Hello everyone and welcome to the forty-third month of this competition. Sorry it’s rather later than mid-month but it’s been a particularly busy one, not least with resurrecting my podcast and its 121 episodes! Last month I received 31 entries from 17 authors for the theme of ‘turn down’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
One was disqualified for only being 99 words. It came in at 100 but there was a number which should have been hyphenated. Another for the same word count and reason but with a descriptive adjectives preceding a noun, e.g. a well-known celebrity. I know I’m mean but it’s only fair to all the entrants to correct it. Fortunately both authors had submitted two other stories.
Another story was submitted twice, under different titles within a couple of days of each other. They may have changed other than the title – I didn’t check. Only the first version is accepted so the author was still able to send two other stories although didn’t.
One story wasn’t disqualified but lost brownie points for having several adverbs (the dreaded ___ly words) and two points of view in the piece. It’s a shame because it was a great story. Another story had different tenses where it should have stayed in one. I know… I’m strict!
Another also lost a brownie point for having an adverb rather than the correct noun: jealously instead of jealousy. Another had ‘has’ where it should have been ‘as’. Both easy mistakes to make but to be fair to everyone entering, mistakes that should have been picked up in the editing process do need to be marked down.
Tip: although it’s not an error as such, be careful of not having too many sentences starting with a pronoun, i.e. the characters names or He / She / The. One of the stories had seven sentences, five of which started with ‘She’, the other two were ‘He’ and ‘The’. Even adding, ‘As…’ or ‘When’ before a sentence can make them more varied, or you can put the verb first, e.g. Putting the gun down… although you don’t want too many ‘ing’s either. 🙂
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 April is ‘making a claim’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Tuesday 30th April. 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.
N Sebastian with ‘Proposal’
I had imagined the moment you asked the question so many times. There had always been a happy-ever-after feeling as the scene faded. Of course there had. Everyone said we’d been made for one another.
Believe me, I did not know that I was going to turn you down.
But here in this real world, when your question came, there was no happy ending. At that moment, the image burning in my mind’s eye was of me, on my hands and my knees, trying to sweep thousands of fragments of my broken dreams under the carpet upon which you stood.
Alan Barker with ‘The Wedding Vow’
She gazed at him despondently. “So that’s your final decision? You won’t marry me?”
“I’m sorry. I’ve considered the matter carefully but the answer has to be no.”
“My love isn’t good enough for you?”
The priest shook his head. “This church takes the view we cannot marry a couple that includes a divorcee, during the lifetime of the former spouse.”
On her way home, she thought about her wonderful fiancé and how she so wanted theirs to be the perfect wedding.
Then she thought of her ex-husband and vowed to invite him for one final walk along Beachy Head.
Barbara Young with ‘Your Funeral’
You expected me to turn down the invitation. No way – what a grand occasion it is. Your family, draped in black, emit elegantly muted sobs, whispers of suicide slithering through cold air.
I sit, head bowed, as they throw disapproving glances at my inappropriate clothing (I couldn’t resist a splash of colour).
Will I make a scene? Throw my howling body onto the coffin?
No chance, Peter. You know every scar on my body. You should do, you put them there.
I know the exact shape of the bullet wound on your head.
I should do. I put it there.
- Anne-Marie Latter with ‘Star Light, Star Bright’
- Bobby Fairfield with ‘Community Decline’
- Justin Rulton with ‘You Get Less For Murder’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Pamela with ‘Turn Down’
- Sarah Mosedale with ‘Plenty More Where That Came From’
- Val Fish with ‘Decisions Decisions…’
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.