Short And Sweet

Apparently, short stories are ‘back in fashion’, which is good news for those of us who write, or who want to write them!

And to celebrate the fact, The Daily Telegraph has just launched its new ‘Short Story Club’, lead by author Louise Doughty, who I really like (her book ‘A Novel In A Year’ is worth a read, if you want to write a novel).

In addition to a column in Saturday’s Review – which you’ll also be able to read on-line – in which Louise will set weekly exercises, she’ll also be offering advice to members of the Short Story Club (free to ‘join’ – you just register on-line) and invite entries to a monthly short story competition.

Each month’s winner will be published on-line and at the end of the year, shortlisted writers will be invited for lunch with Louise and some other ‘important people’ – like an agent and a publisher – and the overall winner will see their story published in the paper and will receive £500.

You don’t have to join the club (or buy the paper!) if you just want to enter the monthly competition. Just email your story by the last day of each month to Stories can be on any subject but must be your own original work and no longer than 2,000 words. If you are that month’s winner, you agree to your story appearing online at for the remainder of 2012, and to it automatically qualifying as a finalist in the Short Story Club competition, the winner of which will receive a 500 pound prize and publication by the Telegraph.

If you missed Saturday’s issue, do not despair – you can read all the blurb here – and 2 of the short stories that they printed are also on-line: Lydia Davis’ ‘The Landing and Lucy Wood’s ‘Of Mothers And Little People‘. Both of which are a bit, well, different. Read them and tell me what you think!

PS: I have woken up with a horrible cold. I AM Mr Sneeze. Feeling a bit sorry for myself. Sniff. Oh and the weather round here is nothing like that daffodils picture – it’s icy and cold! But Spring is not far away…is it?!

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14 Responses to Short And Sweet

  1. Jenny Francis says:

    I have just read both story`s they are a bit funny peculiar especially the second one. I also joined the club so thanks for the tips. Not sure that my writing is way out enough though.

  2. Susan Hurley says:

    Hi Helen,

    I have found your blog of interest and I have read the two stories which have given me a nudge to write myself. Jenny go for it. Everyone has a style of their own, you never know until you tr


  3. Hi Helen, No, sorry, I don’t like those stories at all. Not my kind of thing. Hope you feel better soon. If that’s the thing they’re looking for I’ll pass on that.

  4. Prue says:

    Thanks for sharing the links to those stories. I found they pulled me in and took me along. The second one in particular had an unabiguous ambiguity which tickled me 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the cold but it’s that time of year. Hope you get better soon!

    • Prue yes, I agree, there was something quite compelling about them, wasn’t there – even though they were also slightly quirky. I have found myself thinking about them today and I suppose that’s the sign of a good story – it stays with you! Maybe I need to try to write like that when I enter short story competitions?! My stories are always too clear and obvious, I think.

      My cold’s a bit better today, thanks!


  5. Tracy Fells says:

    Hi Helen,
    Thanks for the heads up on this one. I’m going to see what short story gets picked for January before entering any of mine. Also I signed up for the club – some rather strange comments on the message board… For those who enjoyed Lucy Wood’s story then her anthology ‘Diving Belles’ is being read on Radio4extra next week – starts 11am on Monday. I like her writing style, which has been compared to Angela Carter, as it has that quirky, almost dream-like quality. Rare to see a story written in second person too. Found ‘The Landing’ like listening to someone recounting the event, seemed very real but not as compelling as the other story.
    Good luck to anyone who has a go

  6. Michaela Eyley says:

    Hi Helen
    I think Radio 2 also have a short story competition. I seem to have heard something whilst driving to work, so may be worth checking out their website. Think it was on Chris Evans’ breakfast show. Hope this year is full of writing successes!
    Michaela x

  7. Michaela Eyley says:

    Hm, it seems to be for kids, but for those writers with kids, it may be a good way of encouraging their imaginative minds to put the thoughts to paper. Good luck anyway and sorry that I was a bit misinformed. Just heard it and thought of you.

  8. Michaela – thanks for flagging it up. They ran a children’s writing competition last year and it looks as though – from the website – that they’ll be doing something similar this year and I’m sure that will be of interest to lots of people whose children like writing! (Or even people like me, who are just interested in what children can write!)

    • Michaela Eyley says:

      Cheers, pleased that I managed to pick up on something that might be of use to some of you. Yes, definitely interested in what children can write myself, but don’t know many child authors I have to admit.

  9. Sarah Schofield says:

    Hi Helen,
    thanks for flagging up this competition. I really liked Lucy Wood’s story particularly. I think I might do the same as Tracy, above, and see what else they choose first!

    Really enjoy your blog! Cheers!

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