Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Outcasts

I decided to enter the Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition in the Short Story category, and the story I'm submitting is called Outcasts.

The story is inspired by my interest in service dogs and involvement with Circle Tail, and also what I've learned about their Prison Training Program, where inmates train dogs in obedience and service skills. My story is about three outcasts: a man in prison, a mentally ill woman, and an abandoned dog. Their lives are intertwined, as the prison inmate trains the dog to be a psychiatric service dog for the mentally ill woman.

The inmate's name is Robert, and he was born to a drug-addicted mother and an absent father, and spent his childhood in and out of foster care before joining a gang. The dog is about to be put down in a shelter before he is chosen for training in the prison program. The woman, named Abby, is schizophrenic and socially awkward, and has no close relationships.

The story is about whether or not these three outcasts are able to overcome their pasts. Two do, one doesn't.

While this story is not at all based on a real person, I did have the opportunity recently to speak with one of the men who trained service dogs for Circle Tail while he was in prison. I really enjoyed speaking with him, and was inspired by the fact that his work with the dogs helped him to change his life. I plan to write about the charitable organization he founded and currently runs in a post for later this month.

For now though, I need to get busy finishing Outcasts, as the deadline to enter the competition is May 2. I always seem to let things go down to the wire, but in the past I've worked best when under the gun, so I'm hoping that will be the case this time as well.

If not, I noticed writers can submit work between May 3 and May 20 for a late fee. I can't help but think this late deadline was made for people like me. Someday I'll learn to stop procrastinating.


  1. Thanks for the comment. I have lost count how many times Daniel and I have met over the years.
    "GROUPIE GRANNY" came from my dear sweet children. But I putit like this. I love going to concerts and I love to travel so I combine the two.

  2. Sounds like a great and interesting story. Good luck on it!

  3. Sounds like a great story! And - last year I submitted a poem on the last possible day of the WD annual poetry competition - and I won 10th prize - in fact I'm posting the poem for tomorrow's P post. SO finish that story because real people do win!

  4. I love the plot of your story. Best of luck to you :D

  5. What a marvelous story idea! Good luck with it.

    Thanks for liking my paintings!


  6. @Yvonne, thanks! So glad you have a good time as a Groupie Granny! :)

    @Patricia Lynne, thank you!

    @Melissa, oh, congratulations! That's wonderful, I'm looking forward to reading your poem.

    @M Pax, thank you very much!

    @Monti, thanks! Your paintings are wonderful. :)

  7. Your story sounds absolutely amazing! Best of luck with the contest. Your entry sounds like one that will really catch the judges' eyes. :)

  8. The story sounds great. Good luck in the contest!

  9. This is a great idea for a story! I hope you post it when it's finished. Good luck in the contest! Julie

  10. I already like the story going by the brief you have given and you will meet the deadline.:)

  11. Good luck! A story like this would always get my vote.

  12. The story outline sounds fascinating. Don't you miss that deadline! Remember, you'll never win if you never submit... and good luck with it ;-)

  13. Good Luck, sounds like a good story.

  14. Hey outlaw - git going and get that story off to the contest! You can do it! I'll be checking up on you to make sure you do - ;)

  15. I like the sound of the story - and a little procrastination adds spice to life :) get into that contest though!

  16. I love the premise of this story - good luck.

  17. Sounds like a winner! Good luck! I look at those competitions and wonder if I'll ever be brave enough. Can't wait to hear the outcome!

  18. Sounds like a great story idea. Good luck!

  19. @Jeffrey, thank you, I hope it will catch the eyes of the judges, fingers crossed!

    @Kendal, thanks so much!

    @Julie, oh, thanks for your interest, I will plan to post it. Thank you!

    @Muruji, thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it!

    @Bob, thank you, that's very nice of you to say!

    @Rosalind, thanks, you're so right, I won't get anywhere if I don't submit it. Thanks!

    @Poddys, thank you!

    @Jan, I will do it, I don't want the outlaw coming after me LOL. ;) Thanks!

    @Laura, that's a good way to look at it, it does add spice. Thank you!

    @Karen, so glad you like it, thanks!

    @Laura, you can do it, I know just what you mean about wondering if you'll feel brave enough. I've been taking baby steps as it makes me nervous too. Thank you and I hope you will submit to one of the contests soon, I know you'd do great. :)

    @Talli, thank you!


Thank you for your comments!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.