Christmas Short Story Competition! (the first…?)

My man has gone away to play golf, so I’m ‘home alone’ for a couple of days! Not that I’m celebrating or anything but I’ve just cracked open a bottle of Mateus Rose. Yum.

Please excuse me using the ‘C’ word -when it’s only September – but Simon Whaley has brought the ‘Five Minute Fiction’ Christmas Short Story competition to my attention and it’s only right to tell you about it. Entry is just £2 and there are some fabulous prizes – including a 2 day writer’s retreat with full board!! The closing date is 18th November and all the details are here. Good luck!

Back in July, the lovely Tracy Fells nominated me for a Sunshine Award. I have been extremely tardy in a) accepting it and b) doing the things I’m supposed to do, so here goes.

By the way, if you get the October issue of Writing magazine, Tracy has an article in the competition supplement (‘The Competition Carousel’ -pages 26/27), which makes for fascinating reading. She’s been very honest about her success rate and the amount she spent on entry fees in her first year as a ‘competitive writer’ (her words) BUT her hard work is paying off now and she’s starting to see the fruits of her labour. Good for her.

Now, the Sunshine Award. Firstly, I’m supposed to tell you 5 things about myself:

1. I watched the first episode of the new Downton Abbey series last night and I was disappointed. It’s not the acting, it’s not the scenery … shhh, between you and me, I think it’s the writing that’s letting it all down. We laughed at lines that weren’t supposed to be funny.

2. I’m starting a new evening class this week, in Stratford. It’s called ‘Find The Novel Inside You’, which sounds like a crash course in do-it-yourself surgery. What will I find inside myself?! I hope it’s Pride & Prejudice, I really do. It’s about time I re-read it.

3. Yes, I know, I’m supposed to be teaching, not attending evening classes. Well, Gloucestershire College, when approached about me taking a course, said they’d probably start one up in the New Year. So, watch this space…

4.Today I sent a pitch for an article proposal, by email, to Writing magazine. It took me AN HOUR. (I know because I am timing all my work using that 15 minute method). I’ve come to the conclusion that I am slow.

5. I am going to have lasagne (left over from Friday night – will it still be OK, do you think?) for my dinner. Delicious. Even if I say so myself.

I’m supposed to nominate another 5 people for the Sunshine Award but I hope Tracy won’t mind if I skip this bit. Everyone I know has already had blog awards and might get a bit stressed if they get another one!

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3 Responses to Christmas Short Story Competition! (the first…?)

  1. Clare Banks says:

    Hi Helen. I’d be interested in that class at Gloucestershire College. Are you planning to do any of the writing talks/workshops at the Cheltenham Lit Fest? BTW, after agonising over whether to join a ‘club’, I’ve now started going to the Montpelier Writers Group in Cheltenham on a Tuesday night. It’s probably a bit far for you to travel? But I still think you and I should have a ladies-who-lunch session.

    • Hi Clare, thanks for your comment. Cheltenham is about 40 minutes away so not completely impossible but a bit further than I really want to travel for a night out. But I hope you’re enjoying the group? What’s the format? Is it more than people just reading out their work, one after the other?! I should go to something at the Cheltenham Festival but must admit I haven’t got round to looking at the programme properly yet. Let me know if you’re going to anything (email me: and perhaps we could meet up at one of the events?!

  2. Tracy Fells says:

    Thanks for the plug Helen 🙂
    Will definitely check out the Xmas competition too & now need to work on my Random Word story for your competition. Seem to be getting into the vile habit of leaving writing for deadlines to the very last minute – though I was the same with homework & essays too!
    Have recorded Downton Abbey and not watched yet – it was a real treat last year, but I know what you mean about the writing it definitely was sinking. This seems to be the trend with any long running series – eventually the storylines just become silly.

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