All posts by May-Kuan Lim

Three Seconds, Bus Stops and Log Trucks by Megan Higginson

‘I gripped the steering wheel as another log truck rushed by on its way to the paper mill. My car rocked from side to side.’

So begins Megan Higginson’s story, ‘Three Seconds, Bus Stops and Log Trucks’, a poignant and powerful story that we published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. Over summer, 1079 Life broadcast the story, read by none other than Megan herself and we bring you the recording today.

Megan Higginson (centre) and her now adult children

Enjoyed this story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies. Will your story be in our 2020 anthology? We hope so.

2016 – 2019 Stories of Life anthologies

Useful links:

Feedback Month – 11 days left to get feedback on your story draft

How to Enter

Categories and Prizes

Feature image of Logging Truck by Chapman on Flikr. 

 

Man to man – a message from Craig

Craig at his writing desk

Hi, fellow writing enthusiasts!

My name is Craig and I’ve been contributing to Stories of Life since its inception in 2016.

The competition is a great way to share stories about faith and encourage others to be open to the way God works in the lives of ordinary people. I have searched diligently for other Australian Christian writing competitions and concluded that they are a very rare commodity! Stories of Life is a unique opportunity for writers, regardless of experience, to present stories which might not otherwise be told.

It has been my observation that females are more inclined to accept this opportunity than males. In past anthologies, there have been many wonderful stories by female authors but comparatively few with a specific focus which might be particularly meaningful to male readers.

Over the years of this competition, I’ve entered stories about events including a mountain rescue, outdoor adventures like hiking and rock-climbing, chance meetings with strangers and the grief of losing a close friend. Stories about mundane events can be just as compelling as exciting, edge-of-your-seat adventures. I think that male readers often gain a unique perspective from stories written by other men.

So, I want to encourage men (and boys) who might have dismissed the invitation to enter Stories of Life in the past to have a go in 2020. Perhaps, also, the many excellent female contributors might consider encouraging their husbands, fathers, brothers or friends to throw their hat in the ring. The competition will be all the richer for it!

Happy writing!

Craig Chapman.

 

2016 – 2019 Stories of Life anthologies

Stories of Life by Craig

One of the Six (Open category), published in the 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life

 

Birdman (Short category), published in the 2018 anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy and other stories of life

(Feature photo of Birdman supplied by Craig)

Useful links

Feedback Month

How to enter

Categories and Prizes

Feedback on Feedback Month

 

‘Thank you so much for the feedback. This was a very difficult story for me to write, but one I felt compelled to. I knew it was not right because I was focused on spelling out the injustice I felt, rather than the overwhelming grace of God in bringing about a resolution!  So thank you so much. I hope now the story has a better focus. Although I understand this is no guarantee it will be included in the publication – but I now I feel much more satisfied with my submission!’

‘Thanks a million for the feedback from Dr James Cooper. It gives me ample time  to work on the story before entering it into the Stories of Life Competition.’

These quotes are from two people who have had their drafts reviewed, and we’re so glad that our new initiative, Feedback Month, has well and truly taken off.

From serious writers to people who don’t usually write, many have written back to thank our editors, and have said that the feedback is helping them to improve and continue working on their story draft. Our editors are all published authors and are freely giving of their time and expertise. Don’t miss this great opportunity.

To submit a story draft for review, click here Feedback Month.

 

Stories of Life as a pastoral opportunity

 

As a pastor of a congregation, I have been happy to encourage our members to contribute to Stories of Life over the past few years. While many worry that their story isn’t ‘remarkable’ enough, or they are not a good enough writer, those who have gone through the process have been blessed and encouraged by the experience. And they have been surprised to discover that their story is more interesting than they might have thought, and that with a little bit of help, they could produce a well-written story.

Mark Worthing, editor and author

As a pastor one of my goals is always to help people reflect on their own journeys of faith in Christ, and to be able to communicate their stories to others. I have found that Stories of Life presents a wonderful opportunity to do this.

Many Christians carry with them the burden of a difficult experience (often an experience of serious injury or illness, a relationship break-up, or the death of someone close to them). There is much healing to be found in being able to put these experiences and the feelings still connected to them on to paper. I am continually amazed at how beneficial this is, and how many conversations it helps to open up. And, of course, if the story is published or read on radio, hundreds of others hear it and begin to think and talk about their own similar experiences.

Beyond the pastoral care benefits of writing one’s story, there is also a strong evangelistic benefit. Not only the stories of about coming to faith in Christ, but also the stories about personal struggles and how God was present in these times, provide a strong witness to the transforming power of Christ in individual lives. As a pastor I can stand in the pulpit and tell people that Jesus transforms lives, and I can tell those I meet about the good news of what God has done for us in Christ; but, in truth, there is nothing more effective than a so called ‘everyday’ Christian sharing their own experience of God’s grace. This is why pastors are always encouraging people to talk about their faith, to tell those around them about what Jesus has done for them. Stories of Life is a brilliant tool to help people get started doing this.

So, from the standpoint of a pastor, Stories of Life, and all the assistance and encouragement provided on line and via other means to the story writers, has been tremendous tool for pastor ministry.

I believe that every Christian has a powerful story to tell. Encouraging them to consider writing a story and submitting it to Stories of Life is a great pastoral and evangelistic opportunity.

by Rev Mark Worthing

Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, North Adelaide

 

Useful links:

Feedback Month (till 30 June for our editors to give you feedback on your story draft)

How to Enter (accepting story submissions till 31 July for a chance to be published in the 2020 Stories of Life anthology and to win a category prize)

Together on Life – radio interview

Yesterday, radio host Kit Densley interviewed Dr Pete Court on 1079 Life FM in Adelaide. They spoke about how Stories of Life is not only a writing competition, it is also a partnership with the Tabor School of Creative Writing, making writing resources available for free to help people tell their stories of faith well.

Dr Pete Court and radio host Kit Densley at the 2019 book launch of Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life

So many gems in this interview, but to highlight my favourite:

‘Writing is where you actually lean into the flow of your day, take a bit of it out and taste it, and go, “This water tastes like …’

Dr Pete Court

If it doesn’t make sense to you, listen to the interview: Stories of Life on Together on Life. Thank you Kit for making this available online so that we can all hear the interview in its entirety:

Other useful links:

Feedback Month – receiving story drafts till 30 June 2020

How to enter – submission period open till 31 July 2020

A little scar by Dr Pete Court

Archives

2016 – 2019 Stories of Life anthologies

 

The Dress by Jane Owers

‘You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. Looking at me when I was 24 it was easy to see I was a struggling single mum who hated being cold. The only new clothes I bought were Kmart shoes and underwear…’

This is how Jane’s story, The Dress, begins. Her story was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and broadcast on 1079 Life in Adelaide over summer:

Enjoyed The Dress? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology?

We hope so. From now until 30 June, you can send us your story draft and one of our editors will give you feedback. This is a free service we are offering to help people of faith tell their faith stories well. For draft submissions click here.

That crazy message from God by R.J. Rodda

‘That crazy message from God’ involves a battered blue Mazda, a red light, and a very tired young driver.

R. J. Rodda’s story won third prize in the 2019 Eternity Matters Stories of Life and  was published in Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.

Peter Evans (left) from Eternity Matters presenting the prize to R.J. Rodda’s father.

‘That crazy message from God’ was also broadcast on 1079 Life over summer and we’re pleased to bring you a reading of her story today.

If you enjoyed that story, you may like to check out our archives and anthologies.

4 books in 4 years – will your story be in the 2020 Stories of Life anthology? We hope so.

In June, Feedback Month, we are offering feedback to anyone who would like their story draft read by one of our editors. Upload your story drafts here if you would like to take advantage of this free service offered by our editors. We are also accepting submissions to the competition proper until 31 July.

There are three categories:

  • Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life (up to 500 words)
  • Immortalise Young Stories of Life (500 – 1000 words, for writers aged 17 and under)
  • Tabor Stories of Life (1000 – 1500 words)

A person can submit a maximum of one story per category. This means that if you are under aged 17 and under, you could submit up to three stories, and if you are 18 and over, you could submit up to two stories.

Stories are already starting to come in, and we are excited at the quality of those stories and anticipating a great 2020 anthology.

 

 

One of the Six by Craig Chapman

Craig’s story, One of the Six, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. The title of Craig’s story was taken from this statistic recorded in his first paragraph: ‘Every day, eight Australians take their own live. Six of those are men.’

Craig recorded his story at the 1079 Life studios in Adelaide and his story was broadcast in South Australia over the past summer.

Craig at his writing desk

A bit about Craig

Craig enjoys outdoor adventure, including hiking. He is a regular blogger on seedstrek.com and has been writing for many years. Craig has had several stories published in past Stories of Life anthologies. His novel, Succession Plan, was published in 2017. It is a biblical fiction story, set at the end of King David’s life and based on events described in the first chapter of 1Kings. You can find read more of his work at craigchapman.org.

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology?

We hope so. From now until 30 June, you can send us your story draft and one of our editors will give you feedback. This is a free service we are offering to help people of faith tell their faith stories well. For draft submissions click here.

Hearing God’s Voice by Graham Byrne

Graham Byrne’s story, Hearing God’s Voice, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and broadcast on 1079 Life in South Australia.

Enjoyed Graham’s story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.

Drop Zone by Juni Desireé Hoel

Juni Desireé Hoel

Juni’s story, Drop Zone, won second prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life last year and was published in our anthology Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. We’re pleased to bring you a reading of Juni’s story today.

 

We asked Juni to share with us a bit about her story and her writing journey. This is what she sent us:

Backstory to Drop Zone

I wrote Drop Zone because I wanted to share a short encouraging story that is also a reminder to self. This story encourages me personally on two levels.

First, it reminds me that I am enough. I am only one person but God loves me as much as he loves any other person. And he will do whatever he can to get my attention and show me who he is. He shows me he wants to be in my life every day and we can talk to each other all the time.

Second, it reminds me that when we serve God and share God with others through words or actions, it is never in vain. We may think it has no impact and that it’s a waste of time and effort because we don’t see anything happen on the outside. But who knows what seed is being planted or watered or is growing in someone’s heart?

Having been on both sides of one being served and one serving, I can appreciate both sides and see how they work together. As a youth leader, I could become discouraged thinking that working with teens each week wasn’t making a difference. But Gabby’s words encouraged me that it mattered. It mattered in my life when Gabby ran Drop Zone every week, so, I would keep going because it might matter in someone else’s life.

In terms of how I wrote the story, I wanted to capture these two sides, so, that’s why the story is split into two episodes. I also wanted to focus on dialogue because it was a conversation with Gabby that gave me this insight about the one being worth it. I then chose a conversation with Gabby from the earlier episode where her words also gave me an insight that God is real and personal. I wanted to highlight that what she did matters. It wasn’t big, flashy, weird, or wacky, but it was simple, casual, normal, and relatable. It made a difference.

What writing means to me

For a long time, my dream has been to be a writer/author. I’ve doubted this dream many times but writing is something I can’t shake. Throughout my life, I’ve had other hobbies and passions that have come and gone, but I’ve always gone back to writing. God has spoken to me about it on numerous occasions telling me I was made to write. The most recent time I doubted this was last year. I asked God to show me if I should keep the writing dream alive or if I should give it up. Not long after, I found out that one of my stories I entered in the Stories of Life competition had won a monetary prize. I felt God speak to me through this. He told me not to neglect writing and that he had still called me to be a writer.

The reason I doubted writing was because I felt guilty that my dream wasn’t to do something ‘better’ with my life. Teaching, nursing, feeding the poor…something that you could see was making a difference in the world and making people’s lives better. Through studying creative writing at Tabor (a course I heard about through the Stories of Life competition), I finally learnt the value of writing. I mean, I always knew it, from being a lifelong book-reader and seeing how writing made a difference in my life, but hearing it from a Christian perspective showed me that writing is one of many ways we can show God to the world and glorify him. And writing can make people’s lives better by offering encouragement, inspiration, comfort, wisdom, and so much more.

I hope the words I write bring God’s light and love to people and that they bring glory to God. 

‘Clothed in Beauty’ by Juni Desireé Hoel

You can find more of Juni’s work here:

YouTube: Juni Desireé

Facebook: Juni Desireé Writer

Instagram: Willowbound Journals

Etsy: Willowbound Journals

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies. Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.