In the last episode, our writers were hit with a big one. A 3000-5000 word horror story. The theme: Music. They were given the extra time, of course, Emz is no monster. But it must have taken a lot out of them. After whipping up 5000 words worth of story… plus editing … and rewriting … and then having it publicly judged, surely they are feeling exhausted.
“For the 5000-word story–man, that was tough! I’m a procrastinator by nature, so of course, I didn’t start writing it until a few days before it was due. I jammed-packed all the emotions a writer goes through while writing a longer story. Basically going from ‘Ooh, this could work as an idea!’ to ‘Dear God, what have I done?’ in less than 24 hours. A new personal best!”-Jess
“I always feel good when I write. And after I’ve finished something, if it will be read or not, if it’s good or bad, regardless of whatever circumstances surround a piece I’ve written, I just keep writing. I think that’s the only thing a writer can do.” -JC
We had some great snippets here. All of them unique and left me wanting to hear the rest. The uses of the genre and the theme were stretched and I really enjoyed the fact that I was surprised by the story ideas. Alternative worlds were Music is like a drug to Japanese folklore. Their stories were so different, it was hard to believe they were given the same set of instructions. But they all ran with the same theme, keeping to the rules. Our semi-finalists last week were:
- Cherry Blossoms and Yokai by Adele Marie Park
- Scordatura by Jess Landry
- Audio Addict by Daphne Strasert
- Requiem in Frost by Jonathan Fortin
- Audition by Naching T. Kassa
- The Agent by Harry Husbands
- The Lament of the Piano Man by AE Kirk
This week’s mini prize was not so mini. Publication in the upcoming short story anthology, Crescendo of Darkness. To make the prize even more special, the other contestants were banned from submitting their stories for the anthology. As much as this hurt Emz to do, the stories were so good that she would have liked more of them in the anthology.
Let’s have a quick chat about next episode’s challenge. A 900-1000 word non-fiction blog post on something horrific that the writer experienced. This could be a haunting, a phobia, anything that they have experienced that they found horrifying. It will be judged based on: blog-ability, topic choice, and writing quality.
This week’s challenge is a little more personal than the rest. Even though what writers do is personal, mostly we can hide behind that banner of “fiction”. I asked the writers how they feel about baring something so personal?
This also made me think about privacy and people’s comfort levels with how much they are willing to let people in. As writers, we are generally introverts, but with success comes other things that introverts don’t tend to like. So I asked the writers if being in the public eye is something they feel will be difficult?
“This week’s challenge was difficult. You’re baring a piece of your soul to the world and you’re hoping they understand your point of view. My experience happened over 30 years ago and may seem funny to those who read it. The things we fear may seem ridiculous to others or just as frightening. Sometimes, we don’t choose our fears. They choose us. (By the way, you’re talking to someone whose first fear was a flying sandwich with vampire teeth. Did he choose me? Or, did I choose him? It’s the eternal question.)
I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble being in the public eye. Like most people, I’m nervous at first. But, after a while, I turn into a huge ham. Maybe, that’s why the sandwich chose me.” -Naching
“In real life, I am a total introvert, practically like a monk living high in the mountains away from civilization at times, but writing isn’t like being a rock star or movie star. Most of our “public” attention comes online which is a much easier animal for us introverts to withstand. I don’t know how I’ll stand up to a convention or book signing at some point but armed with my anxiety pills I should be fine. LOL” -Feind
“I’m not a fan of writing about my personal life and would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to just make some stuff up. I’m sure that’s a viable option, but it defeats the purpose. I think in writing about your own experiences, you’re saying: “Hey, I may write fiction, but I’m real.” and that’s too valuable a thing to be phony about. I’m no good at it, but I get real pleasure from reading about writers’ lives whom I admire and so if I ever gained any kind of readership, I’d want to be able to do that for them too. I don’t see myself being in the public eye at any point (I’m talking tabloid man-boob close-ups) but if by some off-chance I ever was, I’d be swift in retreating to the mountains for a while until it all blew over.” -Harry
Episode #142 meant Naching took home her second win! Congrats #teamnaching! You can go and check out a snippet of Naching’s winning story on our website. Remember that if you wish to learn more about the contestants, the past, and present, you can do so at our contestants’ page. Have a peek at their websites or blogs, connect with them via the social media.
We have a little sad news this week. Our fearsome thirteen has been cut down to the Twisted Twelve, with our beautiful cosplaying Riley leaving. I hope that, as I do with all of the writers, that this is not the last we hear of her. I wish nothing but success for all of our contestants.
So, halfway through the contest now and Jonathan still holds the lead with a score of 399. Naching is close on his heels with 375 and coming up into third is Daphne with 369. It is still a close contest. Each week every contestant get a score and just because they don’t win that particular challenge doesn’t mean they can’t take home the big prize. Consistently good can still win out. If you want to check out how close the scores are, you can do so right here.
Until next episode, Addicts, stay spooky!