And to help with that I'm providing a CRITIQUE WORKSHOP. Through the month of February, I will run a workshop for those who entered Sun versus Snow and provide feedback to the two alternates by leaving a comment on both of them. Please notice I'm not saying I will post everyone who comments, just as many as I can. Twenty or thirty I can handle, one hundred not so much.
Whether this works will depend totally on you. Obviously the more people who return to leave feedback, the more successful and helpful the workshop will become. You have to give to get, in other words. Please don't drop out after your entry is posted. Stick with the workshop until the end in consideration of those who commented on your entry. If the comments drop off to slim and none, I will end the workshop.
To sum up: Comment on both alternates. Leave your entry's TITLE and AGE CATEGORY (so I can find it) at the end of your comments. Come back and leave feedback for others once the workshop starts. Stick around to the end.
Genre: Adult Fiction/Historical Fiction
Word Count: 75,000
My Main Character is most uncomfortable with: Katya: The snow was the nail in the coffin of our starving village. I’ve watched it cover more dead bodies than I care to remember. It wasn’t until the warm sun came out and melted the blanket of ignorant bliss that we realized the full devastation. The sun revealed pain and loss, but with it comes the new life of spring and summer, and a new chance of survival. And, through my great granddaughter Summer, I may finally have a chance at rectifying the wrongs of my past.
*The name Summer is completely coincidental, yet quite appropriate for this contest.
Query: When she was only fifteen, nearly everyone Katya loved perished during Stalin’s brutal efforts to decimate her people in order to recreate a new Communist Ukraine. It was a terrifying time full of suffering and betrayal. Mothers helplessly watched their children starve, whole families were deported to Siberia, and whispers of cannibalism were more than just rumors. Katya’s survival is a testament to her strength, but now, in the twilight of her life, the survivor’s guilt she has silently born for decades has come back to haunt her.
Summer never anticipated moving in with her aging great-grandmother right after graduating college, but when Katya’s health begins to fail, caretaking duties fall to the unemployed and unattached Summer. Their renewed relationship compels the old woman to do something she swore she’d never do: rip open the scars of her youth and tell her deepest secrets. Hearing this confession awakens something profound in Summer that neither women fully understand, but may be Katya’s only chance at the forgiveness she has spent a lifetime yearning for.
First 250 Words:
Ukraine, January 1930
Our descent into complete desolation was designed to be a gradual one. Little by little, the Party picked away at us until we had almost nothing and no idea of how we ended up that way. It was not that we willingly let them take all of our food or deport our friends and family to Siberia. But in a way, we did. We said nothing. Our silence was our acquiescence. Our fear was our motivation. If we spoke up, if we resisted, our fate would be sealed as well as if we had pulled the trigger ourselves. It was not an easy choice, but self-preservation almost always prevails.
It took me some time to comprehend that truth. When the Party first really hurt my family, I was young and naïve enough to believe I could do something to stop the Communist machine. My mother had sent my sister and me to bring a basket full of soup and bread to my sick aunt. The path between our homes was one we had walked so many times before. This time, we never reached our destination.
When the first shot rang out, the basket slipped from my fingers and spilled to the ground, forgotten as I raced towards my aunt’s house. My older sister yelled out my name behind me, but it was barely a whisper in my ear. All I could hear was my cousin Sasha screaming.