This is just a 1000-word short story. Barely worth mentioning, in normal situations. But it taught me quite a lot.
3. A Trigger and a Flash of Inspiration Can Take You a Long Way
The theme of the Fantasticon competition was “Eclipse.” So I rolled with it, already knowing things like Lagrange points and perpetual eclipses and some of the specifics of Hubble and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. I just imagined a situation regarding all those things, in perpetual darkness. It was the shortest submission of the competition (they did tell me that cause I know some of the people involved), and it was as long as it needed to be. Sure, I could pad it out, add a second twist. But my gut feeling was to leave it as-is.
2. Even Your Mentor Can Be Wrong About Things
After I wrote this and got awarded, I gave it to my mentor to read. His notes, always on point, were that it was pretty transparent to the avid sci-fi reader and that I should add in another twist at the end. I respect that opinion but I think that it should stay as it is. I don’t take his opinion lightly, this is a man who has had international awards for short stories, got published on Asimov, got translated abroad, studies short stories by the dozen and has actually taught a paid seminar or two about writing short fiction. Honestly, this is as close to expert opinion as you can get. But, ultimately, the creation is my own. So I rolled with my gut and got rewarded.
1. A Story That Resonates Will Get Readers Excited
I put Cosmophobia up online and even got it produced as an audiobook. Book is too long for this, so, audioshort? Blergh. Anyway, I got this produced by Bridger Conklin and got a gritty performance out of it. Now, the story is the top rated ever, on Amazon, on Audible and on Goodreads (At the time of writing this, it has a 4.4 star rating on both Amazon and Goodreads.) Plus it sells on its own, despite being so short.
The whole thing taught me to have courage and faith in my craft. I can only hope I’ll be able to crank out new stories that work as well as this one did.