Recently my local writing club ran a fanfiction contest. I'd never actually written fanfiction, though I'd played with ideas and read some excellent works. And what's more, I had an intriguing concept, suggested by someone on the internet:
An alternate Harry Potter timeline, where the main characters aren’t around to stop the bad guys, and Voldemort is unopposed in gathering his missing Horcruxes so they can’t be destroyed. Except someone was left behind in Hogwarts: the kid from Home Alone.
I did my research on spells, characters, and booby traps, and I managed to cram a lot of fun into the small wordcount limit. Then I was delighted to find that the judges enjoyed it just as much as I did! It won first place.
The grand prize was half the entrance fee to the Mendocino County Writers' Conference, this coming August. I've never been to this particular event, but I look forward to everything it has to offer, including the opportunity to pitch an unpublished book or two to literary agents.
If I end up getting an agent and a path to stardom thanks to the silliest of fanfictions, I will laugh forever. (Here's hoping!)