I wrote “A Wasted Crisis” nearly two years ago, based on a prompt (characters try to repair something) from On The Premises. while upstate NY in the height of Covid. I loved writing the story and thought it came out okay.
Sadly, I didn’t follow the contest rules and included my name on the submission (different contests and journals have different rules for names, page numbers, spacing… it’s like a big game), so it wasn’t considered. For a small fee I had the piece critiqued. The editors implied it would have been a finalist had I followed the rules. This pushed me to work on the edits they suggested and resubmit elsewhere.
There is a moral question raised in the story, so I submitted to After Dinner Conversation. And it received an honorable mention… but wasn’t published. I submitted the piece to at least ten different pubs over the next year, but couldn’t find any traction.
Addendum: This piece got reads from the editors at On The Premises and 3 random readers from Scribophile (when I still posted work there). The editor and one reader were involved in IT security… and their comments were interesting. I tried to paint the picture of a family-run business, with a bare-bones, 2-person IT team… but they couldn’t get past the lack of big-corporate security teams and approaches. Is this a weakness in the story or an interesting example of readers’ experiences and biases? I wanted to debate them, as I felt their crits regarding the mechanics of small-shop IT were wrong… but they are the readers. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. An interesting lesson.