How Something Slightly Vexatious to Me May Turn to Your Advantage

Those of you who’ve read my twitter feed know that I have submitted an entry to Athanatos Christian Ministries 2015 Novel Contest.  With the deadline at 12 PM today, I ardently burned the midnight oil in finishing off my novel and submitted it with around an hour to spare.  I might have used that time to make more adjustments, but my brain felt and still feels rather fuzzy after only two hours of sleep.  And so, after returning from a half-day at work, I was speaking to a friend of mine who made the comment that I had until the 20th to make improvements to my novel.  At first, I did not understand him; but, checking out the website again, it now indicates that the deadline has been extended to October 20, 2014!  I could have had another fortnight to write the book!

Shippou on Inuyasha's Head

In a way, it affords me the opportunity to advertise the contest, and the extension itself indicates that the organizers would like more submissions.  I had felt guilty for not doing so after my friend reminded me of it through a Facebook post on October 1st, but I felt five days was not enough time unless someone–like me–was nearing the completion of his novel.  But, with a fortnight, a very gung-ho individual could write an entire novel.  Their suggested length is 40,000 to 90,000 words, which means one would have to write 2,900 words per diem.  Though rather high, such an output is possible for certain people.  I invite those of my dear readers would hold to the Christian faith and have a novel in progress to submit their work.  Even people outside of the United States may submit an entry as long as the story is written in good English.

Dog x Scissors

I mentioned that I felt guilty for not mentioning the contest sooner.  That is because Athanatos Christian Ministries began the contest with a very laudable goal: to offer talented Christian writers an avenue to publish their work.  The best stories these days seem to be written by people with secular humanistic beliefs, and this has a discernible influence on American culture.  We need more people who adhere to the principles of Christian culture to not only teach doctrine, but to also help people see the nobility of Christian ethics and beliefs through story.  Few mediums are capable of influencing the heart and mind as deeply as story.

A picture of the master himself.

A picture of the master himself.

Though, I have a few caveats for those who are now interested in entering the contest.  First, your essential goal should be to write a story, not to preach.  The values you hold in your heart will be apparent in the story.  No need to belabor the truths of the Faith to the detriment of telling a good tale.  The organizers say that a work like Tolkien’s would be acceptable.  The Christianity in his works is hidden very well, but this does not change the fact that its foundation is Christian.  Whatever you do, don’t bore the judges!

May you have good luck and much fortitude in writing!


8 comments on “How Something Slightly Vexatious to Me May Turn to Your Advantage

  1. Josh W says:

    Indeed, I haven’t heard of this one before. Unfortunately, I’ve got nothing in the works, and school and life would get in the way of cranking out an entire draft within two weeks.

    I am, however, considering NaNoWriMo this year (it would be my third time).


    • The third time? Then, you have two novel length manuscripts on hand? That’s impressive! As long as you haven’t gotten a publishing house to accept them, the contest rules would allow you to submit those. I’m sure they’d love to read them. One of the judges complains to me that most of the novels bore them to tears. (Naturally, this same judge won’t be the one judging my novel.)

      And if you have managed to have them published, by all means tell me how I might obtain them. Reading fiction by you sounds interesting!


      • Josh W says:

        Unfortunately my two NaNo novels are not in good shape. The first one was so embarrasingly bad that I erased it. My pace got so slow for the second one that by the time the month was up I only had a few rough chapters complete (although I think the quality of them was substantially higher; my writing had developed quite a bit in the intervening years). Those got shelved, and I have yet to try to finish the story.

        My dabbling in fiction has in general been more haphazard and abortive than nonfiction forms – very much contrary to my teenage dream of being a novelist with a day job. But, who knows, perhaps the upcoming month will produce something interesting.


      • I was about the same way when it came to writing novels. There are a couple of drafts from when I was in grammar school of the beginnings of novels which were never completed. During high school and college, I wrote a 331 page epic set in the same world as the novel I submitted. A very ungainly thing. Perhaps one day I shall sit down to sift the wheat from the chaff, but the amount of effort necessary to create a cohesive tale out of that monster scares me.

        May your third attempt at NanoWriMo produce something great. But, remember not to let the perfect get in the way of the good!


  2. […] How Something Slightly Vexatious to Me May Turn to Your Advantage […]


  3. jubilare says:

    “No need to belabor the truths of the Faith to the detriment of telling a good tale.” Yep, this!
    Good luck in publishing. Even if this does not pan out, do not give up. The folks I know who are published all emphasize persistence.


    • Thank you! Persistence does pay off. In order to keep my momentum going, I’m going to work on the other draft I have for a novel. I just need to find the notebook where I wrote it first. Sometimes I hate being so disorganized!


  4. […] Man’s Clotted Clay might be a familiar title, since this book was submitted to Athanatos Christian Ministries’ 2015 Novel Contest and made the semi-finals.  As such, it has received extensive editing by one of the contest judges […]


Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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