Months ago, I found out about the yearly fiction contest over at Highlights for Children magazine. This year, the theme was "holidays".
It was a win-win. So I sat down and scribbled a little story, working around a lovely holiday--Easter--and weaving in culture from a favorite country--Ukraine.
And it won! "Easter with Baba Lena" won the Highlights for Children Yearly Fiction Contest!
I still don't believe it.
But here's the link to prove it. It's one of three winning stories.
One more thing:
I've grown up with the Bible verse about "pride goeth before a fall". Mama always said "don't brag on yourself." My German roots and Mennonite culture don't like making this announcement. But as a friend said, maybe my news can inspire others to work toward their dreams.
Sometimes dreams come true.
I don't often use story prompts, but when I do, I find the process fun and rewarding.
Prompts take me out of my writing comfort zone. It's like when the waiter accidentally switches your safe cheeseburger order to the Chef's Surprise, and you realize you actually quite like the smoked herring dish.
My latest story prompt experience went something like that.
The word limit:
But then I went to bed with monsters on the brain.
I remembered being scared of the dark. The lights and shadows flickering through the bedroom I shared with my little sisters. How Second Sister and I used to terrify Small Sister with threats of the White Lady and the Thin Hand.
Somewhere in there I fell asleep. (To dream about monsters, probably.)
When I got up the next morning, a story bobbed before my eyes, even before my Southern Pecan latte appeared. I could hardly wait to start typing.
The word limit forced me to trim every extra monster talon and eyelash, with the help of amazing writer friends. (Thanks, guys!) Again, I realized I am too Dickens-like in my wordiness, so word limits are super healthy for me.
I submitted my story to Kids Book Review, and they chose to post it on their site this month.
Coming some Friday this month, to a website near you: