So I finally finished my first short story!
2,000 words have never felt like a more gargantuan effort but it is worth it. And even though I’m not 100% happy with the final product, I’ve come to terms that I never will be and that this is a growing, natural process where I will start off shite but get better (hopefully) with every new word I write and re-write.
Anyway, enough whining.
The story is inspired by an article in the New York Times that covers how the Chinese government has been kidnapping booksellers and publishers who deal in banned books or books that are not flattering to the current regime and its ideology. It focuses on one particular Hong-Kong based bookseller who was kidnapped and held for months because of his involvement. He’s since been released and has heroically stepped forward to expose this practice.
Mind Altering Substances tells the story of David, a bookseller trying to get across a border checkpoint. It’s a dramatisation of several real-life stories that I’ve researched for this piece, based on book smugglers in China and Germany who opposed their regimes for knowledge and/or money. I really like David’s character (although the story could use some work) and I’m planning on writing a few more stories based on his life.
Mind Altering Substances
Normally this is where I would put the whole story, but I have actually submitted this piece to The Bath Short Story Award and can’t publish it yet (not even on here or social media) until I hear whether I’ve been shortlisted or not.
I’m not expecting to be shortlisted – but the act of applying for these awards gives me small goals to shoot for and actually gets me writing! I should find out in a few months the results and will be able to publish the story here then.
Until that time, if you are interested in reading the story you can email me or comment below and I’ll be more than happy to email you a copy (just don’t post it anywhere!).
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