WAUKESHA, WIS.— One of the many activities during Waukesha Reads 2012 was a flash fiction contest inspired by George Orwell’s dystopian classic, “1984.” Middle school, high school and adult writers were challenged to craft a tale on the theme, “Who is Watching You,” in 1,000 words or less.
Junior Alicia Zuberbier of Hortonville, Wis., and junior Alex Plummer of Ixonia, Wis., are writing majors at Carroll University who earned first and second place, respectively, in the adult category. For her grand prize honor, Alicia received $100 cash and publication in the Waukesha Freeman. Both students earned an official Waukesha Reads T-shirt.
Alex’s runner-up story, “Witness,” is a macabre mystery in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe. “I wanted to explore an unreliable narrator,” Alex said. “Is he slowly going mad or is it the supernatural?” Alex is more accustomed to longer fiction stories, so he found the word count and contest deadline to be interesting challenges. “It is affirming to win as a student writer,” he said.
Alicia agrees. “Writers receive a lot of rejection. I was so excited to win. It makes me want to keep going.” Her entry, “Old at Night,” is about a man who is convinced his wife watches him in his sleep – a “creepy” concept that fits with the tone of Orwell’s novel, but is more of a love story. She said “1984” is her favorite book and flash fiction is the genre she likes to write the most, because the rules are less strict for this hybrid form of poetry and fiction. “I felt like I was meant to enter this contest,” she said.
Both stories are published on the Waukesha Reads website, www.waukeshareads.org.