I've finished and submitted my Canada Writes contest entry. My short story is just a couple words short of the maximum length, down from an original count of 2,000. Editing is important!
I surprised myself by ultimately using none of my original ideas, outlined here. In the end I didn't think I could do any of them justice this time around; they need more time and care than I allowed myself.
I'm not terribly pleased with the story I did manage to finish. Oh, it has a beginning, middle and end, and there are a couple of nice sentences, but I'm not happy with the climax, or the characterization, or the dialogue. I'm pleased that I did manage to accidentally weave in a theme.
Writing short stories is a discipline like any other, and the truth is I simply haven't written enough stories to be good at it yet. But I'm exceedingly grateful to Neil Mackie for challenging me to do this. I'll never be a fiction writer unless I work for it, and Neil has forced me to complete a story. At 42, I think this'll be the sixth of seventh I've managed to complete. I'm not going to win the contest, but thanks to Neil I feel like I've accomplished something more important: I've paid a small fraction of my dues.
I can't post the story here without disqualifying myself, but I'll do so once the contest is over. Unless, of course, I win, in which case I'd need to ask CBC for permission to do so. I'm not counting on it.