Today, I want to talk about few errors you should check for after submitting your story. I know someone would wonder why it shouldn’t be before submitting the story but I feel it’s vitally important to know for ourselves why our story didn’t pass after investing so much work and time. At least it will help us know whether the selection panel are credible or not.
Recently, I did a story for Commonwealth Short Story Prize entitled Gehenna in Peace. It centered on war with a different twist. After submitting, I didn’t give time to re-read and check for errors. But fortunately, few days ago I got to read the story with a new outlook and the truth was, I saw many errors in typing that weren’t there earlier. Upon this discovery, some thought ran through my mind and I think it’s worth sharing for others like me.
First, I imagined was what would have been my reaction if the result were already released and I never got to know of those errors? I would have screamed (we do that a lot), complained and exclaimed ‘Ojoro’ without even knowing my work wasn’t so perfect. I understood how we are often quick to cast blame at the judges and panelist of such competitions, essays and what-have-you. Many of us don’t take the effort to check and re-check for seeming errors in our works from a critic’s point of view. Because if we do, we will discover our errors and brace up on how to improve ahead of other opportunities.
So, is this saying that if one feel cheated they should stay mute? By all right, No.
Hence my point on this is that we should first be our own critic. No work of Art is perfect, ask Shakespeare, if he were alive I’m sure we would have had revised works of his. Truly, there are always things to improve on, vocabulary, grammar, structure, use of tenses, figures of speech and a host of others.
Secondly, we should learn the art of letting our works sit and ferment for some time before we put it out for public display, this is a matter for another time. This process allows the writer gather more experience on the theme and with that he/she can come back to the work to sieve out particles and preserve the juice of it. I perceive that we’re just too much in a hurry to hit the next level and that’s not bad it in itself but then for any Artistic creation to be sublime and stand the test of time, we need to always give time for our work to incubate.
On this note, if you’ve written for a competition like me and yet you haven’t hit any prize, just relax and re-strategize. Someday we shall hit the mark and the rest shall be history.