And there the matter stayed, throughout the remainder of spring, all of summer and most of fall...
...until a month ago, when I realized that it was really bothering me that November 30th was fast approaching and I hadn't even tried to finish my story. It had been haunting me so much that I finally decided to give it a last ditch effort. So, for the past few weeks, I have stolen a few hours here and there to sneak off to the millenium library or to a nearby Starbucks to work on it (with my old, decrepit computer!). At first, the story kept growing so much that I thought that I was never going to make the deadline...or the word count maximum of 10,000 words. At its largest, the story was over 20,000 words long (about 50-60 pages). At that point, panicking a little, I realized that if I wanted any shot at submitting something, I needed to start chopping and refining. That was a surprisingly painful process, as I had to cut out many large sections that I'd actually felt pretty good about. But it was necessary, and the end result was better anyway.
I finished my story (using my new computer!) on Wednesday, and hand-delivered it to Prairie Fire on Thursday. When I handed it in, I felt like a character in a movie, holding grimly onto the envelope while someone attempted to take it away from me. I felt very vulnerable handing over a piece of myself and opening myself up to the eventuality of someone deciding that it isn't good enough.
The final story was just under 9,000 words (29-30 pages double-spaced) and is called Quickening. It's a story geared primarily towards a young adult audience, and is about a young woman who finds herself falling in love for the first time with her brother's best friend - it is set in the Long Beach area of Vancouver Island. I have no illusions about the grandeur of the story or the writing - I am not going to win this competition, or even come in second or third. For me, this was about finishing something and about doing something that I had decided was important to me. I am proud of myself!