Author’s Beat presents three very special authors, the winners of the Village Neighbors Magazine/Writer’s League Short Story Competition who discuss the elements that make for winning short stories. These stories are featured in the August issue of Village Neighbors Magazine which reaches almost 90,000 readers. So how did they win and what do their stories tell us about what magazine editors are looking for?
The 1st Prize story begins with a common experience, the embarrassment we felt as children about our parents, but it takes a simple event and turns it into a snapshot that has humor and a subtle lesson about life.
The 2nd Prize story is a ‘lemon’ turned into ‘lemonade’ as a family struggles with the realization that a father has Alzheimer's disease. What makes this story special is the hopeful ending where strangers show a kindness she never expected.
The 3rd Prize story begins as a journey to a foreign land that evolves into a highly personal account of how the American invasion of Grenada appeared to a native. All of these stories have common elements that editors and readers look for in personal narrative. It is their humanity and ability to take a relatively simple event and squeeze a great deal of ‘juice’ from it.