Nicole Fratrich each year looks forward to participating in The Tribune-Democrat’s “Your Story” competition.
The 20-year-old St. Vincent College junior English major is a frequent contributor, having had her chapters chosen a few times as winners over the past couple of years.
“I always wait for it to come out,” the Seward resident said. “It’s a good way to spread Christmas joy and involve the community.”
She said “Your Story” also is a great way for her to get more writing experience, and it’s an outlet to create new stories.
“I do a lot of writing on my own, but this lets me try new and different characters and plot lines,” Fratrich said.
She said she was surprised that her chapter was selected.
“I wasn’t happy with what I submitted for Chapter 1 at all because I had no idea what to do,” Fratrich said.
“So I thought I had to redeem myself. I had ideas and I kept wracking my brain trying to figure out who this mysterious woman might be.”
She said when writing Chapter 2, she looked closer at the details in the first chapter.
“I thought there was the Breast Cancer Awareness keychain – anyone can have that – but I figured that could be an in, and a connection,” Fratrich said.
Her writing process was starting from the beginning and taking it slowly.
“My biggest thing when I do these chapters is the pacing and where someone might take it,” Fratrich said.
“I figured I could drag out some exposition and add some character development.”
She said she isn’t sure where she’d she like the story to go.
“What could happen next to give it more conflict?” Fratrich said. “I may submit again toward the end or Chapter 5, but now, somebody else can develop it.”
Fratrich said she enjoys writing, including short stories and poetry, and has entered and won various writing competitions on local and state levels.
“Last year, I had a story published in Mystery Weekly Magazine in the November issue,” she said.
“They had an emerging mystery writers contest for college students. The Celestial Echo Press just selected one of my stories. They are making an anthology about stories that feature twins and it’s supposed to be published by the end of the year around Christmas.”
Fratrich has also finished a novel about an ’80s band that she’s trying to get published.