Friday, April 5, 2013

Write what you know - Actuarial Speculative Fiction Example

Results are in for the 10th Speculative Fiction Contest - a writing contest for actuaries.

The winner wrote a heartfelt story involving the release of a potential anti-aging pill. "The Fountain of Youth" by Ben Marshall brings humor, suspense, and brain food into a great story. 

My story also involved health care and technology - Peanut Butter Cookies involves a grandmother, her robot caretaker, and digitized health decisions.

I want to take this opportunity to express a couple of key thoughts for the competitive writers out there.

  1. Look for writing contests in your particular industry.  There are many science, legal, and political contest.  Nonprofits have them too.  The pool of contestants could be smaller than what you might see in other writing contests aimed at writers.
  2. Use your day job as fuel for inspiration in other contests or written works.  You can do this in a couple ways.
    1. Make a character have your job. An example that comes to mind is C. Hope Clark's Low Country Bribe.  The work is filled with the intricacies of a government agricultural land agent, and while that's not the most thrilling job in the world, the specificity of the detail adds authenticity.
    2. Take common themes from your industry.  That's what I did with this story, pulling from an MPR story I heard about robots. Shortly after I wrote it the previews for Robot & Frank were released. (See preview below)

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