The full schedule will be announced on Monday, February 17. Can’t wait that long to find out about all the amazing writers coming to Hamilton this April? Then why not join us at our February Launch Party on Thursday, February 13 for great food, wine, book giveaways and an exclusive sneak peek at the gritLIT 2020 Festival!
The gritLIT Short Story Contest is now closed!
Thank you to all who submitted! Our judge Casey is still working her way through the submissions to determine a winner, but from the looks of things, we have many strong contenders. Good luck, everyone!
Casey Plett was our guest at gritLIT 2018 — yes, the one with the unprecedented snow and ice storm — where she offered a writing workshop and appeared on several author panels throughout the weekend. It is our great pleasure to have her involved with gritLIT once again!
We had a chance to chat with Casey and ask her a few questions about her own writing style, how she finds the time to stay focused on her projects, and what elements contribute to the WOW factor when she’s reading a short story.
gL: The deadline for submitting to the gritLIT Short Story Contest is just about a month away and, with that in mind, I’m curious to know what your style is when it comes to deadlines. Are you an early bird who plans it all out and submits with time to spare or are you more of a procrastinator and a “get it in juuust under the wire” kind of writer?
CP: I definitely don’t plan it all out; I go where the pulse and energy of the story is and sometimes that takes me to unexpected places. However, I definitely don’t try to get it under the wire too — one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to never submit work that isn’t ready, so I try to get a jump on things so I’ll finish feeling like it’s ready. I like to start writing with enough time to not fret about it to give me room to meander.
Maybe I am an early bird after all haha.
gL: One of the things many writers struggle with is time. Finding time to write can be challenging for writers with a day job, family commitments, and other expectations. You’re a busy woman with a demanding career, you do speaking engagements, you participate in writing festivals, and you judge writing contests! How do you make time in your day for your own writing projects?
CP: I make peace with letting some things go. I’m remarkably privileged, especially these days, in my ability to do that, but if I think back to earlier times in my life, I just had to be like “Look, the laundry isn’t getting done today” or “Dinner is a sad sack of saltines because fuck I feel like I can write now and I’ve got half an hour so it’s either dinner or writing.” Being at ease with that mentality helped.
gL: We’ve all heard of the importance of that first sentence or paragraph in a short story — the one that hooks the reader and keeps them reading. Can you give us an idea of some of the other elements that really make you go “WOW” as you read through a story?
CP: An urgency of language. I keep coming back to that myself for myself.
gL: Writing really can be a solitary pursuit and while this works for some people it isn’t always ideal for everyone. So, what’s your style when it comes to writing? Do you thrive in the solitude of the writer’s life or do you find you flourish when you’re with other writers as part of a writing group, for example?
CP: Solitude all the way. The last thing I want to talk about when I’m not writing is writing haha.
gL: From a purely selfish point of view (because I loved Little Fish) I’m really hoping you have another book coming out in the near future! Can you give us a glimpse into any projects you’re working on currently?
CP: Thank you!! I’m working on a short fiction collection, but I think I’m a really slow writer! Chipping away at it …
gL: Finally, entering a writing contest can be a big, frightening step for a writer. Putting yourself and your work out there for strangers to read isn’t easy! What advice do you have for potential contest entrants who might be reading this interview?
CP: Do it. If you’re not sure that you should do it, just do it. Contests actually seem like excellent first steps that way to me! The stranger does not know you and if they feel negatively about your writing, the worst thing that happens is that you don’t win a contest. Which is what would happen anyway if you didn’t submit! Do it.
Casey Plett is the author of Little Fish, A Safe Girl to Love, and the co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. She is a winner of the Amazon First Novel Award, the ALA Stonewall Book Award Barbara Gittings Literature Prize, and a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award. She has written for The New York Times, The Walrus, McSweeney’s, Maclean’s, and Rookie, among other publications