The story started with a tree.
Tanya King, an Edinburgh resident and burgeoning writer, had been challenged by a friend to write a short story using a tree as a central component. King worked on the concept for a full day, weaving a tale involving a pair of soldiers and the dynamics of loss.
“I tried to connect it to the feelings that a soldier would feel after one of their friends died,” she said. “I started thinking about how awful it must be to go through years of your life feeling angry and bitter and sick about everything. So instead, I wanted to take something like that and make it more positive, with everything coming together at the end.”
King’s story, “Fallen on the Green,” was one of 4,000 entries submitted for the NeoVerse Short Story Writing Competition, designed to recognize emerging writers. The 22-year-old found out in September that she was one of 20 to be chosen for an anthology publication, “Threads,” which featured stories focused on everything from science fiction to horror to historical fiction.
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The anthology is available now through Amazon in paperback and e-book.
In light of her first published story, King shared her thoughts on writing, getting her work noticed and what her plans for the future are.
What led you to writing in the first place?
I had a lot of trouble reading as a kid, being slightly dyslexic. But once I learned, I was basically devouring books. I would always play pretend games when I was young, and I started writing because that was an easy outlet.Why was writing something you’ve stuck with?I really liked creating stories. It was a lot of fun taking something that was a completely original idea, or something that already existed, and then changing it. And it was something I was naturally talented in. I thought if I was good at it, I might as well do something with it.
Were you drawn to a particular type of writing?
I’ve always liked fantasy and sci-fi. I was never a big romance fan, though there was some non-fiction I was drawn to, like books about Native American battles and history. And medieval stuff — I’m a big medieval nerd. I’m not going to deny that.
Is this the first thing you’ve had published?
If you want to get technical, my first short story was when I was about 10, in an elementary anthology schoolbook. It was really bad — something about a boy being chased by a giant wolf-monster who was trying to eat him. Eventually they became friends.
So this story is the first one you’ve seriously published?
Yes, I think it is. I’ve tried to get published in some online magazines, but no luck so far.
How did you get involved with the Neophyte contest?
I came up with the idea when I saw an ad for the contest on my Facebook feed. It wasn’t a link from any of the sites that I follow, but it’s actually interesting. And I’m not going to lie, the cash prize looked pretty nice.
What was it like when you found out you’d been accepted in the anthology?
I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t in the top three in the contest, but there were like 20 places that they picked. The fact I got picked at all was incredible.
How do you hope this springboards your writing moving forward?
I really want to make something out of this. I want to make a career out of writing, but I’m not sure what to fully expect from it. I’d like to get my stories out there. I do have a novel I’m working on, and eight other ideas that need to be fleshed out.