Michelle Zeng (Age 12) Silver Key Award Winner
To be honest, I had never planned on ever writing The Hunter; I had absolutely no plot ideas and no motivation to write anything longer than a role play post. The Hunter was originally a random, rather inane piece of writing that I had been using to improve on my descriptive writing skills.
How did the supernatural aspect of the story come into being, you may ask? I personally am not very sure. For the past few days prior to writing The Hunter, however, I had indulged in reading things like paranormal claims by people over the internet, as well as reading horror stories on sites such as Creepypasta. I think that the little ghost girl in the story was mostly inspired by all those legends of White Ladies that can be found all over the world.
By definition, White Ladies are women and girls that have lost something – be it a husband, children, or some other valuable sort of object – and have set it upon themselves to search for that lost item, even if it takes them forever to do so. The girl in The Hunter may very well be a sort of White Lady, doomed to wander in the forest in the eternal search for her home, but what the girl truly is – well, I can leave it to your imaginations.
I rewrote The Hunter two times before deciding to send it off to the Scholastic writing competitions. It is probably the best short story I have ever written, as I rarely write anything beyond fan-fictions, poems or role-play posts. I had mixed feelings regarding the final outcome of The Hunter; pride, as I loved the way the story ended up in the end, and apprehension for the competition. I was going up against amazing high-school students from gifted art schools like Etobicoke School of Arts; what kind of chance did I have?
When I got the email announcing that the Regional International winners had been decided, I scrolled through the PDF file anxiously, scanning for a name that I wasn’t even sure would be on there. But finally, at the end of the second-last page, there was my name: Michelle Zeng, author of The Hunter, had won a Silver Key award! I must admit, I shamelessly screamed aloud.
Even though my Silver Key award means that I cannot advance any further in the competition, I am still immensely proud of this achievement; this is my first time entering a competition as big as Scholastic, and the fact that I actually managed to get an award really means something to me. Either way, it’s given me hope, and the knowledge that regardless of age and experience, even a normal literature-obsessed girl like me has the chance to reach high with my passion.