This interview was originally published in 2011. Braydon is now a doctoral candidate in creative writing and a community manager for Feminist War Cult. Submissions for the Indie Writers Deathmatch are open until December 21st. Visit Deathmactch.ca for more info.
The Windsor-based English grad student Braydon Beaulieu won entry to last year’s tournament with his Kafkaesque submission “Field Guild to Kleptoparasitism” only to be felled by a true Deathmatch tragedy in the semi-finals. Beaulieu, who at that point held a steady lead, was suddenly left in the dust when a StarCraft blogger gave orders to his 5,000 followers to rain carnage on the comment board and take away his imminent win. But Beaulieu is not so easily beaten. Hell, blood stains are no match for a bathtub of bleach! Since taking part in the Deathmach, he’s found supporters and readers who have helped his writing thrive.
Exposure. Believe it or not, some pretty heavy-hitting authors were reading those stories when they were online. My story went viral on Twitter and in various forums. Several thousand people voted each round. Even professional StarCraft II players know my name now. It also got me a few dates. No, I’m not lying.
Is there anything from the comment board that still resonates with you?
Rosemary Nixon’s crazy-deep analysis of “Field Guide to Kleptoparasitism.” Rosemary is one of my favourite fiction authors, and her book of interconnected short stories The Cock’s Egg remains a very influential book for me. Her posts were long and very thoughtful, and provided insight into my writing that I had never before considered. Since the Deathmatch, Rosemary and I have become very close friends and I’m really grateful for – and flattered by – her supportive interpretation of my story.
What brought you to submit to a tournament that pins up stories like targets at a gun range?
As laid-back as I am, I love competition. I love walking that fine line between being sportsmanlike and beating your opponent into the dust. Obviously, I didn’t win last year’s Deathmatch in terms of votes, but I definitely won in terms of exposure, publication, and learning to remain gentlemanly in the face of some pretty heavy adversity. I think we all won in that respect. You can’t ask for much more than that as an up-and-coming writer.