Thirteen years ago, Darrell Corbel’s computer crashed, badly. He lost everything on it including a novel he had started writing.
Luckily, the story doesn’t end there.
It stayed in his head and kept evolving little by little over the years. Eventually, he put it back together in a different form – a short story entitled The Challenge.
This summer Corbel submitted The Challenge to a short story contest run by Polar Expressions Publishing, and found himself in competition against 630 other fiction writers from across the country.
The judges selected 200 works for the collection and Corbel’s was among them. He had never been published before.
“It is an amazing feeling to know that your story is being read across the country by many other people, writers and non-writers alike,” Corbel told the Empire-Advance.
The collection, called The Way Through, was published earlier this month and is being sold on the publishing company’s website. Corbel says it falls into the genre of supernatural horror.
“The premise of the short story is that a couple comes to visit a priest and tell him that their house is haunted. As the priest listens to the story he realizes with terror that he has done battle with the entity in their house before and that it is back to 'challenge' him once again.”
But that’s not the last chapter of this story. Not yet.
Corbel, a Grade 7 teacher of ELA at Virden Junior High, got to thinking how he could turn this into a learning experience for his students.
“Well, why not get kids to submit what they write? Why not give them a chance to become published?”
The same publishing company has a competition for student poetry and stories. So, come next spring, Corbel plans to work with his students on writing and submitting their best work.
Who knows? By this time next year, some of them could be published authors, just like their teacher.
“My experience is proof that you never know what can happen unless you just go out and take risks doing what you like to do!”
Excerpt from The Challenge by Darrell Corbell
Nelson folded his hands in front of him and smiled his usual charming smile at them. They didn't smile back. "What can I help you with today?"
The couple looked at each other, and Sue nodded to Dan.
"Well, we're going to come right out and say it, I guess. We, uh... we think our house is... haunted." He fidgeted in his chair and stared straight at Father Nelson's eyes as if to say, "Come on... go ahead and laugh now."
Nelson leaned back in his chair and regarded them both. Were they putting him on?