Writing takes discipline,  just ask the Hook’s famed contest judge John Grisham, who spends hours every single day at the keyboard, and has more than two dozen best sellers to his name.

The winners of  the HOOK’S 2013 Short Fiction Contest are further proof that putting in the time, day after day, year after year, can pay off.

Second place: Carolyn O’Neal

Second place winner Carolyn O’Neal found the inspiration for her story, “Silent Grace,”  last summer while reading an Esquire magazine article about the tar sands in Alberta, Canada.
“The oil that comes out of the Middle East is relatively clean,” she says. “The tar sands, they have to boil it down. You use a whole lot of fresh water. That means they’re diverting massive amounts of fresh water from everybody else.”

Her protagonist is a young First Nation girl whose life is affected by her family’s involvement in the tar sand operations, and O’Neal– who has honed her writing at WriterHouse under the tutelage of one-time Hook contest judge and 2009 second place contest winner David Ronka– hopes the topic will pique interest in the complexity and dangers of oil extraction, no matter where it takes place.

“Fiction can change the world,” she says. “That’s what I want to do– make people a little bit aware of what’s going on.”

O’Neal has also presented at the 2013 Virginia Festival of the Book on the topic HOW TO CREATE A GREAT WRITING GROUP.   She is a member of BACCAliteray. com.

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