Hello everyone. This month I received 25 entries from 17 authors. A tougher than usual month this time as five stories had scored the same so could have all been winners. Then six authors scored one point less so an equally difficult choice getting a Highly Commended listing (because two of the original five would have dropped down to Highly Commended, making eight to choose five HCs but in the end, I went with the stories who had the theme (classical music) at their heart rather than as an… <coughs> incidental extra (e.g. a mention or music playing in the background), and picked six Highly Commended rather than five.
Interestingly, another story (of three submitted by the same author) was in second-person point of view which I love – and my favourite pov to write in – but one of the other stories grabbed me more. Do have a go at this point of view (pov) as few people write it and therefore if you find a judge / publisher / an editor / who likes it, you could be more successful than an ‘ordinary’ pov story.
Back to the submissions, one was disqualified for only being 99 words. I was really hopeful as I read the stories but as I went through one, I noticed a rogue comma sitting on its own, detached from its previous word. Re-joining the pair, I recounted the story and it was now lacking its all-important hundredth word. It’s a real shame as it was a great story and from a new entrant (submitted on the morning of the final day). Please everyone, check, check, and double-check your stories. I know this is a free competition but you don’t want to pay for another competition and have your story disqualified unnecessarily. Sadly, the author only submitted one story so it immediately ruled her out of the competition. You can submit up to three per month (some entrants have sent two) so you may as well make the most of the opportunity. You still have the ones that aren’t successful to submit somewhere else (e.g. http://www.100wordstory.org/submit – they charge $2, http://oneadayuntilthedayidie.com, http://creativecompetitor.com/creative-writing-competitions/creative-writing-competitions-2017 – their 100-word story competition is closed for this year but that gives you loads of time to create more.)
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 five) 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 March is ‘Norman’s bunny’ (that should be fun!) – used in any way you like – and you can submit your (three) entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Friday 31st March.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
M W Brown with ‘The Orcusi’
Doris dropped the necklace into her granddaughter’s hand. Rebecca started to protest but Doris ignored her.
“This is yours now. I can’t take it with me. I can hear the Orcusi. It started a few days ago. First the flutes… then violins… and now the whole orchestra. The deathly music plays and I will be dead by morning. Your mother heard it too, just before her accident. It’s our family’s curse, or perhaps… it’s a blessing.”
While Rebecca remembered her mother’s final words that terrible day, she tried to ignore the haunting flute that was playing in her own head.
ados123 with ‘The Concert’
The sound of the strings rolled in as a uniform wave while the percussion rattled like shifting stones. The woodwinds roared with full fury of a storm, desperate to be heard and the brass tugged like a tidal rip. The violins rose in white tipped crests, rising and falling in bursts of sound. He was swept along as the music washed over him, luring him in, deeper and deeper until he sunk down into the depths, lost to its sounds forever.
When the orchestra finished his lifeless body was found under the seating at the front of the concert hall.
Kay Shacklock with ‘When the Tympani Enters’
The concerto, as in life, is a chain of moments. If you know music, you will know this moment.
Both hands had eloped, free of the orchestra’s yoke, to gambol along the keyboard in a stormy cadenza. But the celebration of defiance and passion is soon spent, leaving only a lingering trill that yearns for home.
Boom, boom-Boom, boom-Boom emerges from a soft womb of resurrected strings. Gentle but insistent, like a new-born’s heartbeat. Of all things, it is a simple drum that sings the lullaby of fate.
Beethoven was deaf but that was a lie. He could hear everything.
- Alyson Faye with ‘Requiem’
- Andy Morfett with ‘Conductor’
- Ash Nazir with ‘Alarm Call’
- David A Jones with ‘Oh No, Not Classical Music’
- Kathryn McFadden with ‘A to F in One Easy Step’
- S.B. Borgersen with ‘Für Elise’
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.