Tag Archives: Short-story competitions

Wells, ah well.

Vicar’s Close, Wells, the oldest continuously inhabited street in existence, apparently.


So, I didn’t place at the Wells Literary Festival, the comp I’d been shortlisted for- but I did get to spend a weekend in nearby Wales with my sis and a day out in Wells – probaby England’s prettiest metropolis (and definitely its smallest).  I’ve also advanced no further than the shortlist with the Meridian Autumn comp – results out yesterday. Which leaves only the HISSAC longlisting for me to watch out there on the horizon- the shortlist will be announced on Thursday.

A friend said that winning sometimes blunts the urge to continue – so I’m meditating on that thought today.


How are all the six monthers going?

Just Kidding!

Jokes! Jokes are a great source of plot ideas. An established writer gave me this tip years ago and it has served me well.

Jokes, you see, are plots in miniature. Stories sealed up and ready to go. You’ve got your beginning, middle, end, your conflict, your characters – flaws and all. All you’ve got to do is flesh it out. Expland on it. Change gender and setting if possible. And no, it doesn’t have to be funny because many jokes (indeed, stories) need an element of tragedy to make comedy (and vice vearsa) and you can just crank up the aspect you want to emphasize.

Here’s a joke that gave me an idea for a short story recently shortlisted for a competition:

“It was Ryan’s funeral and the pallbearers were carrying the casket out from the church. When they bumped into a pillar, one of them heard a moan from inside the coffin. They opened the lid and found Ryan alive. He lived for another ten years before he properly died. Another funeral was held for him and, as the pallbearers were carrying out the coffin, Mrs Ryan shouted “Now, watch out for that pillar!”

OK, it’s the way ya tell ‘em… But the point is that they don’t have to be the funniest jokes – just so long as there is a story in there, a universal truth with which your readers will react and engage. Wordplay/puns won’t work so well, go for the story…

Here’s another one you can chew on for a story idea (it goes down well in the creative writing classes I give in an English prison…)

The defendant knew he didn’t have a prayer of beating the murder rap, so he bribed one of the jurors to find him guilty of manslaughter. The jury was out for days before they finally returned a verdict of manslaughter. Afterward the defendant asked, ‘How come it took you so long?’ the juror said, ‘All the others wanted to acquit’.

Wishin’ ships

Got an email from Meridian this morning, I’ve also been shortlisted for their short story comp: )This brings a grand total of three ships on the horizon. Now, here’s wishing one of them will come back to port….

Come home to Mama, come on, come on...

Meridian– shortlisted

Wells Literary Festival– shortlisted

HISSAC Award– longlisted

I should know where I stand with the Meridian and the Wells by this time next week, and the HISSAC by the end of the month.

But probably the best news of the weekend is that I’ve finally managed to catch up on my six month challenge word count and have 4,287 words down.

I finally feel like I’m back. Thanks to all of you who’ve motivated me and each other by posting your progression!

Late August competition deadlines…

Line ’em up in August

Name: New Eastbourne Writers 2nd National Short Story Competition
Theme: Lucky Break
Prize: £100
Deadline: 27th August 2011
Entry fee: £5
Entry procedure: Post
Website: http://www.neweastbournewriters.co.uk/

Name: British Red Cross Creative Writing Competition
Theme: The Disappeared
Prize: £50
Deadline: 30th Aug
Entry fee: n/a
Entry procedure: email or post
Website: http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Finding-missing-family/International-Day-of-the-Disappeared/Creative-writing-competition

Name: Meridian Writing Autumn Short Story Competition
Theme: n/a
Prize: £100
Deadline: 31st August
Entry fee: £5
Entry procedure: email
Website: http://www.meridian-writing.co.uk

Name: Aesthetica Creative Works Competition
Theme: n/a
Prize: £500
Deadline: 31st August
Entry fee: £10
Entry procedure:
Website: http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/submission_guide.htm

Name: The Write Place Creative Writing School Competition
Theme: n/a
Prize: £100
Deadline: 31st August
Entry fee: £4.50
Entry procedure: Post
Website: http://www.thewriteplace.org.uk/page8.htm

Name: Gemini Magazine Third Annual Flash Fiction Contest
Theme: n/a
Prize: $1,000
Deadline: 31st August
Entry fee: $4
Entry procedure: Email
Website: http://www.gemini-magazine.com/contest.html

Name: Sid Chaplin Short Story Competition
Theme: n/a
Prize: £300
Deadline: 31st August
Entry fee: £2.50
Entry procedure: Post
Website: http://www.shildon.gov.uk/documents/CompetitionRules.doc

Good luck!

xox Sue