It was so nice to receive acknowledgment of my story submissions in the form of a couple of superlatives ("Fiction Issue," Cover Story, May 14).
The decision to come up with stories for the contest was a big one, sort of, since I've been writing stories since childhood but haven't written any in at least 10(?) years. Your contest parameters -- the word count and the image "springboard" intrigued me enough to apply myself to the task.
Those same parameters proved frustrating, but ultimately rewarding, as I came up with some stories that might not have taken the form that they did otherwise. In other words, I found myself forced to pare down, to wrangle over decisions about what to leave out/leave in, and by the final draft I believed wholeheartedly that my end results emerged as better stories than what I'd begun with.
The effort prompted me to revisit old favorites by published authors I'd admired and to finally produce long-lingering ideas that had occupied my mind for years, yet never put on paper.
I'm thoroughly enjoying the issue with all the numerous mentions and sub-categorical acknowledgments. All this time I had imagined that the challenges to write in such a compact format might have intimidated most writers from trying. Instead it appears a broad spectrum of creative talent felt encouraged to do the opposite. Your generous spreading of recognition in these pages ought to beckon future submissions in later contests, which I look forward to. Alice Lamoreaux Harrell
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