After a little tweaking I resubmitted my short story The Pig Farmer’s Burden to the Bridport Prize. It was shortlisted last year and so I’d hoped it might fare better this year, but alas, it was shortlisted again. I’m still thrilled of course, to have a Sothern Gothic horror story recognised in such a prestigious literary prize is encouraging for me and horror in general, but I think next year I’ll submit something different, and try and find a home for my Pig Farmer elsewhere. Here’s how it starts:
The first time I set eyes on Lloyd Toomey was on the far side of my north field. From a distance he didn’t look much thicker than the fencepost he was stood next to, and as I neared, he didn’t flesh-out none, either. A dozen or so of the larger sows was gathered at the fence, all pushin and shovin to get their turn at the somethin-or-other Lloyd was dealin from a cloth bag. The pigs seemed to like whatever it was, but I didn’t. Not a bit.
Whatever happens to the story, the experience of writing in this style has been invaluable. The novel I’m planning to write after my current work in progress (The Thespian) is going to be a Southern Gothic, and although the story will be framed in the present day, the bulk of it will be set in 1920s
Deep South. And in a world in which things are often gene-spliced
to compare with other things, I can say that A Wish for Connie Harris will be something like The Road meets Big Fish, without being anything like either. Make sense?
My agent liked the outline, and The Bridport Prize seem to like the style, so I’m hoping a publisher is going to like A Wish for Connie Harris when I finally tie it all together. We shall see…