How this story came to be, and why.
This short story began as a contest prompt at my professional writing site, at http://www.writing.com. The contest, named "Heaven in 2007", was (at the time) the most prestigious contest on this wildly popular writing site.
The very best writers in the world are on this site, and they often cull through the various contests, raffles, etc. offered for reviewing and encouragement purposes to find those few, rare contests which stand to bring their new works notice. I was invited to write a short story for this contest by just one of those writers, who shall remain nameless. (However, if you know your alphabet...)
The prompt was to write a fictional short story which depicted a person, time, event, or theme from the Holy Bible. When I first learned of this contest, it had been underway for some time, and the conclusion was fast approaching. A few days later, I was thumbing through some websites, looking for story ideas while trying to convince myself I should submit a contest entry. The mere idea that I, a new and completely unknown fiction writer would dare intrude upon the high ground of the acknowledged was, to me at least, insane.
I came upon a letter from a very dear friend. At the bottom of the letter, was his photo rendition which appears with this story.
The story comes from that picture.
The contest had two categories, and a grand prize. Poetry was not going to work for this entry. Prose would be the category for me. I was a new writer in the fiction realm, but I did at least understand the difference between meter and murder!
I hoped my story, which had taken on a life of its own by the concluding entry date, might recieve some helpful (forbid the notion of friendly) reviews. It was a first effort for me, and I wanted to represent a work of quality that might incidentally be taken seriously.
I knew it wouldn't, as I say, win the Poetry Prize. Perhaps it might receive--if all the stars aligned just right and God positioned His tongue in just the right way--an Honorable Mention in the Prose Category.
We, due to an untimely illness, were forced to wait for almost a month for the contest host to sufficiently recover to collect the judge's sheets and compile the honorees. By this time, the story was getting reviews from on, and off, the site. I was getting extremely encouraging reviews which I did not trust for a moment, and the story had created a fair (and really surprizing) amount of on-site "buzz".
Finally! The Poetry awards and honors were announced. I was correct in my presumption. I got not even a "But it's NOT Poetry!" form.
Then the Prose Prizes and Honors were announced. I had reviewed every single one of the submissions, and knew there were 15, or even 20 really strong stories that made me feel like a Pauper who had inadvertently turned into the wrong doorway, and come full on into a room of Royalty. I knew "The Confession" stood no chance with such luminary submissions.
I was correct. It won nothing in the Prose Category, either. I was thunderstruck. You know how it is when a story becomes person-al. It wasn't my story which had been rejected; it was me. My work was not even worthy of a mention. I was crushed.
There was only one award left to be announced: The Grand Champion Prize for best submitted entry among all categories. I had, as did most of the 500,000 members of this site, my favorite. I truly hoped my friend's work would take this prize. I knew this was the 'big leagues' of the most prestigious contest on the world's most prestigious writing site, after all. I was considering myself lucky just to be standing, as it were, in the crowd of distant onlookers toward the stage.
"And, the winner of the "Heaven in 2007 Grand Champion Prize is..."
I think it's a good story. I think it deserves some light, and life. I post it here in the hopes that you will like it, and review it, and tell me how to make it better. But, I really do like it just the way it is. I think it's a great beginning. I look forward to hearing what you think.
M. B. Fields, Jr.
Clarksville, Indiana USA