Are you super excited about our Defy the Dark Contest? If you win, you’ll story will be published in a real-life book from HarperTeen! Amazing, right? You know who else is excited? Defy the Dark editor Saundra Mitchell! And she’s got some great advice for everyone who’s entering the contest . . .
My name is Saundra Mitchell, and like you, I’m a writer. I started telling stories in kindergarten and never stopped. I won’t creak my rocking chair at you and tell you how strange (and lonely!) it was to be a writer before the Internet. I didn’t have a critique partner, or a writing group . . . or a word processor, for that matter.
At the same time, I didn’t have thousands of professional voices telling me how hard a career in writing would be. No one told me the odds, so it never occurred to me to give up. You hear about the odds all the time—but I don’t want you to stop trying. I know you can do it. So do HarperTeen and Figment. That’s why they’re sponsoring the Defy the Dark New Writer Contest.
Defy the Dark is my first anthology as an editor. And for one of you, it will be your first anthology as a professional author. There’s no mystery involved here, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m looking for in a winning story.
I want the truth. Not a true story, not something that really happened to you. But a story that genuinely scared you when you wrote it. Or made you laugh so hard you cried. Or left you breathless and falling in love. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what genre I like best. I like them all; I love them when they’re really, really good.
So be fearless. Be daring. Be strong. But most of all, be the writer that you are, with the voice that’s inside you. This anthology isn’t just about things that happen in the dark—it’s about the people we are when we defy it.
You have four thousand words and a month. I know you can do it. I know I’ll see you on the other side, so get ready, get set, and write.