It’s that time again the deadline for this quarters Writers of the Future is July the 1st, only a couple of weeks left. I decided to take up my short story pen again at the end of May and write a new story for the competition. The Writers of the Future competition is the biggest short story competition I know of. It’s judged by a panel of famous authors and the first prize is $1000 dollars and there is annual prize of $5000. But the thing that makes it such a great opportunity is the week long workshop the winners attend. The chance to learn from industry professionals and network with agents could be just thing any author needs to get their book finally published.
I’ve had an idea kicking around in the back of mind for a while that I decided to turn into a short story it came in at just over 14000 words and took two weeks to write and edit. The basic concept was inspired by the riddle of steel in Conan the Barbarian. It’s set in a desert wasteland where after death people stand before the gods and are asked the question of their existence if they answer correctly they can enter paradise or go back to life with a new riddle to solve. If a person answers wrong they are cast back into the world less than they were before. Fail seven times and their soul burns forever.
I decided to document my writing process this time as well as I continually strive to become a better more experienced writer.
- First Draft – The goal is just to finish. I do almost no editing or reworking while I’m writing the first draft. Bad grammar, typos and badly written scenes it all stays.
- Second Draft – I go through it slowly fixing all the typos and mistakes. I rework the parts that don’t sound right and change up things as I go.
- Paper Draft – Now I print off the entire thing with pen in hand a do a full edit and rewrite. The downside of going to paper is it takes a lot of time to retype all my notes and changes but I find it easier to spot mistakes and get the language sounding the way I want.
- Forth Draft – Re assess the story structure and find any remaining mistakes. I decided at this point to move a couple of sections around and add a whole new section adding 3000 words to the overall story.
- Final Polish – I don’t know about the rest of you but I always find more typos every time I go back to edit. So I always do one final pass to try and find those last few mistakes.
After many hours of work my new short story Riddle of Flesh is done! Here’s hoping it places in the top 3 places in this quarter’s competition. Even if it doesn’t I feel I’ve gained another +70 Writing XP