Hello everyone. This month I received 22 entries from 16 authors.
One was disqualified for only being 99 words and no obvious reason why it might have been 100. Another was 97 words (where the title of the piece was included but didn’t make sense as part of the story) and had no connection with the month’s theme of ‘sweater’. It’s a shame because it was well written. A third, amusing, story was only 95 words. It contained three standalone – hyphens, which are included in Word’s word count but when corrected to – dashes then don’t and are mentioned in the rules as not being words and therefore are not to be included. There was also a row of **** asterisks which are also included but shouldn’t be. Not sure where the other ‘missing’ word would have been. So, PLEASE check your word count carefully. Use your programme’s word count but also do it manually to make sure.
As I had expected (hoped), there were variations on the theme; most revolved around jumpers, others where a character was perspiring. Where there were stories of equal merit when it came to the quality of writing, some edged forward where the sweater was a feature of the story rather than an incidental mention. This is why I enjoy picking a theme; to see how it’s used.
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).
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 February is ‘the outskirts’ – again, used however you wish – and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 28th February.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Lestie Mulholland name with ‘Personality Rules OK?’
You know your Baby really loves it when you buy her things? You’re already my sweatiest sweatie who would be sweater still if you’d buy me that swetter from Marks’n Sparks. You know, the pink one we saw with the white fluffy edging? Please Sweatie, please.
Ooh, I knew you wouldn’t say no (you haven’t have you?) No? Good. Now, I’ll be at Molly’s having my hare done, so maybe I can where my new scrumshus swetter when we go out to dinner tonight?
I smiled and sighed. I do love her so, even if she can’t spell.
Ellora Sutton with ‘Comfort’
I want to wear you like a sweater. I don’t care that you’re a little threadbare. I want to see your knots and kinks, your unravelled bits.
I want to feel the warmth of you against the warmth of me. I want to feel every thread that makes the constellation of you.
I want to vanish inside of you, to hibernate in a place that echoes your shapes and smells and sounds. I want the hug of you, the love of you, the home of you.
I would wear you in the summer, the spring. Every season is your season.
Susi J Smith with ‘Comfort’
Alice tugged the thick woollen sweater off the back of the chair, wrapping it around herself.
“Do you understand what I said?” The doctor leaned closer, his fingers interlinked on the desk.
Alice inhaled the familiar scent of lavender and smiled. Her mother’s scent.
“Mrs Jarvis?” The doctor’s voice was louder now.
“I have cancer.” She brushed the soft threads, her fingers tracing the pattern. “I’ll be okay.”
“You’ve got a fight on your hands.” His voice trailed off, his lips continued moving.
Alice felt the warmth envelop her. Closing her eyes she saw her mother’s face. “I’ll be okay.”
Christine Law with ‘Sweater Dress’
It was a confidence thing with Jenny; she had admired the blue sweater dress In the shop window for months. She had lost the weight and gained confidence, why not try it on. Looking at her reflection in the mirror from the front and behind it looked great.
A few months ago she would not have ventured into the store. The down side being that she had curvy hips and the light blue matched her eyes and showed off her blonde bob, her boobs looked like two tea bags. Quickly she removed the dress and walked away from the cubicle.
- Justin Rulton with ‘Time Wasted’
- M W Brown with ‘A Message in a Sweater’
- Rachael Stanton with ‘After the Sun’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Michael Job with ‘Payback’
- Laura Besley with ‘A Non-Hollywood Romance’
- N Sebastian with ‘Spring Cleaning’
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.