It’s always fun to get inside the head of an author, especially right after they win a writing contest.
We didn’t do that, exactly.
These profiles are done before the winners are announced, so they can’t fluff their answers once they win. And Kitty sheds insights into her process, and her award-winning story is HERE if you didn’t already read it.
THEN we contacted her, post-win, for some additional statements.
Here’s my exclusive profile of Kitty Lascurain, the November 2017 Word Weaver Writing Contest winner!
Contest Entry: “Flight Risk”
Author: Kitty Lascurain
DAN: Did you write this story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?
KITTY LASCURAIN: “Flight Risk” was a story I just had to write. It’s a reflection of my own real-life love story: my first date with my husband. (Yes, I went up in an airplane with a complete stranger AFTER he abandoned me in an empty airplane to “get in a quick landing.” No, I am not, in fact, suicidal. Thanks for asking.)
While I like to think that I’m not quite as neurotic as Katie, taking a risk like that was completely out of character for me back then. I don’t know what possessed me or why I was still sitting there when he got back, but I do know that the moment that tin can of an airplane left the ground, my perspective on life changed. I’ve taken many a risk since then, including entering this contest. Sure, I’ve crashed and burned a few times. But sometimes… sometimes I soar.
Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece/ competed story?
Writing fiction is still relatively new to me, and I’m not sure I’ve developed a great process yet. I’m a journalist, so I spend most of my time writing pretty straightforward non-fiction articles. Fiction is messy. It’s hard. Maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done and certainly the scariest. (Says the girl who literally followed a good-looking man to the end of the earth.) There’s a lot of rejection. But there’s also a kind of magic about it. You take a totally fabricated world, and somehow make it truer than real life. It’s pretty amazing.
My best advice so far? Have a good idea where your story is going before you sit down to write it. Don’t edit while your write. (DON’T EDIT WHILE YOU WRITE, KITTY!) Always workshop your work with other writers. Edit like crazy. Then do it again. Reread your entire short story before submitting to a journal or contest. (I swear, I find a mistake EVERY TIME.) Most importantly, keep submitting your work.
“The Word Weaver Contest seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some useful feedback and maybe even get published.”
– Kitty Lascurain
There are lots of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?
I met Dan Alatorre at the Florida Writer’s Convention after hearing him speak at a couple of seminars. He’s a really funny, charismatic guy, and I liked his approach to writing. What I really wanted was his opinion. The Word Weaver Contest seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some useful feedback and maybe even get published.
Have you entered a writing contest before?
Yes. Earlier this year, I submitted a short story called “Fly Away” to be considered for the Florida Writer’s Association’s “Royal Palm Literary Award.” I was lucky enough to win third place in the unpublished short fiction category. They gave me a neat little trophy, and more importantly, a packet of critiques that were worth their weight in gold. Everyone receives feedback, win or lose. It’s a great opportunity.
Where do you do you writing?
These days, I mostly write at home in my cozy little office. It’s a new luxury for me. My youngest baby just started VPK, which gives me a little bit more time to sit down and focus. Before that I wrote wherever I could: In the car line, on my baby’s head while she ate/threw her breakfast at me. Occasionally, I get to write at Starbucks, which is a treat only because there are no piles of laundry or dirty dishes calling my name while I try to write. It helps to get away sometimes I think.
What helps you the most when it comes to writing?
Working with other writers. Many people seem to think that writing is something you do alone. In my experience, producing high-quality writing is a team sport. Whether I’m writing a short story or knocking out a magazine article for work, I never consider myself “done” until either my editors or the members of my amazing critique group get their hands on my work and help me make it better.
What does writing success look like?
Setting goals and following through. Sure, we all want a place on the bestseller list, but the biggest obstacle to finding commercial success is often ourselves. If you can’t stick with your work, no one else will, so keep at it. Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep shutting down the little voice that says you can’t. This is still a daily battle for me, but I am fighting the good fight.
“Many people seem to think that writing is something you do alone. In my experience, producing high-quality writing is a team sport.”
– Kitty Lascurain
Do you have a writing goal you would like to achieve?
Oh, you know, just want every writer wants: a bestselling book!
Seriously though, I would very much like to write a novel. At the moment, I am working on trying to get a short story publishing credit with a few anthologies and/or literary journals. I once had an agent tell me a previous publishing credit can be extraordinarily helpful if you are trying to get your book published traditionally. It’s basically like a free ticket out of slush. It may not get your book sold, but it will get it read.
What’s next for you?
The big enchilada! I’m preparing to start writing my first novel in the New Year. Wish me luck!
And after winning, I contacted Kitty for these thoughts:
Whew! What a ride. You really kept us in our toes this week, Dan. I was so excited to be named a finalist, and I’m thrilled and honored to take first place, especially given the quality of the stories featured this week. I feel like I learned so much from reading everyone’s work. Suzy’s grasp on character voice was phenomenal, and I really admired the raw and vulnerable character perspective in Marie’s “First Time.” All of the finalists should be congratulated for writing some seriously impressive stories.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to see “Flight Risk” get published. It will be a first for me, as I have never published fiction before. I can’t wait to see the finished anthology! Sorry for the cliché, but it’s literally a dream come true for me!
Thank you, Dan, for making this contest and all the opportunities that come with it possible, and congratulations to everyone who participated. Being brave enough to write and send your work out into the world is an achievement all on its own… one that took me way to long to earn. Congrats to everybody and thank you!
Gang, please join me in congratulating Kitty for being the winner of our November Word Weaver Writing Contest!
Think you could win a writing contest? Wanna get your story critiqued by a bestselling author? Check out the NEXT Word Weaver Writing Contest that starts in March 2018! 3000 word approximately per submission, NO limit on the number of times you can enter, and the winner will be published in an anthology we release in 2018.
Click HERE for full details and to enter NOW!
THEME: mystery/murder/ and or suspense – and you can get started right now. Early bird fee of $15 locks in your spot – click the CONTACT ME button to register early and save $$$ plus ALL entries will be critiqued BY ME. Early Bird discount ends soon!