I am a drop of milk in a glass bottle when I submit my novel, hopeful of rising above the sludge (slush pile) at the bottom.
I rise toward the top of the bottle as my novel is named a finalist.
Being shortlisted (short list semi-finalist) is like reaching the bottom layer of the cream at the top of the bottle.
Now, my novel has to push through the cream (all the semi-finalist's novels) to reach the top of that layer in the bottle to attain one of the coveted five first place category positions.
At the very top of the bottle, pushing the lid off is the position of Grand Prize Winner.
I still have a ways to go with Black King Takes White Queen