Prompt to Publication | Rachel Nel
Today we are celebrating Rachel Nel. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen 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 you and teach you how to use 12 Short Stories to build your author platform.
Author feature: I’d like to introduce Rachel Nel.
Rachel completed the 12 Short Stories writing challenge in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?
Rachel Nel: Yes, participating in 12SS has definitely helped me to publish. Without participating in this challenge, I never would have had short stories to submit for publication in the first place!
What is your favourite short story that you wrote on 12SS?
Rachel Nel: My favourite story that I’ve written on 12SS is a tongue-in-cheek not-really-sci-fi story. It’s not a genre that I usually seek out to read – and rarely write – but I had such fun writing it. It’s called Down to Earth.
What have you published?
Rachel Nel: In October 2018, YOU Magazine in South Africa published one of my 12SS stories. It was called The Vigil. My story, Workbench, which I wrote for the August 2019 prompt has been published in the December issue of YOU Magazine. YOU Magazine has just bought another one of my 12SS stories for publication.
How did 12 Short Stories help you?
Rachel Nel: Participating in 12SS has helped me enormously. It has turned me, a wannabe writer who used to only TALK about writing, into someone who now actually writes.
I have learned so much from reading other authors’ stories here on 12SS. I particularly admire those writers who can paint vivid pictures with words – and there are many of them here on 12SS! The standard of writing is sky-high. Although I’d LOVE to be, I know I’m not a literary author. That’s okay. I’ve now seen that there is a market out there for writers like me who just tell stories that hopefully entertain and touch readers in some way. That doesn’t mean I can’t try to adopt literary techniques in my own writing, though!
I am always amazed when I get any comments on my stories! Fellow 12SS authors have always been generous to me. Even if they make constructive suggestions, it is always done kindly. Heeding the advice I’ve received has contributed to some of my stories being sold. The discipline of the monthly deadlines has helped me so much! I am such a procrastinator. Had it not been for the deadlines, I’d still be planning to write my January 2018 12SS – which is when I started participating in the challenge. Without this challenge, I never would have had any stories to submit for publication. And I definitely would not have had the confidence to submit my writing to an editor.
As a little girl, before she was able to read or write, R.L. Nel used to tell stories – long, convoluted, gory affairs which went on for days and were shamelessly lifted from the plots of the tales depicted on the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents – which she secretly watched while hiding behind the couch. These days, she’s a journalist and copywriter by trade. Since learning how to type, she has been creating slightly less macabre tales on 12SS and more succinct ones of exactly 140-characters long on Twitter, which you can read here.
Read Rachel’s flash fiction:
The Most Beautiful (250-word Flash Fiction)
People have always stared at her.
Some of the reasons why were God-given. The rest, she worked at. She refused second servings of pap with her marog. She rubbed lotion into her skin until it gleamed like polished mahogany. She kept her hair long and braided so that it could swing against her back when she walked. A walk she had learned by copying the runway models on Fashion TV.
God had given her eyes as dark as molten chocolate beneath perfectly arched brows. He had bestowed pouty lips upon her. Had sculpted her nose and cheekbones and dimpled her chin.
Her mother disagreed. Told her that her beauty had come straight from Satan. “You’ve been cursed!”
“You look like an angel,” Thabo said.
He protectively slung his arm around her and paraded her through the township. When the owner of the spaza shop said hello, she smiled.
Back inside the gloom of Thabo’s shack, she paid for her transgression. For days after, bruises bloomed all over her body. Whenever they faded, he found reasons to refresh them.
“It’s because he loves me so much and doesn’t want to lose me,” she consoled herself.
He never touched her face, except for caressing it afterwards and wiping away her tears.
One night, she jerked awake from liquid splashing across her face like a slap. She smelled petrol. She saw Thabo’s face when he struck the match. He was smiling.
Nowadays, when she walks down the street, people still stare at her.
Well done, Rachel!
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