Wadadli Pen 2012 has launched. And you have a vague notion of entering, maybe, if something comes to you before the deadline. The thing about writing though is something won’t always come to you, sometimes you have to go looking for it.
And it’s important to remember that while a competition has parameters – word limits, themes – there is within those parameters no limit on the imagination. And it’s always a good idea to write about what genuinely interests and concerns you. Don’t fake the funk.
As Gayle Brandeis, author of the book of Live Wires, says here, “When we write about the things that electrify us–either with joy or with fear–we bring a great zing of energy to the page. Energy that will propel our words forward; energy the reader will be able to feel.” Be passionate.
As for what makes a good short story, tastes vary of course, but there is some resonance in British author Bernadine Evaristo’s response that she looks for “Linguistic flair, something fresh and original, depth, re-readability, stories that explore new ways of seeing, being, that surprise, provoke and even shock.” Be original.
Finally, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie who knows a thing or two about winning major literary prizes and critical acclaim, reminds that it’s never a good idea to copy another’s idea. You know, this is what this person did to win so this must be what they’re looking for. Uh-uh. Like snowflakes and fingerprints, your story is a unique creature; each person has a different story to tell. So, tell yours. “Be truthful,” she said. “Don’t write what’s false, write what is true. Write the best story you can write; make it your story.” Be real.
So with those thoughts in mind, we look forward to receiving your entries for the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2012 being held this year in partnership with the Best of Books with support from several patrons.