On December 6th, I received an email from Ireland Writing Retreat that I had been selected as a finalist in the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards in the Flash Fiction category for my entry ‘Reflections’. This was a nice little milestone to sneak in before the year’s end, and I have certainly started 2023 on a high!
This is the first international recognition I have received for my writing. Ireland is a place that I love so much and that has significantly inspired my writing, which makes this recognition extra special.
I was asked to send through some information for a write-up about me and my story for the Awards announcement, and I’ve decided to share it here as well. I hope it is as inspiring for you as it has been for me to experience!
- Your age: 33
- What do you normally work as?
I work in retail and I also volunteer as President of the Gold Coast Writers Association, a not-for-profit organisation that supports local writers in my community.
- How did you learn about our writing competition and what made you enter it?
The Gold Coast Writers Association has a members-only Facebook group where we post writing competitions and opportunities. One of the group members posted information about this competition, and I decided to enter.
- How did the idea for your story emerge?
I actually wrote the original version of this Reflections, which was a longer version, in my late teens. It was so long ago that I can’t remember exactly how the original idea emerged, but I believe it was influenced by the movie ’50 First Dates’ with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. Somewhere along the way I had the idea to angle the story around a former supermodel now aged and suffering from dementia, who is surprised and devastated to look in the mirror and see her former self, her looks that had brought her so much success, gone.
I entered the story in a few competitions previously with no success. When I found out about WAWA, this story popped into my head again, and I thought it would be very fitting for the theme.
- How many revisions did your story have before you were satisfied and over what period of time?
The story has had numerous revisions over the years, with name changes and varying word counts from 500 to 1500 words.
- What was the most difficult challenge for you in writing your story?
In flash fiction, you only have a very small word count and must make each of those words count. The concept of the story has to be very simple, with a very small cast of characters. The challenge with flash fiction is conveying your message without over-complicating the story with details, lots of characters and lengthy timelines. Flash fiction is about capturing a moment in time or a single idea only.
- Did you have several titles for your story before you decided on the final one – what were the others?
My story has had two previous titles. The original 1500 word version was called ‘The Temporary Body’ and the original 500 word version was called ‘Body and Mind’.
- How do you feel about being named a finalist out of hundreds of entries?
I was absolutely delighted to receive the news that I was a finalist in the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards. This is my first international recognition for my writing, which makes it extra exciting! I have spent a fair bit of time in Ireland over the years, and am planning to return at the end of 2023. I am currently working on an Irish Noir novel series set in Galway, so to be selected in this competition is a very special indeed.