A Mount Carmel High School graduate-to-be was recognized for multiple works in a national writing competition late last week.
Margaret “Maggee” Bleyer was one of seven MCHS students to enter the annual Scholastic Art and Writing competition during the 2020-21 academic year. Previous participants in the contest include Slyvia Plath, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote, according to a press release on the Wabash County District #348 website.
Amongst the seven Wabash County entrants in the competition’s most recent iteration were Alexandria Archer, Kyle Dunn, Eva Hocking, Allyson Pierce, Anne Schroeder, Maxwell Zimmerman and Bleyer.
Her writing entries into the contest earned Bleyer four separate distinctions, three Honorable Mentions and one Silver Key. An Honorable Mention is awarded to the top 10–15 percent of all entries in a given category.
Bleyer was recognized for her work in multiple categories of fiction writing, including Personal Essay and Memoir, Short Story, Poetry and Science Fiction and Fantasy.
“Some pieces were written as a form of closure for past experiences,” admitted Bleyer. “I used my inspiration toward life and other situations to guide my writing.”
Of the distinctions awarded her for her works, the highest honor bestowed to Bleyer in the competition was earning a Silver Key, given only to the top seven to 10 percent of writers in a given category, of which there are three. Bleyer won a Silver Key in the category if Science Fiction and Fantasy.
“My Silver Key was awarded in a genre I am proud of writing in…” she stated. “I believe my Honorable Mentions and Silver Key display my love for writing.”
The story for which she earned a Silver Key, entitled When the Story Ends, takes a unique angle for a science fiction/fantasy piece, with the plot revolving around the story’s main character becoming aware that she is in a story.
“This story is about the main character realizing she does not exist,” Bleyer explained. “She exists for readers’ entertainment and only with the author’s creativity.”
The MCHS senior noted that particular creative direction was born from a desire to break from traditional trends of fiction writing.
“I drew inspiration from metafiction,” said Bleyer. “Metafiction aims to break the fourth wall, meaning to either directly or indirectly speak to the reader and break modern literature norm.”
Using the concept of metafiction as a vehicle, Bleyer hoped to convey the struggles she was feeling during the writing process.
“Throughout this piece, I wanted to challenge authors, readers and, even though they are not real, fictional characters,” she explained. “I wrote this as a literal response to my writer’s burnout.”
The story also aims to examine common approaches used by authors in fictional works, as well as how said approaches are received by the reader.
“What if I wrote a story that would call out my and other writers’ techniques and flaws?” she recalled thinking when developing the concept for the story. “Readers can only imagine what fictional characters and settings look like.
“In this story, imagination and reality coincide together and represent the writing process/reader’s imagination as a whole.”
Upon graduating from Mount Carmel High School, Bleyer has plans to attend Wabash Valley College, where she intends to major in English and Radio/Television Communications. Following the receipt of her two-year Associates degree from WVC, she intends to transfer to a university situated in the American Midwest.