October 9, 2012

The best prize ever

Have I mentioned I like to do things on whims?

Get a tattoo? Sure.  Dye my hair or chop it all off? No problem.

It's an urge I've had to FIGHT daily since I began my writer's journey.

"Hey I wrote this won't you read it?"

"Really! It's good this time, I promise!"

"Ohmigosh, I just wrote the funnest thing ever!"  [please note: spell-check does NOT disagree with the existence of the word "funnest."]

The thing is, usually when you (I) make people read something you've (I've) just written, it's awful!

But then, sometimes something spectacular can come out of it.

A few months ago, my friend Andrea emailed me a link to a short story challenge. Run on a site called LitReactor, it asked for short stories with a horrific-side.

It just so happened I'd been working on a story that almost fit the requirements a mere three days before. It was by no means finished, and I needed to add a couple more details, but I figured: why not?

I completed a draft that night and uploaded it immediately. I never let anyone else read it, before I sent it out into the world for complete strangers to view and, potentially, rip apart.

The weird thing? They...didn't.  Rip it apart, I mean. It was a cool, workshop-y contest, in which readers and writers had full access to view and comment on one another's stories. I got a bunch of comments, some with suggestions, but all were...positive. Reasonable. FRIENDLY and FUN and EXCITING.

I read a bunch of other stories, and commented on them as well. It was awesome. People had great feedback on ALL the stories, and honestly, that was enough of a reward. I was GLAD I'd posted my story on a whim.

Especially because...the people on LitReactor? They're cool! It's a great little community and networking tool, and I made some friends through the contest. It was one of the best experiences I've had as a writer thus far. It was enough.

And then....

Well, I somehow wound up one of the top three stories in the challenge. Seriously, I almost cried when I found out. I've never won any sort of writing award, and I surely didn't expect to win anything among such great company.

And then...

I found out the top three stories (mine included) would receive feedback from the one and only Chuck Palahniuk, esteemed for novels like Choke and Fight Club.

Yeah. I almost passed out.

Well, I got my feedback from him today and...well....even though he, like all the others, offered me some rather brilliant suggestions...the overall vibe...was....

....the best prize I could ever hope to win.

If you like, go check it out. Let me know what you think! Or drop a comment and tell me the best prize you've ever accidentally won. I'd love to hear about it!

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