Welcome to the Winners Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we’re celebrating Brent Meranda whose entry Rocket Man came in First Place in our Sci-Fi First Pages Contest!
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
The Sci-Fi First Pages Contest
How many writing contests have you entered?
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
Assistant Director Julienne McKay (who is a part of a secret U.S. intelligence agency) is testing a new technology that can scan a person’s brain waves and record thoughts. Words become sounds played through a speaker, images are shown on a screen, and emotions are plotted on a graph. Her subject is the Prime Minister of Croatia who is waiting in the White House for a simple diplomatic meeting with the President. Julienne marvels at the technology until she notices the Prime Minister thinking in unusual ways that suggest he isn’t who he claims to be. All the while, he’s singing Elton John’s song “Rocket Man” in his head as he’s seemingly preparing to take an action that could alter world history.
What inspired your winning entry?
I’ve been toying with the idea of reading minds for several years as brain scans have become eerily advanced. Even paralyzed people are now able to speak or move robotic limbs with such technology. It’s only natural that someone eventually attempts to use this to listen in on people’s thoughts.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
I entered this contest to get a break from another novel that I am currently slugging through. This gave me a huge shot of excitement and creativity that has carried over to my other project.
How did the critique in the Winners’ Workshop help you?
As much as I thought I had refined my work, the critique pointed out some blind spots and also hit on some bigger plot possibilities that I hadn’t considered. I now can’t wait to start on this novel once I finish my current one.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?
I manage a team of Software Engineers during the day, and write in the evening when I’m not spending time with my wife and kids.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing fiction about 25 years ago. I’ve been writing in one form or another my whole life.
What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
I’ll follow the contest judge’s advice to “never throw anything away,” and hopefully return to it someday.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I think I’ll spend it to advance my writing career (critiques, paper, supplies, or maybe a small gift for my wife to thank her for supporting my writing).
What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I enter a cool writing contest and work on something completely unrelated to my current project.
If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children’s literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
I’d go with Piggie from Mo William’s Elephant and Piggie books. I’d ask her to help me pick out something for my daughter (who is now too old to read about cartoon animals). But Piggie knows how to be a good friend, and I have a hunch she’d know just what to buy.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I can’t recommend IFW and the contests enough.
I wrote a novel on my own once and would have given anything for a little professional direction,
feedback, advice, or even criticism. It’s so hard to know if you’re heading in the right direction on your own. The courses at IFW are high quality, and the interactions with your instructor are priceless.
If you can’t take a class, at least enter a contest!
Are you our next winner? Check out our Writing Contests today!