As the heading suggests, the last few days have brought both good and bad news.
To deal with the bad news first, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens rejected the story I sent them. This was one of the quickest rejections I've ever had, and came in the form of a polite but firm No Thanks. It would have been good to get a bit more feedback, but I guess they're busy people. The sting of rejection always smarts, but in this case I'm more upset (too strong a word, but you know what I mean) about the fact that I misjudged the market. It's much easier to deal with a rejection if you sent your story in on a wing and a prayer, with no real insight into whether it might be what they're looking for. In fact, I'd say this is one of the big pluses of competitions - you just give it your best shot and hope it works out. When you (as I had, in this case) carefully research a number of different magazines and pick the one that seems like a really good fit, it's a real slap in the face when it comes straight back at you. Still, nothing ventured, and all that.
Okay, moving on to the good news... Writers' Forum have awarded my story, Hotel Subterraneana, second place in their monthly competition. This is very exciting news for me, as my work's never been published in a magazine before (well, when I was a kid I entered a competition to design a monster for a computer game. The magazine printed a photo of the hundreds of entries strewn across a desk, and you could just about make out my monster's legs in the top left corner). The fact that it's a writers' mag, too, is encouraging - sort of like having the teacher read out your work in class. I'm looking forward to seeing what the editor has to say about the story; one of the best aspects of WF's recent format change is the critique of the three stories chosen for that issue.
It'll be in the November issue of the magazine, which should be in the shops in about three weeks - just in time for, er, October.