Welcome to the Winner’s Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we’re celebrating Middle Grade Adventure Fiction Winner Constance Sedler!
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Middle Grade Adventure Fiction
How many writing contests have you entered?
Tell us the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
Christopher is a young boy in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. For his eleventh birthday he receives a machete from his grandfather. The machete is an essential island tool: not only can it slash through thick island brush but it is perfect for digging island treasures. One afternoon he encounters a young tourist girl who joins him in his quest for treasure on the steep, slippery boulders above the ocean. When she slips into a crevice in the rocks, Christopher discovers yet another use for his machete.
What inspired your winning entry?
The local islanders in St. Thomas wield their machetes with precision. They learn this from an early age as the brush can be impassable at times. Of course, stories of treasure are part of the local lore. I combined the two.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
Because the contest was only 750 words, it forced me to be precise with every word I chose. The discipline required to write to contest specifications is challenging and educational.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?
I am not a full-time writer. I am a partner in several businesses, primarily dealing with real estate.
How long have you been writing?
What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
I would love to clean up my story a bit based on the comments made during the webinar. I will then take it to St. Thomas and find a local illustrator and see if it can be published as a picture book.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I will donate it to one of the St. Thomas charities supporting local children.
What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I find a writing contest and try to write to the specifications. It may be poetry or animal stories or a totally different genre. Even if it is something I’ve never considered writing about before, ideas will pop into my head.
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?
One of my favorite children’s books is The Summer Birds by Penelope Farmer. I would stop at Charlotte and Emma’s yard sale and pick up a map of their little village showing all of the places where the Strange Boy taught them to fly.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your ICL experience?
Even though I rarely enter contests, the practice of writing for them is invaluable. Thank you ICL for providing so many opportunities to test my skills!