my first writing contest

At the last minute, I wrote a piece of flash fiction and submitted it to the PodCastle flash fiction contest. What a great experience, and what a great group of stories!

This was the first time in a really long time that I’ve shared my work with anyone outside of my family or an online writing class. The way that the contest worked was a series of rounds, then a round of semifinals, then a round of finals. My story won its first round, which was a great ego boost, and when it didn’t make it past the semifinals, I found that I was at peace. So many of the stories were so good.

But the best part was reading the comments on all of the stories, not just my own. Seeing what worked for people, what didn’t, what they disagreed on… it was all very, very helpful. I emerged from the experience with some new ideas and a better understanding of what works and doesn’t in very short fiction pieces.

Thank you, PodCastle, for hosting the contest and putting all of the work in to organize it. The experience was definitely well worth it for this writer, and I’ll be back for the next round. And maybe I’ll try my hand at the Pseudopod flash contest in August.

novel ghosts

Before January of 2018, I had yet to write a book. I had plenty of ideas bouncing around in my head, and I certainly had the desire to write a book, but I hadn’t been able to actually make much happen… other than drawing odd maps and listing out plot points and character names— signposts in some sort of void.

But then, in January 2018, I started writing something, and I stayed with it. I had just made my way through several exciting, major life changes, and I finally found that I had some space and time to think. I can’t tell you what a feeling it was to look down at my computer screen and realize that I had written 100,000 words that all belonged to the same book. Words that together, more or less, told a story. If you’re a writer or artist or anyone who has ever labored over a longterm project, you know the feeling— or you know your version of the feeling, I would imagine.

But when I started revising the book, and I got lost.

So, I walked away from the project… and wrote another book.

I started revising that book, and I got lost again.

So… yes, I wrote another book.

And here I am, revising my third book, determined to do things differently. My other two books are sitting in my writing program, staring at me like sad little ghosts. I will come back to them one day, even if it’s only to leave them in peace, once and for all. For now, however, book three has my heart, and it has my attention. I don’t want to see it slip away.

So, whatever this site becomes, I hope it will be the story of keeping my third book from slipping away. This site is part of my attempt to do things differently. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catalogue some successes alongside the inevitable failures, and maybe, with time, I won’t have so many novel phantoms running riot in the innards of my laptop.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll join me as I go!

—Zoe