Prompt to Publication | Megan Choritz

Today we are celebrating Megan Choritz. Since Deadlines for Writers started in 2017, many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.

I hope these interviews will help and teach you how to use Deadlines for Writers to build your author platform.

Scroll down to watch the interview. 

Author feature: I’d like to introduce Megan Choritz

Which challenges have you participated in?

Megan Choritz: I did my first challenge in deep lockdown. It was a daily prompt challenge and I became hooked. Then I did 12 Short Stories and I am currently in my 3rd year of them. I love them. I am doing my second year of poems and I completed the 52 Scenes last year which produced my novel. This year I am doing the rewrite to fix a novel I wrote pre-Covid 19.


What have you published?

Megan Choritz: I have published a novel/auto-fiction called Lost Property.


Has Deadlines for Writers helped you as a writer?

Megan Choritz: There is literally no way I would have published without doing the 52 Scenes challenge. I may have started, but I would not have had the confidence to see it through on my own.

The feedback from the other writers was invaluable – my novel would not be what it is if I had not benefited from the careful, thoughtful, incisive feedback given each week.  Our writing only truly comes alive when someone else reads it – and to have such meticulous attention to your work, freely given, is an absolute must for you to reach an audience to whom you want to connect with.


What did you learn that you applied to your story?

Megan Choritz:

  1. Weekly discipline
  2. Write with readers in mind
  3. Understand the structure, character arcs, conflict, inciting incidents, finding an authentic voice, and then also remembering what was useful to me, and throwing out the rest if it didn’t apply

Having readers every step of the way is literally what kept me going. I felt like they had put their faith in me and I owed them my commitment and discipline. My readers are now my friends. We are a community. We are a tribe.


What is your favourite story you wrote for 12SS?

Megan Choritz: This is one of my favourites.



Megan Choritz is a South African-born playwright, actor, writer, director, and improviser who lives in Cape Town and shares her home with furry animal people. She has spent all of her life involved in theatre and make-believe.

Megan graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1986 and worked as an actress before starting her own improvisation troupe in Cape Town. She has written and co-written numerous plays and musicals, performed and directed theatre, and she improvises and teaches improv.  She also writes short stories, and poems and children’s stories. Her plays The Tent, Drive with Me and Clouds Like Waves have achieved critical acclaim.

Read an excerpt from Megan‘s story.

It is a rare sunny winter’s Sunday. I am scratching around in the tiny patch of garden. Snails have eaten what was left of the flat leafed parsley, leaving silver trails along the grass and wall. Mark sits on the wooden bench up against the front of the house. He is on his laptop, but not really into it, calling out to me to come and look at this cute puppy video, at that silly cat thing. He is waiting for the Grand Prix to start and then I will lose him in the circular vortex of noise and repetition for hours.

“Mark, did you hear that?” A loud bang, like a giant paper bag exploding.


“That noise.”

“Car backfiring.”

“I don’t think so. Look.”

I point down the road. At the intersection of our street and the road below, somewhere just behind our view, smoke has started to rise. Black smoke. Danger smoke. House on fire smoke.

Mark rushes inside to put his laptop down and slip on a pair of shoes. I wait and watch.

“Remember to bring house keys!” I call.

By the time we get to the bottom of the road, a crowd has formed in front of the burning house. I recognise Issy from the corner shop running down the steps of the house with an armful of clothes. He passes them to Waseelah who has started to make a pile of things salvaged behind the low wall of auntie Brenda’s house. The burning house belongs to brothers Faiq and Faizel Adams who live there with their families. Ethel is in the crowd, her two-year-old granddaughter Tina in her arms. Tears streak down Ethel’s face as she prays loudly to her god, Lord Jesus Christ, to not forsake them. In Jesus’ name amen. Someone staggers onto the stoep of the house, but the smoke is thick, and I can’t make out who it is. Ethel hands Tina to Mark and runs forward to help the woman who is on all fours and vomiting. The students from number 10 rig a hose pipe to a garden tap and start spraying the next-door building. I hear the fire engine siren in the distance. Men gather, shout instructions before entering the house and exiting with whatever they can find before it is too late. A standing fan. A blue plastic laundry basket filled with a toaster, a few mugs, and a kettle. A red heart shaped Valentine’s cushion with white I love you writing.

The plastic guttering melts and splits down the middle dividing into two burning candles. The roof starts to crackle and pop. The wood underneath the corrugated iron has taken. Small flames lick the spaces between roof and wall, testing, curious, provocative. They send news to the smoke which follows them. Something falls inside and a man rushes out, his shirt sleeve on fire. He is swallowed up by a blanket, held by two women who were waiting. I watch as he is patted down and put out.

The fire engine arrives, splitting the crowd and pushing us out onto the sides. The firemen cannot open the manhole for the fire hydrant; it has been vandalised too often and the metal edges are bent completely out of shape. They ask around for a crowbar. Everything is taking too long. Flames have burst through sections of the roof now and I have a random thought about what this must look like from a plane, or from space. A crowbar appears and is handed to the firemen who struggle and finally succeed in popping open the manhole cover. Then the whoosh and crash sounds of the roof blowing open, and huge, pine tree sized flames are set free, sending out a wall of heat.

At last, the fat red hose starts filling up and the firemen walk it closer to the front of the house and start spraying. There is a change in air pressure. All the manic energy and rushing and shouting and crying out comes to a sudden stop and everybody stands silent and watches the death of a house, stuff, history, story, small fights – which side was supposed to fix the dividing fence, memories, people gone and remembered in photographs, cell phone charger, yesterday’s lotto ticket.

Everybody stands and watches. I turn to Mark, to say something, but he is not where I thought he would be, behind me. He is gone. I scan the crowd. I cannot see him. A prickle becomes a strange, unnameable feeling of anxiety. My neighbour, Regina, a medical student from Malawi, grabs my hand and we stand, holding on to each other and crying.

Buy the book.

One morning Laine wakes up to discover that the man she’s been married to for 15 years has been secretively living out a monstrous lie. Her world is tilted on its axis. Now she must unstitch her existence, and peck through the pieces of her past… Just as Laine thinks she’s reached the end of uncovering all the bitter truths, a child appears who demands her attention. This small, fierce person forces her to see the horror and ignites the tiniest flame of hope within.
A brilliant debut novel.


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Well done, Megan!

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