Those at the Ditmar Awards tonight would have seen Helen Stubbs pick up her award for the AussieCon 4 short story competition.
Before WorldCon, I flicked a few questions her way, and this is what she had to say.
1. Can you tell me a bit about your award-winning story, 'The Perforation'?
Sure. Suburbs and cities are disappearing, leaving black-walled craters behind. Karen loses her dad to one, and she goes in after him. I won't spoil the rest.
The story was inspired purely by the required phrase 'make ready.' I Googled it and found it was part of the printing process. Before you print you have to proof, so that got me thinking about the many meanings of proofing. In the story they 'proof' against the Perforation. I also had to use an Australian town or geographical feature, but that was easy. I love speculating possible Australias.
2. How long have you been writing?
Always! I've been working on novels for 10 years. I've had mentors (Louise Cusack and Sue Pearson) and a writing group (Prana Writers) for the past two years and I've learned a lot in that time.
3. What do you think makes a good short story? What do you like to see in a short story and what are you aiming for?
A good short story creates a believable world. I need to care about the main character, and a twist at the end is important. I like upbeat stories that take me to another reality, or let me live an unusual experience. I want to finish it and think, 'I need to read that again.' In my stories I squeeze in as much plot as possible. It's a challenge to create textural depth with minimal words. I want to leave my audience wondering about aspects of the story, while thinking, 'Wow.'
4. What are you most looking forward to at WorldCon?
The whole physical manifestation of the Great Stream of Creative Energy. In other words, meeting other writers and fans, getting writing tips and developing new ideas.
(This project received funding from the Queensland Government via Arts Queensland)