Hello everyone and welcome to the fifty-sixth month of this competition. There were 38 entries from 21 authors for the theme of ’20:20 vision’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
One was disqualified for having a word (well earned) before a noun that should have been hyphenated, making the story 99 words instead of 100. Three others were disqualified for the same reason; the words being ‘thirty odd’, ‘once flawless’, and ‘year old’ after a number. In the context, the first meant between thirty and forty rather than thirty strange things so should have been hyphenated. Two others became 99 because they each had a solo hyphen which should have been a dash but either way, it’s punctuation, not a word. Another for having ‘in to that should have been into’ (https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/suck+into), making it also 99. Another story was 100 words but had a word that should have been two (brightside) so was actually 101.
One story lost brownie points for having ‘a smiled’ instead of ‘a smile’, which was a shame. These stories are really short and most devices (computers certainly – usually cmd/esc on a Mac) to read your writing out for you (I use my Kindle Fire’s text-to-speech function for longer pieces) so it will sound wrong rather than look like a word that fits. Another story was disqualified for having a word missing (‘in night’ rather than ‘in the night’). It’s all a shame and could seem petty but I have to be fair to all entrants to treat the entries equally.
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 stronger 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. Alternatively there may have been several stories on with same topic so I chose my favourite of those. With any competition, much rests upon the judge’s preference.
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 May is ‘may or may not’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Sunday 31st May. 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.
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 £30 / $18):
Jane Brown with ‘My Beautiful Table’
‘Wow!’ John exclaims. ‘This table setting looks amazing. But you don’t need to go to so much trouble!’
‘First impressions count.’ I grin.
The doorbell rings, making me jump and my glasses slip off. John goes to answer while I hurriedly grab candles from the bedroom to complete the setting.
John re-enters the room with his parents. ‘Mum, Dad, this is Katie…’ He stops. They all stare wide-eyed at the table, mouths open.
Confused, I retrieve my glasses from the floor and look again at the table. My beautiful table.
Oh. I never knew how similar candles and vibrators looked.
Joint second place (each 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):
Patricia Cooksley with ‘Hot Scones’
George sauntered down Chapel Hill Lane. The smells of horse manure and silage entered his nostrils, making him sneeze. He looked up at John, not knowing where he was headed. As they approached an old farmhouse, John was tempted by the sweet aroma of freshly baked scones. He loved them hot with lots of butter and cherry jam. “How about it?” he asked George.
George’s mouth watered as he anticipated a snack. They entered through the garden gate before they were greeted by Doris. “Who needs 20:20 vision when you have nostrils and a guide dog? Don’t you agree, George?”
Simar Singh with ‘Nature’s Law’
I was born in Wuhan, a small province in China.
Mother birthed me to save herself.
So I went to the butcher’s market and followed a man to his village.
Anything to save my mother.
From China, I accompanied a European and an Asian, traveling far and wide
I reached the pools of Hawaii and sat in the colosseum.
I particularly liked Italy and New York.
I am a toddler so chaos ensued everywhere I went
The world screamed at me to stop, but the streets remained quiet.
Now the seas are finally clear and stars discernible.
Mother is healing.
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):
Joyce Bingham with ‘Five Goats in my Garden’
Delicately coloured tulips, vibrant hyacinths, selected to match the hellebores, are snatched, chewed and enjoyed. I can’t look away as yellow teeth pull and tear at delicate plants, hooves crush, maiming new emerging shoots.
My 20:20 vision of my garden, nearing its maturity, the long hours I toiled, pruned, weeded, selected, planted. I talked to them, cajoled them into new growth, worried over the lack of, or too much rain.
Now my garden is being eaten, I feel invigorated, I laugh with pleasure, I hug myself in the joy of being alive and giving nourishment to the Great Orme goats.
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:
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Alex Ravenhall with ‘Taboo’
- Allyson Salmon with ‘Presbyopia’
- Christine Law with ‘Through the Looking Glass’
- Christopher Tattersall with ‘The Voices’
- Darren York with ‘The Watcher’
- Shalom Galve Aranas with ‘The Flight Stewardess’
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.