Thought one. It's brutal. One minute you feel you're part of a project - a co-conspirator if not a contributor - and the next you're just another reject. Except it's not just another rejection because unlike most other kinds of submission, you can't take what you wrote and do something else with it. It was written for a purpose, to a brief, almost, and now it's what...? Fan fic, before the fact? (Perhaps, once the competition is finished and the book is out, the unchosen many should set up their own suburb: an unwanted, unsightly but unavoidable strip development beyond Shallow Creek's city limits.)
Thought two. Why does it hurt so much? Because it was thrilling while it lasted. Because it was fun, following the guidelines, poring over the map and the character sheets, trying to work within those boundaries without seeing them as limitations. And knowing that all the time there were all sorts of other people working towards the same goal, in different ways. It was like being in a writers' room - except with the other writers veiled and silent.
Thought three. How to take something positive from this. Bite your lip and buy the book. Learn what it was that the chosen few did better than you. And then, if you don't think they did, let it fester. Lurk the shadows of Shallow Creek forever!
I've been writing for as long as I can remember (I think my first letter was a P). I got a degree writing about other people's writing and ever since then I've earned a living writing commercially, one way or another. But I never stopped writing and refining my own stuff. I just didn't do anything with it, until now.