July 26, 2019
Welcome to the Winner's Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we're celebrating Debbie Roy whose entry "For the Right Reason" came in First Place!
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Mystery First Pages
How many writing contests have you entered?
I've lost count . . . . many. ;-)
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
The title of the piece is "For the Right Reason" and it follows a young woman and her friends who break a few rules (and possibly bend a couple of laws) while trying to right a wrong done to her grandparents.
What inspired your winning entry?
Rather than beginning with a mystery, or even a character, this started with a memory that made me laugh. I was involved with community theater for 35 plus years and, at one point, I had a small struggle with a hoop skirt. (The hoop shirt won.) That image was my starting point.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
Focusing on the parameters of each contest, particularly when it's not a subject or genre with which I'm familiar, is a challenge. I think we all are better for challenges. Watching the judges critique the winning entries is always fascinating. What worked, what didn't quite resonate, why one piece caught their interest over others . . . all of these insights taught me how to look at my own work.
How did the critique in the Winners' Workshop help you?
It's far too easy for us to "see" the world we've created and to "know" who our characters are and could be. Critiques are an invaluable way to experience what a reader would "see" and "know" through your words alone.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your "day job"?
I am handicapped and have been primarily housebound for a couple of decades. I fill my days with obsessive crafting. I turn used Barbie, Ken, GI Joe dolls into new characters from TV, film, books, theater, fairy tale, imagination. I make and/or recreate costumes for 18" dolls (such as American Girl). I needle-felt animals and characters, I sculpt, draw, paint and build . . . pretty much anything that occurs to me. And I write stories, plays and poetry.
How long have you been writing?
Fifty some-odd years. (and some of those years were odd, indeed)
What will you do with your piece now that it's been recognized?
I'm still working to make the rest of the story live up to the beginning.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I'm going to do thrilling things like pay off my car insurance and a credit card. :-D
I am planning a little splurge on some longed-for crafting supplies as well.
What do you do when you're feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
My favorite trick is to bounce myself out of the doldrums is to write something frivolous. For instance, I choose five words at random - a thing, a feeling, a place, a time, and a hope. I give myself half an hour to write a story using all of them. They are usually fairly goofy and don't lead anywhere but I often find that my mind is refreshed and I can look at my other projects with fresh eyes.
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 want Alice's looking glass! A chance to step into Wonderland would be terrific!
What did you enjoy about your IFW Contest experience?
I mentioned that I've been entering these for a while and working hard to understand and apply what I learned by watching the critiques. Obviously, I did learn a few things because . . . this time, I won!
Are you our next contest winner? There's $1,300 of prize money up for grabs! Check out our current contests on our Contests Page.