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Blackfoot writer honored at ‘Writers of the Future’ gala in Hollywood

Arts & Entertainment

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BLACKFOOT — Local writer Brittany Rainsdon began writing in her youth. Now, years of practice are beginning to pay off.

Rainsdon, of Blackfoot, was honored as a Published Finalist at the “Writers of the Future” gala held in Hollywood on Oct. 22. The Writers of the Future Contest highlights up-and-coming science fiction and fantasy writers and publishes the winning stories in a yearly anthology.

Winners of the contest also participate in a week-long series of workshops and masterclasses with successful professional writers, where they learn the ins and out of not just writing good fiction but also making a living doing it.

“(It was) very surreal,” Rainsdon told EastIdahoNews.com. “All these judges that you’ve heard about or read from, they’re there and they spend their week teaching you. You get to meet them and they talk to you about your writing. It’s really cool because these are these icons that you’ve looked up to and they’re there and they’re talking to you.”

The “Writers of the Future” judges, which included well-known fantasy and science fiction writers like Brandon Sanderson, Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Herbert and Orson Scott Card, recognized Rainsdon for her story “Half Breed.” Rainsdon describes “Half Breed” as the story of a young girl caught between two worlds.

“A teen, half-human, half-dryad (tree spirit), must stop her dryad elders from seeking revenge (on humans) or risk losing half her family,” Rainsdon said. “So she’s stuck between her human side and her dryad side.”

Along with the honors Rainsdon and the other writers received at the awards show, they also spent a week in workshops with successful authors, talking about their writing and their ideas and gleaning many useful tips for improving their craft.

“One of the coolest things they had was what they called their ‘24-Hour Story Challenge’,” said Rainsdon. “They spent the first day or two talking about stories. Then they said ‘You’re going to write a story – not an outline – but a complete story. And we’ll meet in 24 hours and you have to turn it in and we’ll talk about it.”

Rainsdon said that the writers pull different weird items out of a bag to serve as an inspiration and help them come up with ideas for their 24-hour stories. The judges then picked three stories to critique with the group.

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Courtesy Carmen Bartolo

“I was really nervous about that but it ended up actually being one of the highlights of my week,” she said. “I didn’t know that I could do it and they were like ‘You can’t use any storylines or anything you’ve worked on before. None of it. Just totally everything fresh.’ And I was able to finish my story, which felt really good.”

Another interesting lesson Rainsdon learned while talking with more established writers was to be open-minded about ways to make money from her writing.

“Some of the judges were talking to us about, ‘Make sure you sell movie rights or option your stories for movies,’” she said. “‘Make them sell them in other languages. Use every route available to make money from your stories.’ I had never considered that. They were like, ‘Go talk to Netflix!’ And I was like ‘OK, give me their number.’”

The movies may or may not be in Rainsdon’s future, but she intends to keep writing, sticking with short stories for now.

“I’m a mother of four, and I’m actually pregnant with my fifth, which will be due in March,” Rainsdon said. “So what comes very next is a baby. For the next couple of years, I think I am going to stick with some short stories and novelettes, shorter fiction. Once my kids are in school, I’m thinking five or six years plus, I would really like to do some novels.”

If you’re interested in reading Brittany Rainsdon’s short story “Half Breed,” as well as the other stories published in the international bestselling anthology “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. 37,” you can click here to pick that up. You can also follow what Rainsdon is up to by visiting her website.

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