News: Aurealis Awards 2008 Horror Short Story Winner!
Monday, February 2, 2009
How cool is this? First my story, "Painlessness", wins an Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story and now I get asked to write a guest blog post for GUD. The story, by the way, can be found in Issue #2, along with many other fine works. Go, shoo, buy yourself a copy right now and then come back to finish reading this. Seriously, I can wait.
The Aurealis Awards, for those who don't know, recognise the achievements of Australian speculative fiction writers and, increasingly, illustrators. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, graphic novels - the awards cover a wide field and each year the lists of finalists for each category should be considered mandatory reading for spec fic afficiandos. Especially this year. Especially the Horror Short Story category. Obviously. ;-)
"Painlessness" is a story of which I am still immensely proud. And I can say this with certainty, because I just read it again for the first time since it was published way back in January 2008, and I didn't vomit once. Not even a little bit.
The way I write, most of the time it's like excavation. I'll randomly chip away at the bedrock and find these interesting, odd-shaped bits and pieces, most of which I'll carry around in my pockets for months or years before I eventually stumble across that one last chunk that holds it altogether. And then I start to write.
Sometimes it all falls apart half way through, but most of the time I have the right pieces and they stick together fairly well. Occasionally, they make something quite unexpected. "Painlessness" was a bit like that. I thought I knew what it was, how it would look and feel; I thought I knew the end. But it managed to surprise me in a lot of ways, as the best stories do when you're writing them, and I still don't know where some parts of it came from. I don't remember digging them up from anywhere. But they're sharp and bright and it hurts a little to read them and really, that's what a good horror story is about. Right? And I'm allowed to say that because, hey, it just won an award. :-)
So, many thanks to Sal Coraccio and the fine editorial team at GUD. They not only accepted my story but put up with a minor primadonna act during the editing. And it's a much better piece for it.
And seriously, go to the Aurealis Awards website and track down as many of those shortlisted titles as you can, across all the categories. We have some mightly fine talent working down here in Australia, some of the best writers and artists you'll come across anywhere. Trust me, your time and effort will be well rewarded.
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