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Variations on a Theme: Contest by the Literary Lab

Did you know that Anton Chekhov banged his high school teacher's wife? Neither did I, until I fell into a Wiki-hole searching for short story ideas for the The Literary Lab's third anthology contest. I really don't have time for writing contests, but the fairy tale theme is too close to my heart to pass up. I took a peek at the two prompt stories, and my mind was reeling with themes. Class and gender! Fairy tales! West vs. East! I have no idea what the Lit Lab Techs were thinking when they chose these two stories, but they are both so interesting.


First, I thought I would write a story about pillow talk between Chekhov and his teacher's wife, gossiping about the pathetic Hans Christian Andersen, who would have been wasting away in a nursing home about then--an official national treasure, yet dying alone and friendless. I wanted to highlight the differences between the two authors' luck with the ladies and how it affected the way they wrote male and female characters.

But that was depressing and would have involved way too much research about the personal lives of real historical figures, so I came up with a second idea: a meta-fairy tale called "Clever Hans and the Magic Feather." In it, I cast Hans Christian Andersen as a character inside his own fairy tale, a wizard with a magic quill that could conjure and modify elements from other fairy tales to fulfill his own desires--but only vicariously, through the "life" of his main character.

That, too, was kind of depressing and felt a little too much like I was making fun of the real Hans Christian Andersen, which made me feel kind of Mean Girls.

So then I came up with a third idea, which was lots of fun! I can't tell you what it is, because I'm going to enter it in the contest once my local beta reader, Miss Moppet, has had a look at it.

Feel free to steal or modify either of my first two ideas if you really feel like it. I want lots of competition for this contest so the anthology turns out really great. I hope my story gets in, but I'd rather have a hard time getting into a stellar book than have an easy time getting my story into a mediocre book. So check it out and enter something good!

Comments

  1. I'm so excited for you to enter! Too bad I won't know which one is yours until they are all chosen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the info. My thinking cap is firmly on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for hosting this contest, Michelle (and Davin and Scott)! The Lit Lab does great things.

    Mike, I look forward to seeing what you make of this.

    ReplyDelete

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