Hello everyone. This month I received 42 entries from 26 authors. An interesting mixture this time and several newbies to the competition. Welcome!
Two were disqualified for being too long: 102 and 101 word, although with the latter there was a ‘the’ missing so should have been 102) which was a shame as it was my favourite of three submitted from that author, a regular to this competition. The 102 was from the only entry from a newbie. PLEASE everyone, check your word count and do submit three stories to give yourself a better chance of getting through to the judging.
Three others were two words two short, and one, even with a hyphenated word, would have still been too short. Another was 97 words, although the 98 had a series of hyphens which doesn’t count as a word so was actually 97. Fortunately, again, both these authors had also submitted two other stories but it was a great one so a real shame. The other was had a two-word title so I’m guessing the author included the title. It was a first-time entrant.
Even more of a shame was one, the only submission by one of the new entrants, that had to be disqualified for being a word over the 100 words because the author had hyphenated two words that shouldn’t have been. Again, it was a brilliant story that didn’t make the competition as the author hadn’t because it was his only entry. Every month, I encourage you all to submit three stories and this just goes to show how you could miss out.
Another story was disqualified for being 99 words but contained a hyphenated word so could have been miscounted. Fortunately the author sent in another story which was the 100 words.
The winning stories are ones that I reacted most favourably to. They were clever, surprising, eek-making (in a good way), or gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. The entries were especially strong this month with many scoring 8/10, narrowly missing out.
You may have chosen a different order or indeed not placed one or more of them so if you entered and didn’t find your story / stories here, don’t lose heart. You probably only just missed out (there were originally eight highly commended then I whittled down to the maximum three) so do enter new stories this month*, next month, whenever you like. It’s an ongoing competition and free, so you could win at any time. There were new and familiar names this month so anyone could win… it’s all dependent upon whether your story grabs me, for whatever reason (whether it be clever, funny, unusual, quirky, or sweet).
*The theme for April is ‘fool’ and you can submit your entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Sunday 30th April.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Tony Rogers with ‘A Furry Friend for Many’
The girl flitted daintily through the rose garden to Norman’s pet enclosure.
“Hello, missy, back today then?” asked Norman. “You here to sketch my little rabbit again?”
Her pencil skittered across the drawing pad reproducing an uncanny likeness of the bunny.
“Yes, Mr Norman. He’s so pretty. What’s his name?”
“He’s got no name yet. What do you think, young lady?”
“I think he looks like… a Peter! He’ll be famous one day, just you mark my words.” With that she merrily danced away.
“Alright then,” called Norman, “whatever you say, Peter’s fine. But famous? Ha, Miss Potter… we’ll see.”
N. Strickland Hawkins with ‘Escape’
Her salvation was in Norman’s bunny. Norman had loved it until it was in tatters – he had been able to love when he was a child. She knew she had to leave after he broke her jaw. The next time, he might kill her. How much was a bus ticket?
Every day, going through his pants pockets, a quarter there, a dollar there, praying he wouldn’t notice. Now she fingered the side seam of its body, put her thumbs inside, ripped it almost in half, sending a shower of coins onto the table. Was it enough? She began to count.
Sue Borgersen with ‘Catching Swiftie’
Norman is a black greyhound. He lives with Polly, his woman. She watches videos of his previous life; racing in Florida.
“There gooooes Swiftie!” screams The Starter.
Norman flies, his muscles rippling. He chases Swiftie, the lure.
Norman never catches Swiftie, never wins. So he’s retired at two years old. A failure.
Polly is at Walmart. She spots the squeaky fluffy bunny in the pet toys.
“Here’s your very own Swiftie,” she tells Norman.
Norman rips and tears the stuffed brown bunny like a hound incensed, finishing with a big swallow of the squeak.
Written all over his face: success.
- Michelle Perry with ‘Memories in the Attic’
- Sarah Treadwell with ‘Norman’s Bunny No More’
- Carol Pryke with ‘A Bunny Called Norman’
Congratulations, everyone. The entries for this month are already drifting in. Remember, you can send up to three per month so rather than miss out on a chance by sending one story, do submit more.
If you’ve enjoyed these stories and / or just want to leave a comment, please do so below and / or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, although I won’t (can’t) discuss forthcoming entries unless it’s a general query.