Hello everyone and welcome to the forty-seventh month of this competition. There were 33 entries from 14 authors for the theme of ‘given the chance’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
One was disqualified for only being 98 words with a two-word title. Fortunately the author had submitted two other spot-on submissions, however one of those had two sets of words (include a number) that should have been hyphenated, bringing it down to 98 words. To be fair on every entrant, I have to be strict and it just goes to show how valuable (useful anyway) it can be to submit three stories.
Another story was 99 words because a word (the) was used twice. Again the author had submitted two other stories. One of those however was only 97 words (98 originally but one word had been written as two). The remaining went through to the judging.
A 99-worder possibly was because it included a hyphen/dash which doesn’t count as a word.
Another was 101 words and I couldn’t find any reason other than there being too many words. I pasted it into https://wordcounter.netand it agreed. Ditto a 95-word story and sadly both those stories were the only submissions from their authors so they missed out on the competition for this month. Hopefully they’ll submit again. One author sent the same story three times (and another) but, as per the rules, only the first version is accepted. Another 101 story started as 100 but had a word missing (‘at a time’ rather than ‘at time’) which was a shame so was sadly disqualified, especially sad as the entrant’s only submission.
One was disqualified for having a numbered ‘year old’ half hyphenated, i.e. ‘15-year old self’ rather than ‘15-year-old self’ because it’s only the self that’s the noun rather than old self. Fortunately the author had submitted two other stories which went through to the judging.
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 – and there were several this month that barely stuck to the theme, if at all (sorry!) – 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 August is ‘escalator’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Saturday 31st August. 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.
Joyce Nelson with ‘Always in the Wings’
It would be so liberating to be given the chance of taking the lead. Always in the wings, learning the lines and stage directions others will use. I’m just a spear carrier, and my family think I have made it, living the high life in London. I mouth the words of my character as he is played out on stage as I await my entrance. I’m on, and I’m off, don’t blink, you’ll miss my performance as the bustling butler. I have made the part my own, there are no better butlers in the West End. I dream of accidents.
Paul Mastaglio with ‘One More Day’
Given the chance, we’d walk in the fields again. I’d hold her hand, stroke her cheek and make her smile. We’d go to our favourite place. There, we would embrace, look into each other’s eyes and recall the happy memories.
We’d dine in our special restaurant and talk until they threw us out. Then we’d stroll by the river and stare at the moon. Later, we’d amble back home, close the door and go up the stairs one last time.
Tears filled my eyes as I walked away from her stone. If we’d had one more day. Given the chance.
Jennie Cordner with ‘Second Chances’
When I left Isobel, six months pregnant, I never imagined the consequences of my actions. I thought she deserved better than a layabout as a father for her child. Later, the pain of witnessing her marrying another man upset me greatly. I had to move away.
Over the years I grabbed every chance to better myself. I’m now a professor. Who would have guessed it? Yet, nothing stopped me thinking of my child or my missed opportunity to be a dad. Then, today, I saw a young man in the lecture theatre who was the image of my young self.
- Alan Barker with ‘An Affair of the Heart’
- Christine Law with ‘Oh for Fate’
- Jane Broughton with ‘Nemesis’
- Yvonne Mastaglio with ‘Race Day’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Ez Baril with ‘No Rites for the Wicked’
- Jeremy Chotzen with ‘Anna’
- Laura Besley with ‘Then vs. Now’
- Shalom Aranas with ‘Tipo’s Trenchcoat’
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.