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Kyle woman makes finals in Writers League of Texas contest

By C.J. Vetter

KYLE – Meridian Parham, a Hays County resident, reached the finals of the Writers League of Texas 2022 manuscript contest with her short story, “Daughters of the Mountain.” 

Parham, who graduated from Hays High school in 2018, grew up in the Buda and Kyle area. She earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing at Stephen F. Austin State University last December, where she wrote her thesis which she submitted in her first attempt at the contest. While she didn’t place in that contest, it gave her valuable critiques that helped her fine-tune her new manuscript and reach the finals. 

“I was not expecting it whatsoever, especially with how many people I know who probably did the exact same thing year after year,” Parham said. “It’s nice to see that my three and half years of school weren’t for nothing.” 

Her manuscript placed as a finalist in the science fiction and fantasy category, and follows two women in a plot of intrigue, danger and LGBTQ+ themes set in a fantasy world with inspiration from the myths of the Greek Amazons and Norse Valkyries. There is also a unique focus on healthy relationships and inter-character dynamics. 

“It’s these two best friends who are living their own separate lives who stumble across a terrible scene of an attempted assassination of the high king of the world, and they uncover a plot to take over the throne and rid the world of individuality,”  Parham said. “My main antagonist is bent on everyone being equal and to do that she is creating a special potion, so the two best friends are trying to stop that.” 

Categories were divided amongst nine different sections, ranging from young adult to mystery, and each had five finalists and one winner overall, amongst hundreds of applicants. While Parham was not the winner overall, placing as a finalist is an award in and of itself, and can not only help writers publish their stories when completed, but also serve as a launching point in their careers. 

“Honestly, it’s just a little bit like bragging rights. If I were to take my novel to an agent or publishing house and say, ‘this is my novel and the first 10 pages won an award from the Writers League of Texas’, it raises a little red flag in their system that tells them to look a little bit closer,” Parham said. 

As a writer, Parham was inspired by her experiences in Kyle and Buda, and reflected on some of her experiences in her submission. Once finished, she intends to publish her work and pursue her career in writing while continuing to work at her normal job.

“I think a lot of the culture of Hays County probably helped a little bit. They always say it takes a village, and between all the people I’ve met that live in Hays County and all the people I’ve grown up with around school, I think that kind of influenced my book, since it revolves around friendship and love, and a support system,” Parham said. “I think that’s really evident here in the community and the support system I have.”

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