Hello everyone. The sharp-eyed amongst you will know that these results are super early. They should be announced a week next Friday, 14th July, but (a) I’ve been more organised this month and (b) I have a ridiculously busy few weeks coming up (mostly client editing) so this helps me tick another job off the list… and I’m sure no one listed minds knowing ahead of time. Back to the news…
This month I received 27 entries from 19 authors. I’m pleased to say that only one story was disqualified this month and that was for being 101 words. Fortunately the author had submitted two other stories which were spot on, as the cliché goes.
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.
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 (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).
A new recent feature… 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 July is ‘strangers on a train’ and you can submit your entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Monday 31st July.
While I’m talking of competitions, I’m the new Competitions Calendar columnist for Writer’s Forum magazine (from the September 2017 edition) so if you’ve had any experience of entering or judging competitions, do let me know via this online form or you can email me.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
First place (winning free access to three of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £60 / $60) or a free edit and critique of up to 2,000 words (worth £14 / $18):
Lesley Mace with ‘Grimm’
Gretel kneads, as yeast unlocks the bread. Dough fattens in tins.
Hansel swings above her in a cage. She can’t bear to look at what it’s made from.
Its lock whispers, ‘Flee! Go home, little girl.’
Gingerbread men shout of sugary death. Bread screams – cooking. Hansel fattens.
Blind witch, tricked by Gretel, believes the boy’s not meaty. But she’s impatient. Today’s the day she’s chosen for sweet feeding.
Gretel opens the oven door – crone bends, testing the heat. Gretel pushes her in and bolts it fast.
Hansel bursts the cage of bones. Followed by blistering shrieks, they escape, hand-in-hand, into the forest.
Second place (winning free access to two of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £40 / $40) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,500 words (worth £11 / $14):
M W Brown with ‘On Familiar Terms’
The British soldier froze at the sight of the dark eye of Berthold’s rifle. The man, around the same age as his son, babbled incomprehensibly, dropped his pistol and reached towards his pocket.
‘Bitte…’ The soldier’s tear-filled eyes pleaded with him and Berthold nodded.
A picture of a smiling woman holding a baby was thrust towards him. Berthold wondered if his own son had begged for his life in Reims. It was a generation of fatherless children and childless parents. Overwhelmed with sudden fatigue, Berthold turned his back and dropped his rifle.
‘Danke,’ he heard as he walked away.
Third place (winning free access to one of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £20 / $20) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,000 words (worth £7 / $9):
Laura Besley with ‘Resting Place’
Lena floats around the house she shared with William for forty-seven years. Faded wallpaper, threads hanging from cushions; so many things she never noticed.
She drifts downstairs, lured by the myriad of voices. ‘Wonderful woman,’ her friend Betty says. ‘I’ll miss her,’ Sally-from-next-door says.
Forty-eight years ago Lena fled Germany, a country which had let her down. In England she worked, she married, she never quite settled, the black guilt firmly nestled between her ribs.
Today, listening to the unguarded words of others, she feels the blackness drift away. Maybe now she can settle in her resting place of choice.
Highly commended (winning my Entering Writing Competitions course worth £20 / $20) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,000 words (worth £7 / $9) – in alphabetical order:
- Alyson Faye with ‘Visiting with Dad’
- Jennie Gardner with ‘When the Penny Drops’
- Lestie Mulholland with ‘For the Birds’
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.
As mentioned above, I’m the new Competitions Calendar columnist for Writer’s Forum magazine (from the September 2017 issue) so if you’ve had any experience of entering or judging competitions, do let me know via this online form or you can email me.
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.