Someone posted a link that led to pics of the WOTF awards ceremony. I must say it looked like everyone was having a wonderful time, but I'm not rich by any means. Just look at everyone dressed in tuxes and black evening gowns. I'm lucky to have a single dress in my closet, and my wardrobe is mainly T-shirts and jeans with a pair of well broke-in casual shoes. My only pair outside of my hiking shoes, western boots for when I go trail riding on my horse, and a pair of muck boots for barn chores.
And that's just the beginning. How much would a trip to the ceremony run someone from the Great Lakes area? Airline tickets, a rental car I would assume, motel fees, meals... does it cost the winners to get into the building where everything takes place?
Then there's the cost of a place to stay for a week if you plan to attend the writers workshop that's part of the prize package not to forget all the money from eating out during that time.
All this will wipe out that prize money and then some... if you win. I don't know about the rest of you, but this sure boggles my mind just thinking about it. If I ever do win, maybe I ought to just stay home and accept my check in the mail. Sounds like it could save me a bundle and a bunch of financial headaches.
I had supposed the WoTF bears some of the travel expenses of the winners---but I really don't remember, if I ever knew it. There are enough people 'round here who send things into them---surely some of them must've read the fine print in the rules and know for sure...
I'm not sure what semi-formal, formal wear costs for women. I think it's possible to get a nice dress for a $100-200, right...do you have time to raise that kind of money?
I'm in grad school now and can afford to be more luxorious partly cuz of student loans (yay! i'm in debt!), but back in my undergrad days I've had my share of sleeping on friend's floors, in my car, or 'spending the night' with a date, etc.
As far as trips - the above ways still work, but planning a road trip with a bunch a people really helps fray costs. One time on a really long road trip it was 2 cars and 8 of us in a room for a few of days. It cost like 10 per person. We'd all go to the local library or university early, and stay there all day preparing etc., and at night we go back just to sleep or wash up.
Heck if you know friends/writers up there maybe you could ask if you could stay at their house or apartment for a few days. At the awards or workshop i'm sure you could find people to share a hotel room with. If it comes down to it - just straight up ask the WOTF people if there are people who are willing to put you up for a week or so.
If you're really daring - you can sleep in your car and wash up at a fellow winner's room/apartment. Or a restroom...not really recommended.
Food: I've lived off of microwaveble food on sale quite cheaply, or the dollar menus many a time. I have the flavors of ramen and 3 bean soup etched indelibly in to my memory. In college I usually used to park near a university and use the microwaves in the break rooms. If they had a fridge - even better! Fruits and veggies are your friends - easy quick cheap real foods to buy everyday at groceries and carry with you thru the day.
It sound crazy, but you make do, and you work and save up like mad - and one day things will become better, much easier. Until then though, time to suck in that pride and get creative.
Of course friends help. Like the song says "I get by with a little help from my friends." And When you're as broke as I was, a little help from friends went a really long way. And make sure to thank and treat them (i always used to treat ice cream) and offer your home if they ever come down your way. Dedicate a story to them!
It's a humbling experience but it's also a way to make lifelong friendships and know exactly who your friends are and exactly what they are made of.
I hope you win and you find a way to do it all.
I can't remember whether we paid for our own food, but I don't remember going out to eat on my own that much or having to figure out where my next meal was coming from.
As for the formal stuff, if you can borrow something sparkly (a rodeo queen outfit would be SO cool, Crystal), you should be fine. That might really be the only expense (unless they ask you to print out and make copies of a new story, if they have you write one for the workshop--they may handle that for you, too, now).
In any case, they do not expect you to use your prize money to pay for anything connected with the WotF events.
And thanks Kathleen. I bet there's been others that come from the poor side of the tracks who've won. But like most writers I have an over active imagination that just got wound up, and I ran with it.
Maybe I missed out on things not going to college. Can you imagine a 58 year old woman doing things like that? Not saying I can't. After all I still camp out with my horse. The horse is tied to a hitch rail or in a stall while I sleep on a twin sized air mattress that barely fits in my trailer's dressing room in between the saddle racks. Can't wait for trail riding season to get started again this year and riding with my friends.
Ahh i've never riden a horse - probaly never will - injured my back. Never camped either. so many thing i want to try...
The BIG thing about the WOTF contest is that it is the single, most important short story credit in the speculative publishing community.
That statement fills me with mixed emotions.
Two writers that I respect have told me that they avoid the contest because of its ties to Scientology. I understand that they had a heavy hand in the contest at one point. I don't know what happened (I suspect a few of those award winning judges had something to say about it) but I believe they have taken a backseat.
I don't know if this is the issue that you have with it, but if it is allow me to put forth a piece of evidence that Scientology has decided to let this be a way to honor their founder and let the contest be about picking the best fiction in Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Two of the judges (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) co-wrote Inferno. In it the MC and his guide come across L Ron Hubbard suffering in one of the pits in the 8th circle of hell. His crime? Founding a new religion.
Now how could an organization be that bad to sponsor a contest and let these two blashphemers be judges?
If it's your thing then hot damn. Otherwise, who cares?
Now how could an organization be that bad to sponsor a contest and let these two blashphemers be judges?
Niven and Pournelle aren't so much being part of it as being co-opted by it. Was Hubbard in the eight circle in Inferno or its recent sequel? I don't recall noticing him either way...
Getting past the slush readers is better than half the battle, WotF appeared to allow him to bypass that step all together.
I hate it when rules are established for me, and then disregarded by others. I get enough of that working for the post office. What's the point in doing it at all if you can be bypassed by "someone who knows someone" and not get in entirely on your own merits?
And aside from the rule changes. Come on, you think established pro's that get their stuff published in the big three get subjected to the slush readers? Brad T credits his victory in WotF for getting his foot in the door at Analog. Quality of the piece assuredly got it published
On the WoTF, Hubbard, and Scientology...I don't know whether this amounts to honoring Hubbard or a take-over of science fiction. My suspicions tend to the latter. Certainly if it helps people bypass the slushpile I'm entitled to be suspicious. I feel the same way about that as I do about, say, the Ivy League elites dominating politics and the government---an undue and unmerited influence on events and institutions that causes harm to them.
If my query letter has no credits I'm slush, but if I place in a premiere writing contest I'm credible and my story is worth reading...
It's a career stepping stone, most professional fields have them but once you're in it's up to you to prove your worth.
That being said...there were some markets I've sent to, that I realize (in retrospect, often years later) were full of cozy arrangements between the editors and the writers, that published work that was less-than-good. I want no part of that.
Short story credits are NOT necessary to break into the novel market...
Kevin said that he had something like 13 HMs and never won, but it honed his skills and forced him to write by a deadline. Now, he's prolific AND the highest paid Science Fiction author.
Brandon Sanderson never won it--I don't think he even tried--because he focused on novels. He wrote like ten novels before they published Elantris which was like the fifth or sixth he wrote.
Both David Wolverton (Farland) AND Eric Flint won the WotF and they are best sellers, but the contest AND the quality of the entrants have grown.
Joni said herself that sometimes, it just comes down to a matter of taste.
For instance: I was talking to Rebecca Moesta. She asked me if I'd had a story in Q1 and I told her I had. She asked what it was about, and I quickly explained that the premise was a juxaposition between an Alien commandant of a POW camp on earth, and a Human POW who strove to inspire his people to more than simple survival. She said, "I don't remember that story, and that's a HIGH-CONCEPT story. I judged this quarter." When I told her that it only made it to HM (which she hadn't heard when I originally said it) she deflated a bit. I got the impression she would have liked a story like that.
So, you don't HAVE to win--you don't even have to PLACE--to be publishable. It depeds a lot on K. D. Wentworth's tastes for the quarter whether you'll even get a shake, BUT, that's the way of the ENTIRE publishing world. Period.
At the seminar, they all stressed how you shouldn't marry a story or piece of prose. As a writer, you cannot guarantee which story will be bought--no matter what size it is--or when. So, if you ar going to publish, you just have to keep on writing and submitting.
Oh. On the Scientology--which has been beaten to death as an excuse for not submitting--Dave Wolverton is a LDS and he won AND was a First Reader Judge. In fact, I don't know of any judges of the WotF or IotF that ARE scientologists. The only thing religion has to do with this contest is that you should have one for your story.
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited March 28, 2010).]