2021 Writer's Games Winner
The Writer's Workout conducted the following interview with JB Hansen in September, 2021. The Writer's Workout is represented as "WW" and JB is represented as "JB". Interview responses are published as received.
WW: What made you want to participate in the Writer's Games this year?
JB: Writing’s something that I really love to do but have trouble setting aside time to work on it. So, I was looking for a contest and thought the Writer’s Games would be a great fit to keep up with my goal of writing more. Having to write a short story in three days for six weeks in a row definitely got me to write more! But in all honesty, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
WW: Was there anything that you were worried or nervous about coming into this year's Games?
JB: I haven’t put my writing ‘out there’ very much, so I was kinda nervous about doing that. And then on top of that, knowing I would get feedback was a little scary. However, the feedback ended up being the best part! So, if anyone’s worried about that side of it, all the feedback I received had a mix of compliments and politely constructive criticism.
WW: What kept you motivated to participate in each Event?
JB: Oh, that’s difficult to describe. I’m very task-oriented. So, having something I signed up for just sitting there, it was like making an attempt was automatic, which is not to say it was easy. But the challenge was also part of the fun.
WW: Did life ever get in the way during the Games? How did that affect your writing?
JB: Actually, I’m going to go with… it might be the other way around?
WW: What was your favorite Event and why?
JB: Every Villain's Story was a lot of fun. I had been wanting to write a story with a female matriarch of a crime family for a while, and this Event was the perfect opportunity. I also really enjoyed It's A Disaster! I didn’t think I would like it when I first saw it, because I struggled with tropes in an earlier Event. But I think I ended up with a pretty cool way to play with tropes for Disaster.
WW: Was there an Event that was more challenging for you than the others?
JB: Definitely We Built This City. I knew I wanted to do a landmark that would only be recognizable to the main characters. And so I came up with an idea I still think is interesting, but I just couldn’t get the strange ending and the descriptive beginning to meet up in a decipherable middle. It was like, I wrote a nice set up, knew where I wanted it to go, and I just couldn’t get it there. I almost didn’t submit it.
WW: What inspires you to write in general?
JB: I’ve always been a storyteller.
WW: What genre do you normally like to write in? How did that help or hurt you during the Games?
JB: Mostly I’ve done paranormal/vampire fiction. I didn’t do anything related to vampires for any of the Events. None of the prompts took me in that direction. Overall, I’m interested in writing somewhere between speculative fiction and dark, mysterious, dramas. So, I’d say the Games gave me a chance to work in both of those genres I’m interested in.
For two Events, I went sort of speculative. With aliens though, which was totally unplanned and not something I’ve ever tried before. So, that was… hectic. And then for the other three, I went dark/mysterious. Oddly enough, I think my alien stories turned out the best as far as standalone short fiction. However, the dark dramas make me want to attempt longer pieces based on what I started in those Events.
WW: What is the best advice someone has ever given you and who said it?
JB: Oh wow, that’s hard. I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family but can’t think of any one thing I’d pinpoint as ‘best advice.’ On the other hand, my mom always says, “Write what you know.” And then I don’t.
WW: What advice would you give to people thinking about participating in next year's Games?
JB: Do it!!! Even if you’re nervous, it’s a great experience.
Also, make sure to submit something for all the Events. Like I said above, I almost didn’t submit for We Built This City. With never having competed before and not placing in the top five during the Events, I had no idea I was going to place overall. I just keep thinking, if I hadn’t submitted a piece for that first Event, I would have had no way of even knowing that I could have placed overall.
It is the policy of The Writer's Workout to publish interview responses as received.