This post has been transferred in from a previous blog.
Thanks to all who contributed or commented.
The munching noise you hear… the slurping, the pause, the belch… that’s me, eating my words.
I deleted a blog post today; the third favourite girlfriend, my reaction to The Longlist.
It’s true that my initial reaction to The Longlist was the same as once being called a third favourite girlfriend (school, honest guv, I didn’t marry him) — of course I wanted to bounce over the longlist, past the shortlist, and leap into the realms of publication, CV bling, and hard cash.
BUT, really, I kicked the longlist a bit too hard, and that wasn’t fair because I’m always delighted when anyone reads my stories. To be on a longlist — where someone’s not only read my story, but enjoyed it — is wonderful. As a status symbol, it might not be a shortlist or win, but it still confers a human connection; a nod and smile from a judge who’s had to select a very limited number of final winners from, often, an impossibly big pile. As a reader, I know this — but it didn’t across in my original post.
While I was grimacing at my own post, Tania Hershman commented. She said this:
As someone who has longlisted as well as been longlisted, I can tell you that the longlist for me as a judge was the most important list! That was the list that divided the great stories from the not-so-great, getting on that list was THE achievement. The step between all-entries to longlist was a GULF but between longlist to shortlist was a tiny HOP…. Does that help? No third favourite girlfriend at all, I believe I remember every story I longlisted for the Sean O’F comp, all 40.
I deleted my post, but I didn’t want to abandon that comment. It’s why I follow Tania on Twitter, read her blog, and buy her book; she holds the soul of the short story in her hands.
If I could turn back time, I would celebrate my past longlists (and the shortlists) and offer up a bigger vote of thanks to the people who read my work and said nice things. If any of the judges are reading this, I thank you now. And just to share a giggle, since the last post, I received the news that I hadn’t made it onto a longlist — one that I’d have loved to have been on. (Serves me right!)
So… big congrats to all writers who’ve made it onto lists recently, and to everyone as always — happy writing!