Writer wins honorable mention in Raleigh Fine Arts contest

Out of more than 700 submitted stories, senior Lydia Close earns special recognition for her story “No Diamonds, No Butter.”

Julia Conn, reporter

Annually, students in Creative Writing and other aspiring writers take part in the Raleigh Fine Arts story contest. This writing competition is for all Wake County high school students.

Senior Lydia Close was announced as one of the 19 total finalists, and her story “No Diamonds, No Butter” was selected for an Honorable Mention award for twelfth grade writers. Coming so far in the competition means quite a lot to Close, as she has prepared extensively for her piece to be the very best it could be.

Close’s thought process for deciding a story theme was to find something universal that “could breach any barrier of time or place.” Initially, she was drawn to the concept of grief and losing a loved one. This soon evolved more specifically into World War II widows in the United States.

“The most challenging part of writing my story was actually getting it down on paper,” Close said. “I knew what I wanted to write about and how I would make it happen, but I determined through trial and error what words I would use, what details I would focus on, and what overall tone I would adopt.”

Close’s motivation stems from authors such as Louisa May Alcott and Janette Oke. Her theme for the story was inspired by her love of reading and writing historical fiction. She believes that in order to be considered a writer yourself, all you need to do is take it just a little seriously and enjoy it a lot.

For aspiring writers, her advice is as follows: “Determine your purpose, audience and moral as soon as you come up with an idea for a short story, a novel, a poem, prose…whatever it may be,” Close said. “Never toss or delete any draft you write. Keep everything.”

Close’s story was intended to reach those who are able to relate to the tragic feelings of grief. She also wanted to convey that with these difficult feelings comes growth and healing.

“I would hope that anyone who reads this short story would be able to take away a message of hope; that grief doesn’t last forever,” Close said.

As far as her future goes, Close has given thought into furthering her passion for writing and literature.

“In my future, I believe my writing will open up more doors for me to share stories, whether they are published or not,” Close said. “As of now, I’m moving toward the career of becoming a teacher, so any kind of writing will always be present in my life.”