On January 27, 2009 the results of the first-ever Textnovel.com contest were posted and made official. Saoirse Redgrave's story "13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale" is officially the top dog and big winner!
Saoirse Redgrave, of Otego, New York, had been warned in advance. She knew that her online serialized novel "13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale" had won Textnovel.com's first-ever writing contest. But even after she saw it posted online at the site's official blog, she had a tough time believing it.
Her son, nearly five years old, was more readily convinced. "13 to Life won! Werewolves rule!" he shouted as he jumped around in the kitchen.
Redgrave had started her Textnovel on November 24, 2008 with only a title and a vague concept. Having just returned from UWSP where she had seen a film premiere incorporating her art and designs, she had her fill of vampire books. "They were all over the airports. And, don't get me wrong--they were neat to read and generally very enjoyable. But I kept wondering Where are the werewolves?"
So, after brainstorming with her husband, Redgrave was ready to try out a werewolf tale on Textnovel.com. "By then my pirate story Of Storms, Seas and Pirates was beginning to be looked at by Textnovel.com readers. I was really starting to enjoy writing on the site and getting readers' and subscribers' opinions. So Textnovel.com seemed the natural choice."
Redgrave said she promised herself a few things. "I promised to do my best to post at least two short chapters every day so that anyone could read the story; I promised each chapter would have a little hook at the beginning and a little cliff-hanger at the end so it would be easier for busy readers to remember; and I promised to bring the story to a resolution of sorts by the deadline of December 31, 2008. I'm pretty sure I could claim temporary insanity based on those promises. I mean, what was I thinking? I have a son and a husband, I tend a small farm and my internet connection is hinky at best in snowstorms."
Regardless, it all came together.
Redgrave also incorporated public polls at her accompanying blog that helped determine twists and turns in the plot. "I would write and then get to a key point in the plot and ask readers and subscribers to choose what happened next. It was fun for me--people don't always choose what you expect them to." At one point she thought she knew how the poll would wind up in advance and started writing her scene early. "People chose differently, though, and suddenly I had this extra section of story. So I posted it as an extra at my blog. I figured it might be neat for readers to see what would have been different if they chose differently.”
So has winning the Textnovel.com prize changed anything for Saoirse Redgrave of the Upper Catskills? “Absolutely! I got a $1,000 prize (less taxes, of course), an agent through July and I’ve already spoken to a reporter from CNN.com. I’ve also been informed that major publishing houses have started to show an interest in seeing the manuscript and I’m getting signed up at bookstores in a couple states to talk about “13 to Life: A Werewolf’s Tale” and writing online with Textnovel.com. So things are really hopping around here. Textnovel.com is providing me with amazing opportunities.”