Short-listed But Not Short-Changed

I’m baaaack! I’ve been away from my blog for almost a year now – and it hardly seems like 12 months has nearly passed.WordItOut-word-cloud-2263779

Something cool did happen in the last year in regards to my writing. I was short-listed for the Geist Magazine Can’t Lit Without It CanLit Short Story Contest.

Fiction is the art form of human yearning, no matter how long or short that work of fiction is.

Robert Olen Butler, from Short Short Theory, Narrative Magazine

I can still remember waiting for the bus in a drafty and frigid TTC station when the email popped up. Sometimes that little “ping” from my phone is the last thing I want to hear – but other times it’s the only thing I want to hear.

Hi Christine,  Hope this finds you well. Regarding the Geist Can’t Lit Without It CanLit Short Story Contest: your entry, “Beautiful Losers 2.0,” was named Honourable Mention! Thanks so much for entering, our editorial team really liked your work.

It was really thrilling to read I was short-listed but more thrilling was that the editorial team really liked my work! That really lifted my heart.

Everyone who submitted had to generate a story using the CanLit Premise Generator.

I kept generating premises until something took hold of my imagination.

Not a lie – but I knew that story was pretty good. It felt like it just came to my mind fully formed and I was simply typing as quickly as I could to keep up with it.

What’s also cool is that the competition was for Flash Fiction – stories less than 500 words.

TO BE BRIEF, it is a short short story and not a prose poem because it has at its center a character who yearns.

Robert Olen Butler, from Short Short Theory, Narrative Magazine

I highly recommend checking out a story premise generator if you’re feeling stuck and want some inspiration or direction for your writing. It was the first time I had ever used one and it was galvanizing.


Here are a few story premise generators to try out:

Story Idea Generator

Writers Plot Idea Generator

The premise that prompted my story was:

Three undergraduates from diverse backgrounds move into an apartment Leonard Cohen once lived in but also, one of them is a robot.

Winning would have been amazing of course – but when something you’ve created gets a nod by people you respect – it makes you feel like what you have to offer is worthwhile. When you put a piece of yourself on the line to be judged – it’s really uplifting to receive encouragement.


Leonard Cohen wrote his second novel Beautiful Losers on the Greek island of Hydra.

But just be careful of relying on that particular type of encouragement as a means to an end.

Encouragement doesn’t have to come from winning a competition. It can come from sharing your work with people you respect – like a writer’s group, or a class – and hearing their reactions.

It’s tough to hear criticism but take it in stride. Listen, take notes and then put it out of your mind for a day. Get a little perspective. And then look at your piece and the notes from the group or class with a fresh eye and no hangover.

What do you think? Is there something worthwhile there? If you’re convinced the comments are garbage – then forget them. But I have a feeling that won’t necessarily be the case.

Unless you’re Hannah from Girls.

The scene of her first ever class at the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop is hilarious and cringe worthy. But I wouldn’t exactly let Hannah be your guide as the best way to respond to critique – even if her classmates were pretty bitchy.

If you’re giving a critique, feel free to give your true thoughts but try with some effort to keep it kind and constructive. And hope that others will do the same for you.

What are your experiences on giving a critique or being on the receiving end in regards to your writing? Did you feel comfortable giving your honest opinion? How did you take criticism and what did you do with the feedback? Let me know!


Photo Credits: Pixabay



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