Brian Wilson, winner of the Shallow Creek Short Story Competition, writes:
Participating in the STORGY Shallow Creek short story competition was an absolute blast from start to finish. I was first drawn to the competition by its intriguing premise and fleshed out presentation. Even before entering I had a keen sense of Shallow Creek as a tangible place thanks to Mallum Colt, the shady proprietor of Colt’s Curiosity Corner, whose in-character introduction was both amusing and informative. That, coupled with an illustrated map of the town and its sordid locations – plus an array of leaked citizen registration cards detailing everything from marital status to criminal history – ensured my skin was crawling before I’d even put pen to paper.
Writing within an established world would have been considerably more daunting if not for the fact I was given a specific character, location and item to include in my story. This provided an anchor within the world of Shallow Creek while still leaving plenty of room for creativity. Interestingly, my initial story was completely different from what I actually ended up submitting. The first iteration was told from the perspective of Judd, the Shallow Creek lighthouse keeper, and featured my prompt character Maurice Turner showing up at his door one fateful evening claiming to have seen the spirit of a little girl down by the pier. There was also a sub-plot featuring crimes committed by Krinkles the Klown, notorious cereal mascot and suspected child killer. Once this draft was complete, however, it became apparent that I was trying to incorporate too many elements into a single story. After putting so much work into this first version, and realising it wasn’t very good, I was tempted to pack the whole thing in and not submit. But I decided to strip things back a bit and take a second run at it, writing from the perspective of my prompt character and letting the entire story play out on the charred slats of my prompt location, the Shallow Creek pier. It just goes to show how perseverance – and the determination to finish what you’ve started – can really pay off.
When I found out I’d made it through as a finalist and would be included in the Shallow Creek anthology I was really pleased, and knowing I’d be included felt like prize enough itself. Getting short-listed, then, was extremely exciting, and winning felt totally surreal. The short-list was judged by author Naomi Booth and receiving feedback from her was a real treat. Hearing her describe my story as “genuinely uncanny and memorable” was massively encouraging. Since winning I have read Naomi’s novel Sealed (which was nominated for the Not the Booker prize), and I’m delighted my story has been recognised by such a terrific writer.
The Shallow Creek anthology was originally planned to be an ebook, but now STORGY has launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the book to print. I think this is a wonderful idea. Seeing one’s work in print is the dream of many an aspiring writer, and STORGY is attempting to make that dream come true for all eighteen finalists. Not only that, but supporting the Kickstarter is a great way of encouraging the propagation of independent presses, meaning more unique and compelling writing gets published. What’s not to love?
(c) Brian Wilson
About STORGY Magazine:
At STORGY Books we publish and promote fiction that examines literary conventions and experiments with genre, style, form and content. Our primary focus is the publication of exceptional literature and the successful promotion of literary talent, irrespective of traditional classifications or genres.
We take pride in discovering new and emerging talent and providing authors with the opportunity to reach a wider literary audience. STORGY Books offers a literary platform for writers who have experienced publishing hardships or hurdles, in particular, voices from the Working Class, LGBTQ and BAME communities. We are stern advocates of equal opportunity and work tirelessly to ensure that STORGY Books provides publishing opportunities to all authors.
We are committed to contributing artistic excellence and we firmly believe that our experience and strong relationships with authors, readers, and industry professionals will enable us to continue publishing great literature. STORGY Magazine and STORGY Books share an immense passion for the written word and together seek to publish and produce thought-provoking literature for our readers to enjoy.
We are also incredibly keen to publish risky and edgy fiction, with a focus on narratives contrary to what is commercially published at present. We firmly believe that this is the role of independent publishing, to support up and coming authors and inject much needed life into a sometimes stagnant literary market. You need only examine the example of Dead Ink, Bluemoose Books, Comma Press, Unsung Stories, Influx Press and other independents that are presently publishing challenging fiction – books which continue to garner critical acclaim and are often shortlisted for (and in some cases) winning literary awards. STORGY Books is no different and we continuously strive to offer a publishing platform for literary voices which are not currently being heard, but above all, we stand by our high standards and expect every book we publish to embody our commitment to artistic excellence.
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Shallow Creek Writing Competition here.
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