Congratulations to J Gavin Allan, winner of the ‘water’ challenge with her delicate reflection on lost innocence, Observations of Nước Hoa.
Jaye wins a copy of Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.
Thanks to all who took the time to enter this round – there were some crackers in the mix. And warm thanks to our guest judge this month, Tamara Hunter, a veteran journalist, deft hand at fictional quirk and regular contributor to Waxings.
Tamara was given only the titles and text of each entry, without author names, and agreed not to read the posted versions so was not aware of ‘likes’ or comments.
Here are her comments on the round:
The theme of ‘water’ was a fantastic one, eliciting a broad range of approaches and emotions. The resulting entries, a number of them clever, fascinating takes on the theme, reflect the different responses water can evoke in us – its positive cleansing or healing qualities and its role as a giver of life, its musical quality, its ability to instil fear, to mask discomfort or danger, to distort reality, or to consume and wash away that which we cannot face – indeed, our very selves. There is a great deal of wisdom and power associated with water, and the winning entry reflected these elements. A piece of gentle, wistful reminiscence, it still packed a punch as a tale of innocence lived and lost. The writer managed to capture both the soft, sensual, cleansing side of water – its purity lent to the blithe and innocent souls who bathed in it daily – and the danger lurking beneath the surface. There was a simplicity and a smoothness to the writing, a feeling at the end of having peeked into a beautiful scene, and sadness at what had been lost. Congratulations to the winner, and kudos to all who entered – the high quality of entries made this a difficult decision.
The Next Challenge
The next round of the 500-word challenge is now open and the new theme is ‘earth’.
Write up to 500 words around the theme and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight, 4 July 2011 (AWST, GMT+8) for a chance to win Self-Editing for Fiction Writers : How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King.
This month’s prize selection was inspired by recent discussion about editing – both in the general news, as a result of some Australian newspapers outsourcing their sub-editing functions, and on my Twitter feed, where writerly types have been reflecting on the importance of self-editing.
In both circumstances, skilled editing is vital to producing a good quality outcome. And, in both, there seems to be declining appreciation of that fact.
As a former newspaper journalist, I know the value of good sub-editors. They ensure clarity, accuracy, consistency and, importantly, help to avoid undue legal attention. They are responsible for design, layout and, of course, those attention-grabbing headlines.
I’ve been known to curse long and loud after my writing has been massacred by an unthinking or uncaring sub. (Drama queen anyone?)
But those times are far out-numbered by the occasions on which a diligent sub has averted calamity by spotting a problem or has simply made my copy read more clearly. That last skill is priceless in both non-fiction and fiction.
Text Publishing editor Mandy Brett addressed the importance of editors in both fields in a recent speech at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre. Here’s an edited extract on the Bookseller+Publisher blog, Fancy Goods. It’s an interesting read.
Opportunities For Writers
- Fable contest – fables less than 1200 words, set in a fictional country on the day before the final battle in a devastating war. $1000 prize. Judged by Paulo Coelho (!)
- National Year of Reading 2012/Adult Learners’ Week 2011 writing competition (Australia) – short stories up to 3000 words. $45,000 in prizes for published, unpublished, student and mature-age writers.
- Questions Writing Prize (Australia) – for writers under 23 years old, 1500 to 2000 words. $2000 prize.
- Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards (Victoria) – $1000 prize in each of the following categories: short story, poetry, novella, graphic short story, e-book.
- Post-Mortem Press – short stories up to 8000 words for Dead Souls, ‘an anthology of horror fiction associated with the aftermath of a loved one become a zombie’. Also, novel length submissions in any dark fiction genre.
- The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog – short stories up to 3000 words. One work to be published on the site each day of July, 2011.
If you want more of these kinds of links, faster, follow @waxings on Twitter and/or ‘like’ Waxings on Facebook, where I share these bits and pieces as soon as I spot them. *Bear in mind that I don’t know any more than you do about these offerings, I’m just passing on interesting-looking links.
Welcome to our newest contributor, Serena Wyle, who just missed the deadline for the ‘water’ challenge with Saltwater so it has been posted in the ‘Short Fiction’ category. Serena would appreciate your constructive feedback.
As always, I look forward to reading and posting your words.