I am so pleased to announce that my entry to this year’s AE Micro contest was chosen for publication. My story is called, “From the journal of F.L. Winter, cryptozoologist,” and is up on the site today!
Since 2010, AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review has held an annual micro fiction contest. They give a one-word theme and the challenge is to write a story inspired by that theme in 200 words or less. I love writing from contest prompts because I actually find it easier to write given a strict guideline or theme. I wrote stories for the last two micro contests (“Space” in 2012, and “Elements” in 2013). I didn’t submit the Space one, because my story was honestly very bad, but I did submit to the Elements one, although that story didn’t quite come together in the way I had wanted.
This year’s theme was “Senses.” My submission documents the personal writings of a fictional Canadian cryptozoologist, named Fallon L. Winter, who is tracking a fictional Canadian cryptid called a Burrower in the non-fictional forests of Vancouver Island. Although the Burrower is my own creation, the other cryptid references in the story are actually based on fact (if you can call cryptozoology “fact”). One is the n’ha-a-itk, (which is the Salish word for Ogopogo), a lake monster said to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia (actually just an hour and a half drive from where I live.) The other is an indirect reference to the Waheela, a wolf-bear-type cryptid said to live in the Nahanni Valley in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories.
I wrote this story as a narrative poem about a year ago. (Actually, I wrote it on my 30th birthday, as a contemplative, although admittedly very morbid, musing on personal reflection, memory and growing older.) The micro format is quite challenging, and although my story was already right within the word limit, I spent quite a while working on sentence structure and punctuation. I really wanted it to flow well. Since it is meant to be a diary entry, I wanted it to read the way that I heard it in my head. I also spent quite a bit of time on the title because I needed it to carry its weight in the piece and lend some insight and value to the overall narrative. Aside: This is the fourth piece I’ve written with Fallon as the protagonist, although none of the others are done. The original draft title for this story was, “To my sister.”