Wow, what a nerve-racking week of watching my story duke it out in The Writer’s Arena.
Red Silk is a short horror story that started with a prompt about bugs, lots of them. I had 10 days to complete a first draft and a few days to edit the short story. There was a lot of midnight oil burned over those days, but I loved it. I loved the feeling of having that deadline, that goal to write something and get it out there. I hadn’t done that before in this context, and I hadn’t taken such a chance with my writing. I felt naked going into the competition because the story came right off my word processor with only a few eyes on the piece. With so little time everything had to move fast, so there was always this lingering worry of error. But I took the chance, and what I discovered about myself was that I could cross that finish line under pressure and deliver. The one criticism of the story, that I felt was a bonus, was that my story read like the first chapter of a book. Not bad, but I can appreciate that some readers like no loose ends at the end of a story. However, as a writer and reader, I like blurred lines that leave you satisfied, but also leave you to wonder and want more.
A big warm thank you to The Writer’s Arena team. Thank you for the opportunity to compete and I’m glowing over some of the reviews. Here are a few points the judges made when the competition wrapped up and Red Silk was announced the winner:
“Red Silk” – Let’s face it: there’s something unnatural about spiders. I myself find them unnaturally beautiful, but I can understand why so many people fear them. I think that Darryl has captured both that beauty and that unnaturalness in his story. His prose is so clean, his characters are so heartwarming — and then he destroys the world around us, ripping it out from under us. ~ Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
“Red Silk” – Fantastic start to the story. Starting with children works really well to both heighten the fear of the spiders and make it something the reader might dismiss as irrational. The fact that their father died from a spider bite ratchets things up another notch and makes the simple act of climbing into a treehouse and looking at a spider web a little ominous and tense. ~ Rich Alix