It’s time to celebrate!
If you didn’t know, Writer’s Digest (a wonderful magazine for writers) holds writing competitions every year. They have all sorts of categories, and I had been playing with the idea of entering for quite some time. Last year, I finally decided to go for it, and submitted an entry for their 88th Annual Writing Competition. They announced the winners last September, and yes, I understand that it has been almost five months, but with homeschooling three children, finishing a fantasy novel, and keeping a newborn alive, I am just able to get back to a rhythm that allows me to share the amazing news with you. Trust me, it’s a miracle.
My entry, “The Rise of Seven,” received an honorable mention for Genre Short Story. Yay! You can take a look at all the winners here.
The story follows Seven, one of the main characters in my Markram Battles Series, before he was even a Unit Leader. It proved to be a very challenging story to write, not only because I had to keep it completely self-contained for the purpose of the contest, but also because it needed to show a duality within the main character, a balance of his alien nature and mindset, and a very human sense of connection, love, and sacrifice. But at the same time, it was also very rewarding to explore his past, having already experienced his future in the Markram Battles stories I’ve written. The Rise of Seven shows him in a completely different plane of thought and attitude, much more connected to the emotions he is always trying so hard to suppress.
This story also gives more insight as to his relationship with Eleven, his nemesis in Markram Battles, and brings them together in a way that I haven’t been able to expose before. It opens the doorway to understanding the complexity of their past, and how it plays a role in the choices they make about each other.
I am so excited to share this story with you. It will be part of the next installment of short stories in the Markram Battle Series, so I can’t give away too much. But here are a few of my favorite parts. Enjoy!
I stink of vomit and sweat. My adversary heaves beside me, hands on knees, face red with coagulating blood. If he thinks I will stop punching him because I find it repulsive, he underestimates me. It serves him right for picking a fight with me right after breakfast.
The glass door closes between us, leaving me fighting ghosts on my own. I lift my eyes, taking in the emptiness that surrounds me, the product of my father’s hopes and dreams in a hopeless and dreamless hell. Sucking all the saliva I can muster, I spit it behind me, cursing Eleven, the ungrateful wretch.
We don’t speak. There is nothing left to say. I bow my head in salute, and he reciprocates the gesture. With a silent vow to never speak of what has happened, we turn away in opposite directions, empty and broken, hollow vessels of the men we used to be.