It’s Final

Perhaps it’s true that some people do their best work under pressure. I was interested in entering an Afrikaans writing competition, but never seemed to get around to writing the short story – until January 28. The deadline for the competition? January 31. Yeah. Talk about brinkmanship.

With some help from Google Translate (which I use as a dictionary; my Afrikaans isn’t what it should be. Don’t worry, I didn’t write it in English and then just dump in Google Translate!) and a thorough edit from Mom, I eventually ended up with Engele as Gaste (Angels as Guests), a short story of about 850 words for which I had little esteem and no hope. But I had nothing to lose, did I? So I sent it off on January 31 and expected never to hear about it again.

Angel 013

Angel 013 (Photo credit: Juliett-Foxtrott)

Imagine my surprise when Mom got an email this morning stating that my three-day short story was one of the three finalists for the competition! You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Engele as Gaste is based on Hebrews 13:2 and Matthew 25:32-40. In English, Hebrews 13:2 reads: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

In the 1953 translation of the Afrikaans Bible, it reads: Vergeet die gasvryheid nie, want daardeur het sommige, sonder om dit te weet, engele as gaste geherberg.

I’ve always adored this verse and thought that it would make a lovely short story – fiction can sometimes illustrate truth so beautifully – and now I was out of ideas, so I went to the Bible. Between that beautiful verse and my recent fascination with Dickens (Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby were both great; A Tale of Two Cities moved me to tears) I managed to scrape together enough ideas for the story.

Let’s hope it goes further! I’m excited.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Final

  1. Oh Firn, how wonderful!!!!!!!!! Super congratulations! I know how you must be feeling – excitement, disbelief, and more excitement and disbelief lol 🙂
    I entered my YA novel (in a rush and not properly edited) in an unpublished manuscript competition. There were 86 entries. I was one of 15 shortlisted, then one of 6 finalists. I didn’t win, but after the final edit, the MS is going to the publisher who ran the competition.
    I hope and pray that your story goes all the way. Well done my young friend!

    • Thanks, Lyn! Well done on your own novel. Publication is still a way off for me… so I’d probably better get back to applying the ferocious red pen (OK, so it’s black, but anyway) to Another Sword.

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