Thursday, October 12, 2006

Outside My Comfort Zone

A current project I'm working on right now is a bit of a strange one. Primarily, I write horror. It's what I love, it's what courses through my veins and I'm helpless to its relentless need to flow down my arm and onto the page.

However, in my constant quest to become a success I'm yet to win a competition, although I've been shortlisted and won an award or two - but I need a first prize winner. So I noticed that The Age Short Story Competition was coming up and I thought I'd enter it, just to see how I go. After thinking about what to write (and wondering if I stood a chance against thousands of other entries - including the pros) I concluded that a juicy horror tale wasn't going to work here because the previous winners wrote contemporary literary stories.

Using this philosophy I sat down and penned a short story with a working title, 'Never Far Away' - don't laugh! I know it sounds mushy but it's a story that contains the theme of coping with the loss of a loved one.

By now, you're probably asking why am I writing something so different? The answer is this: if I can create effective mood and atmosphere in my horror fiction, then maybe I can use my tools to make the judge(s) cry, maybe touch them with a tear-jerker of a tale. Talk about going off at a tangent! It was a challenge, I have to admit because I usually write fast-paced pieces so I had to slow down with this one. I just hope I can pull it off - I may even submit it under a pseudonym to avoid any unnecessary embarrassment.

The first hand-written draft weighed in at 2,000 words which was comfortably under the 3,000 word limit and next comes the drafting / re-writing stage. To some, it may seem like a chore but to me I love getting out my red pen to shape and sculpture my words to create the best effects possible.

Well, the deadline is 20/10/2006 so I better get my arse moving. I'll let you know how I go.

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