Behind the Books: The God’s Eye

I wrote “The God’s Eye” in a notebook during my regular train commute to my corporate job with a book retail company in downtown Toronto. For the most part, I squeezed it in during the ride home, when I had a better chance of getting a seat, instead of standing and trying to keep my balance without bumping into anyone else crowded around me.

Other than some really early (and unpublished) work, “The God’s Eye” is the only piece I ever wrote by hand before transcribing it. Everything else I’ve done has been typed directly into some kind of device.

I didn’t do this out of any kind of romantic notion. It was just easier to slip a small notebook into my bag, instead of lugging around a laptop. (Even when I did get a seat on the train, I had to stay on my tiptoes to keep my knees from banging against the person sitting across from me.)

“The God’s Eye” came to me as an idea story—something that stood apart from anything else I was working on. For as long as I can remember, my husband (Mark) has told me to write short stories in addition to my novels. Up until around this point, I usually responded by telling him I wasn’t good at writing short stories (despite having won a local contest in my teenage years with a fantasy short). Besides, fantasy lends itself to sweeping, epic books, not measly short stories, right? (lol)

In a partial effort to prove him wrong, I wrote another fantasy short story called “The Unclean” and submitted it to a couple of larger writing contests (which is a whole other story). Anyway, after “The Unclean” placed third in the Writers’ Journal annual fiction contest, Mark seemed to have some ground to stand on.

So I thought maybe I would see whether that win was a fluke.

I entered the same contest again the following year with “The God’s Eye.” This was an international contest that included all types of fiction going head-to-head, under a blind judging system. (The author’s name was only included on a separate contest form with contact info for administration, and was nowhere on the manuscript itself.)

After some confusion (on my part) about my submission the year before with “The Unclean,” I decided to keep a close eye on the online result postings the next year. I had submitted “The God’s Eye” in February, and by July, I found myself checking the Writers’ Journal website pretty much every day to see if that year’s winners had been announced.

Somewhere toward the middle of the month, when I was home alone, I finally saw a new link for that year’s contest winners.

I clicked through and started scrolling. This was my reaction. (I kid you not.)

First Place: The God’s Eye

Wow, someone used the same title as me for their story? That’s kinda freaky

…by Jacquelyn Smith

And they spell their name the same as me?? What are the odds?

…[My Town], Ontario, Canada

OMG, and they live in the same town?? Wait a minute…

Even after I managed to convince myself that the odds of someone else entering the same contest with the exact same name, exact same story title, from the exact same town (of roughly 100,000 people) were slim to none, I still didn’t quite believe it until I got my package in the mail, which included a copy of the magazine with my story in it, an award certificate, and my prize money.

(I still kind of wondered afterward if someone was going to contact me to tell me it was a mistake. Again, my experience the year before had messed me up in this regard. I’ll go into this more when I post “The Unclean” as the Free Fiction Feature.)

Long story short, I’ve written lots of short fiction since (and really enjoyed it!), so it turns out Mark *might* have known what he was talking about. (Just don’t tell him, OK?) 😉


**”The God’s Eye” is the Free Fiction Feature for May 2020. You can read it for free on this site for one month only. This short story also comes in ebook and paperback formatboth on its own, and as part of the Rubicon short story collection. You can find “The God’s Eye” at your preferred online retailer here, or buy it direct from the author. You can find retailer links to Rubicon here, or buy it direct from the author.**


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Posted by Jacquelyn

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