story (an optimistic space-based hard-SF adventure) first. It's an excellent fit for Analog, of course, but Clarkesworld pays better, replies faster, and seems to be catching a lot of positive critical attention. Your thoughts?

Twilight: WriterRosetwilight2000 on May 7th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
I'd probably go for Clarksworld - given the bene's you list - or does an Analog listing still carry the weight of a Harvard degree?
Musical Musingsamysun on May 7th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
I'd send it to Clarkesworld first; they'll get back to you super fast, a new credit is always nice (and possibly some different readers), and you won't even lose a week of time sending it to Analog if Clarkesworld passes.
Tony Piwistling on May 7th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
Clarkesworld's not only fast in response, but also in publication. I think it was a turnaround of 5 days to acceptance for my story, then 5 days to print. Also a podcast in forthcoming in a week. It certainly has my seal of approval!
orangemike: SParkyorangemike on May 7th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
Pick your market for your own reasons; but respect yourself as much as we do, and revise it first to your own standards.

(They say Milwaukee may get snow tonight; don't you miss Wisconsin?)
Steve Hutchisonfoomf on May 8th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
It sounds from your description of the two, like you prefer Clarkesworld.
ext_224862 on May 8th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
Since I already subscribe to Analog... but I could be talked into looking at Clarkesworld (which I hadn't heard of before...)
dsgood on May 8th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
Roxannermeidaking on May 8th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
What behavior do you want to reward? I'd go in order of who pays most, myself. Who replies fastest is a close second. Which magazine gets the most Hugo nominations is down the list a ways.
Annetxanne on May 8th, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
FWIW, I read Clarkesworld but not Analog.
Wolf Lahti: antimonywolflahti on May 8th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)

Top-paying, more-illustrious markets first. Always.

Then work your way down the list.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on May 8th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
The question being, of course, whether Clarkesworld is more illustrious than Analog.
Wendy S. Delmatersafewrite on May 9th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
Flip a coin to decide. If it chooses a venue and you're dissappointed, then you can tell that--deep inside--you really wanted to submit to the other one.
e_bournee_bourne on May 9th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! That's great! Go for the money and the fast response time. :-)
dandyfunk: Rocket 1dandyfunk on May 11th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean about the deadline being a goad to finish a story. I wrote my submission in a week, and sent it in on the last day.