Thank you to all entrants for submitting stories to our competition.
We received many, many excellent stories and as usual, it was difficult to pick out
only a few as winners.
First place wins £100 - Taria Karillion - Attempt 67
Second place wins £70 - Evan Guildford-Blake - Absence
Third place wins £30 - Bruce Harris - Paris by Night
Two entrants were awarded a highly commended place and each win a free entry to the Open Short Story Competition 2019:
Ellen Evers - Dear Reader
Shirley Cook - Turf Magic.
Helen Laycock has very kindly provided a report about judging our competition.
Reading and judging the wonderful selection of short stories made me ask myself what it is that makes a winner. It’s not just the idea; great ideas only work if other factors fall into place:
Because stories are short, every single section must work to earn its place and keep the reader engaged. And once a reader is absorbed, it’s very important to keep them there; ideally, they should become unaware that they are involved in the process of reading. What should be a seamless experience can be marred by such issues as confusion, i.e. needing to re-read a sentence, unnatural dialogue, inability to picture a scene or believe in a character, lack of variety in sentence structure and, of course, basic errors in spelling or punctuation.
A really satisfying story is one where you feel as though you are not just eavesdropping on real events for real people, but almost personally experiencing the emotions that the characters feel, inhabiting their world. As far as setting, specifics are important, for example, ‘an oak’ is more visual than ‘a tree’. And as you hurtle towards the ending, it’s great to have that final punch, such as something unexpected and clever. A story which has cyclical properties, resonating the beginning, always feels thorough and complete.
If you wish to find out more about Helen Laycock:
Winning stories can be read here, along with comments from Helen Laycock
The following entrants reached our longlist:
Well done everybody and thank you all for submitting your work to our competition. News will be available early in 2019 about further competitions.