Must TRY harder!

Scotland are playing Wales in the rugby and as I write this there is what can only be described as ‘language’ coming from the room next to me! Apparently, (and I paraphrase!), Scotland are having a little difficulty in scoring a try, bless ‘em.

But anyway, I digress. Just a quick reminder, that my little book giveaway finishes tonight at the traditional hour of midnight, so if you haven’t yet left a comment, saying why you want to win (and 30 people have!), then what are you waiting for?! I will be drawing the winner, via the random number generator thing, in the morning.

The Telegraph Short Story Club has announced – and published – its winner for January. They had almost 700 entries from all over the world but what perturbed me most was the line “with the ages of the entrants ranging from 12 to 89.” Eek – I didn’t put my age! Were you supposed to? This is, obviously, why my story wasn’t shortlisted! Note to self: next time do not be bashful and PUT AGE! (actually, am I the only person out there who keeps forgetting how old they are?)

Anyway, I really liked the story they chose (The Man of Science, by Victoria Maxwell). It’s the kind of story I aspire to write. (Must try harder!) It was funny and clever and probably not as ‘literary’ as you might have expected. But then, as judge Louise Doughty says, “Good comic writing is much harder than it looks” and “When you come to read the story don’t be fooled by this story’s lightness of touch.”

I agree. It’s the kind of story that many people will turn their noses up at in a kind of ‘is that it?’ way. If you think you can do better, send your story off for the February competition – and good luck!

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10 Responses to Must TRY harder!

  1. I didn’t put my age either! Obviously that’s why neither of us won. Possibly.

  2. Kath says:

    Hi Helen – thanks for all the info. Does the winner of the Telegraph short story actually win a prize – if so what is it? Thanks Kath

    • All the winners of the monthly competitions will be invited to London at the end of the year and will meet Louise Doughty, agents and publishers (and have lunch?? Or I might just have made that bit up!). The overall winner gets 500 – so yes, there are ‘prizes’ for the winners.


  3. simonwhaley says:

    Did you have to put your age down, or would anybody’s age have sufficed?

  4. Hi Helen – I go to a lot of effort to forget about my age, so you’re not the only one Monica

  5. Kat says:

    Am I supposed to remember my age? Good luck.

  6. What difference does it make how old we are??? Maybe that was one of those tiny rules that ruled out half the entrants before the judging began.

    • Hmm, it’s a strange one. I don’t remember seeing anything in the rules about giving your age – I can only assume that lots of people did, ‘voluntarily’! (they must have been men). But I will double-check before I send a story in for the February deadline!

  7. Kath says:

    Thanks for the info on the Telegraph Comp, Helen – much appreciated.

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