The winners of April’s Word Weaver Writing Contest share their thoughts on the contest, writing in general, and other stuff.
Today our 5th place winner, Maribel C Pagan, answers a few questions about our contest and other writerly things.
Maribel has appeared or is forthcoming in Blue Marble Review, Zaum, Planted Word, Persephone’s Daughters, and others. She has received the Junior Reading Giants Award, has made the President’s List in Mohawk Valley Community College, and has received 5th Place in the Word Weaver Writing Contest, among many other awards and scholarships. Additionally, she is a Prose Reader for Apprehension Magazine, and a singer and musician for The Angelic Family Choir.
(Click HERE to read her contest entry)
- Dan: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?
Maribel: Actually, I had originally written this story for another contest that, coincidentally, was also on the theme of travel. It was longlisted for the award, so I decided, “I’ll wait and see where I could possibly submit this story to.” And then this contest came up!
- Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece /completed story?
I know that everyone else uses a different writing process. My own process, when I’m writing short stories or poems, is that I write the piece all the way through. Then
perform a quick review before staying a full 24 hours away from the piece, both physically and mentally keeping my mind off it. When I return, I’ll think of things to add, take away, or edit.
Sometimes I’ll do an additional edit two weeks from the date I wrote it, just to make sure it’s perfected to the best of my ability.
When I write novels, the process is very different. I will write the novel with little to no review. However, I set up an outline so that I’ll be able to figure out where my creativity is going to get me through next. It also helps me keep track of all the creative ideas I have and where they would best fit in the story. Once I’m done, I’ll depart from it from 1-3 months before returning to review, edit, and revise it.
- Where do you do your writing?
Absolutely anywhere. I’ve written in the oddest places: In the middle of lecture in class; jotted down on a napkin while eating; typing it in my notes while walking my dog…. If I’ve got an idea, there’s absolutely no stopping me.
- Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?
I would like to eventually have a full-length novel published. I already have a few written down and tucked away. I just need to finish writing the right one to publish. Eventually… *sigh*
- What helps you the most when it comes to writing?
Finding inspiration from anywhere and anything.
I tend to explode with ideas—particularly ideas for novel-length stories
—so I enjoy drawing that inspiration from the most random places.
- What does writing success look like?
Knowing that I’m writing directly from the heart. I am absolutely passionate for writing, and I feel like that, in itself, is what writing success is all about.
- What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on a couple of novels that I had to momentarily pause. Now I plan on definitely returning to it throughout this summer, for sure!
I’m also always working on short stories and poems. In fact, I’ve gotten quite a few short stories and poems published, so far…
- There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?
Believe it or not, the fact that it was a writing contest with a theme of travel, similar to the previous contest I tried submitting this story to. When I saw the Word Weaver Writing Contest, I was astonished that it had a similar theme and immediately submitted my piece. Glad I took the chance to submit this story. I never expected it to be among the winning pieces!
- Have you ever entered a writing contest before?
I actually have! A few times, actually. I had never won a writing contest before now—but having entered very few contests, this recent win gives me hope for future contests.
- Will we see you again in the July Word Weaver Writing Contest?
Why not? I’d be honored!
- Did you know the piece you submitted was special?
I felt that it probably was, but I definitely did not expect it to get any winning spots. At all. I’m still shocked that it even won!
- What’s next for you?
Publishing a book. Still trying to decide, though, whether I should publish a novel first or a poetry collection first… any thoughts?
Dan: I’d say go with the novel but only because I like novels better than I like poems. Others may disagree. And if I can help in any way, let me know.