Hello everyone and welcome to the thirty-seventh month of this competition! In September I received 34 entries from 18 authors for the theme of ‘complex’. NB. You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked!
One was disqualified for only being 99 words with no apparent reason why. Another was the same but had a one-word title so I assume that had been included. It’s a shame as few competitions (if any) include the title in their word counts. Another was one word over because two words had been hyphenated that shouldn’t have been (light bulb, only hyphenated when preceding a noun, e.g. light-bulb moment). It’s a shame because it was really funny. I had to be fair to everyone and change it. Fortunately the author had already submitted another story which I’d scored higher anyway so no harm done but worth mentioning so you’re careful with your submission (and are aware how tough I am!).
Another author, who had fortunately submitted three stories, lost marks on one for the wrong word choice (boasting instead of boosting).
Sadly I had to disqualify one of my favourite stories because there were two words that should have been hyphenated (‘open-handed’ preceding a noun, not if alone), bringing the story down to 99 words. Fortunately, the author had sent another story so that went through to the scoring. Another 99-word story started as 100 words but hadn’t hyphenated ‘two hour’ which should have been hyphenated as preceding a noun.
Another (fabulous) story was disqualified for two unhyphenated words – sorry I’m being tough this month! When you talk about a person’s age, they are, for example six but calling him or her a six-year-old child then it’s hyphenated. This time, the author had sent two other stories but one of those was also disqualified for being hyphenated (something being fool proof rather than a fool-proof plan) so the remaining story went through. It’s clearly the month for hyphens!
At one point there were four winning stories, two second placed and three thirds so I had to do a lot of juggling, focussing on which fitted closest to the theme, while still ultimately choosing my favourites.
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 (without being sickly). Sometimes a story beats another because it has a strong link to the theme so it’s worth writing a story to the theme rather than tweaking a story you already have to loosely fit it.
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 so do enter new stories this month*, next month, whenever you like (but not in advance!). 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).
Apart from the top three and highly commended, there are some ‘Honourable Mentions’. They don’t win anything but they were so close to being Highly Commended that I wanted them to know how close they came. It’s still something for them to put on their CVs.
*The theme for October is ‘departure’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 31st October. Details and entry forms on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/100-word-free-monthly-competition. So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Diana Hayden with ‘Broken’
Underneath our photo the brochure says, ‘Portugal’s premiere holiday apartment complex’. We are twenty luxury apartments ‘with stunning views and swimming pool’.
People were happy when they stayed inside us. We loved our families. Most stayed a fortnight. Some returned year after year and we recognised them.
But we’re abandoned and silent now. The pool is empty, and no children eat ice cream in the shade of our veranda. A little boy fell from the balcony of number sixteen on the first floor because our railing broke. He didn’t move. People cried.
It’s not our fault. Tomorrow we’ll be demolished.
Amberlie Robinson with ‘At the Bus Stop’
He wore silver braces to keep his Harlequin trousers suspended. On his feet he sported battered Converse trainers, rubber soles hanging at the toe. A striped sock was visible on his left ankle; however it appeared that his right ankle was bare. Perhaps it was out of solidarity with the foot that his chest was also naked. His arms had escaped this indignity as they were enshrouded in a moth-eaten woollen cardigan.
The man sat at the bus stop every day. He never got on the bus. Nobody ever spoke to him. He was a complex character.
To be avoided.
Karen Lawrence with ‘Death of a God’
She first spotted her mark strutting towards the pier. A good-looking man followed by a couple of lesser mortals.
‘Oh sorry,’ she purred as her manicured hand reached for the last Magnum in the freezer. ‘Did you want this one?’
‘Yes, er no … please you have it.’
Later, in a dimly lit restaurant, he chose a booth, dismissing his minders with a hubristic flick of his hand.
He talked about himself, his achievements. On and on.
As she pulled him close, readied the blade to slip between his ribs, she whispered, ‘My boss is right, you’ve a god complex.’
Jennie Cordner with ‘First Steps’
My layabout husband never worked but he wrote the rules, dictating economy and control.
I had two pairs of shoes: one for wear and a pair for spare. They lived in the hallstand.
Organising children, chasing dreams, I attempted to keep my complex world in order.
However, one evening, totally exhausted, my work shoes stayed where I stepped out of them.
The next morning, I found them rigid with cold, hidden in the freezer.
Softening the leather over the gas burner, I realised Preston had taught me a lesson.
I didn’t need shoes to walk.
So, I kept on walking.
Terri Mertz with ‘Writing for the Masses’
A compound sentence is made up of two simple sentences joined by a conjunction. Complex sentences contain an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. A compound-complex sentence is comprised of more than one clause joined by a conjunction, with at least one of those clauses being complex. In other words, it is a compound sentence with a dependent, or subordinate clause. So, if a person gets on a bus at 9 am traveling 50 miles per hour going to Newark, and stops for lunch twice, what color are the bus driver’s eyes, and where are the survivors buried?
- Alan Barker with ‘Maze of Confusion’
- Jan Brown with ‘Seeing is Believing’
- Louise Burgess with ‘Confused’
- Peter J. Corbally with ‘Craniology’
- Sarah Mosedale with ‘A Complex Reaction?”
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Celia Jenkins with ‘The Complex Nature of Middle Children’
- Ian Marshall with ‘Regional News’
- Jane Sleight with ‘Complex and Ex’
- Lestie Mulholland with ‘In a Flash’
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.