Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest

Earlier this week a friend of mine tagged me on Facebook about the Raymond Carver short story contest put on by Crave Magazine. The prizes are great, the exposure for the winners even better, and the quality of the work submitted is usually above par. We decided to give it a go.

So I went on over to the site to check out past winners and see the guide lines. Now I was already doubting my writing ability after reading the past winners. Especially when it comes to short stories. I can crank out novella and novel length stuff, but short stories have always gave me a run for the money. Which is crazy because you would think that would be easier. Not for this girl. Short stories make me nuts. I like to take my time to develop my story lines, I like plot. Restricted word counts drive fear into my heart. But hey, it's an exercise in challenging yourself right? Right? Yah than there is this one, "must be literary fiction, no genre writing." Ahhhhhhhh!!!

Well that explains a lot. I think literary fiction I think The Old Man and The Sea, the Bronte sisters, John Updike, leather chairs and country manors. I think contemporary stories with crazy women pushing shopping carts of limes down the street for random reasons we never get by the end of the story. It's certainly not vampires, werewolf, fallen angels, paranormal hunting's and dystopian society. Because literary fiction is more character driven and deep hidden meaning. I am more a genre writer, I am plot driven, I write first person POV. I like my stories to entertain and flow fast. Sure I like to read literary fiction. But the last few years I have not really been into it. I have been hitting the YA shelf and the contemporary romance. That's where I tend to write.

But I am getting excited at the prospect of challenging myself. My chances of winning may be slim to none. I keep thinking of my high school creative writing teacher who wrote PLOT in big words across the blackboard. And my college professor who made me write from the perspective of a lady watching her own funeral. Right there, two different genres. It will be interesting to see where the voices in my head lead me. I put a little sneak peek of what I have so far down below. Doubt I will be able to sleep tonight.

  Heather stood outside the cabin and surveyed the scene. The cold wind swirled her hair around her face and dragged her tears at odd angles down her cheeks. He was never late. Across the brook the horses grazed and played in the field in front of Mary’s house. The smoke from her chimney was barley visible through the dense trees. For once Heather was glad of the close proximity of the main house, other times it felt like an intrusion. She glanced back over her shoulder to the trail she had just hiked up. No sign of Elliot. Would he be mad if she went in by herself? The mid February sun was no match for the wind and she had to get out of the cold. The old porch creaked under the weight of her first step, she glanced longingly at the Adirondack chairs covered in snow. (See, so not literary!!) 

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