Friday, March 23, 2007

Name in Print, Sort of.

You toil at the keyboard. Mashing the keyboard mercilessly; plotting, revealing character, spouting metaphors, crafting with all your writing ability to create readable fiction. Stuff that people would actually want to read. Not just stuff that coworkers and close friends feel compelled to cursorily glance through, nodding ever so slightly with a carefully crafted smile of 'enjoyment'Stuff that would entertain, and maybe even get a chuckle.

Maybe someday, someday it'll see print.

Then a cryptic email from the Ubyssey yesterday, something along the lines of 'we were able to fit everything in'.

My heart leapt.

Could it mean that my Space Cowboy piece would actually be published in a real live (student) paper?! That was pretty darned exciting. Sure, I've made my way into the department newsletters, which was pretty cool, but this is the first time my fiction had seen print.

On the other hand, they were printing absolutely everything. It wasn't like there was quality control on it. I was just as likely to see haikus on warp core field generators, I'm sure, than see some talent from a budding Asimov. But it's still something to see your stuff in print.

So lunchtime I run to the SUB, and pick up three or four copies of the Ubyssey's Friday edition. And lo and behold, they didn't only print the hallowed winners, but also the likes of lowly folks like me. If this was track & field in grade school, I'd be getting one of those ubiquitous 'Participant' ribbons. Maybe with a cursory phrase at the bottom informing me that I "Get An 'A' for Effort!".

I ruffle through the papers frantically. Passing by the new upgrades to the campus, the current state of the UBC Basketball team (men and women's), and all other sundry things. And wham, there it is. My name, finally in print. My piece, which I thought wasn't entirely atrocious, in print. "Hayden Smith : Sardonic Space Cowboy".


Except the title looks odd. "Sardonic Space Cowboy". Somewhere deep inside me dies slightly. I know what's going to be next. The next line smacks me like a buckshot of kryponite upside Superman's unsuspecting buttocks: "by, Hayden Smith"


Here's first place, second place, third place, and mine. If you want to see what mine looks like in print, here's the two pdf files that have my story.

It was pretty interesting to read all the pieces. They were all fairly solid, IMHO. I really can't say how the first three won and the others didn't. My only quibble was that many of them didn't seem to have a plot perse. I'm one to talk, I write extremely simple plots. But at least there is one. Then again, maybe the style of 'not a whole lot of plot' is normal? Or maybe (probably) I'm just bitter.

I'll let y'all read and tell me what you think (as if I'll get an objective opinion here, I can see your nervous smiles and nods from here!).


The Nighthawk said...

Dude, that sucks about how you got credited. As for your placement in the contest, I thought you had a more enjoyable story, but the winners were all 'art papers'. Very polished, making a socio-political comment about modern life, paying lip-service to the sci-fi genre, and generally not very interesting or engaging. I wanted to know more about your character after reading. Only the future-man in the first prize winner made me interested at all, and he wasn't the main character of the piece of fiction.

Hold your head up high... Hayden Smith. Hehe.

Niteowl said...

Oh, I didn't mind so much. They're all volunteers manning the newspaper after all. For some reason I couldn't stop grinning seeing my characters name as the author.

And yeah, my piece definitely had a pulpy feel to it, compared to the others. But that's ok. I mean, the issue had Starfox, Darth Vader, and an Zerg Hydralisk, how high brow were they expecting? :)

Just gotta keep on keeping on.

andrea said...

When I originally read your story in the Ubyssey I was ready to reel into you for not crediting yourself appropriately. Then I thought, "tsk tsk tsk...nom de plume, the niteowl and his minxish ways." Alas, turns out to be all due to an editing mishap, so I guess you're not shy or being tricksy! At any rate, congrats on getting it printed. BTW, Interesting depiction of your main character in the illustration! FANCY DRAWRING!

Niteowl said...

Yeah, it was an interesting take on the character. I'm somewhat embarassed to say I don't picture my characters from head to toe when I write them; so it was kind of a breath of fresh air to see the artist's interpretation.