Well, this week sees the announce­ment of the res­ults for the BBC End of Story Competition. For those who don’t know too much about this, a num­ber of best­selling authors con­trib­uted incom­plete stor­ies for would-be writers to fin­ish. A book of these incom­plete stor­ies was dis­trib­uted through­out book­shops in the UK.

Writers com­pleted the stor­ies and sub­mit­ted their half-mas­ter­pieces to the BBC. You can see a bios of the win­ners of the Shaun Hutson story (the one I com­pleted).

This whole busi­ness brings back the frus­tra­tion of com­pet­i­tions. You send off your entry — usu­ally accom­pan­ied by a fee, though not in the case of ‘End of Story’ — and hope against hope that some­thing will come of it. Nothing ever does, of course, even when (in the case of some writ­ing friends of mine) an entry is very good, argu­ably bet­ter than the win­ner. This whole lot­tery aspect of writ­ing is one of its biggest frus­tra­tions. The way to deal with it is to keep play­ing the game. How do you beat long odds? By repe­ti­tion and bloody-minded­ness.

It hasn’t escaped the author that this how the mind of a Lotto play­er works.

This week I’ve sub­mit­ted a story called ‘A is for Apple’ to Interzone, a key­stone in the arch of British sci­ence fic­tion. I’ve also sub­mit­ted a radio script to the BBC. We’ll see how it goes. No doubt the same way as my ‘End of Story’ sub­mis­sion, but if I were a pess­im­ist I wouldn’t be a writer.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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