Shaggy Dog Tales – The Winners & ‘Judge’s Report’

Madame_de_pompadourAs promised (sorry it’s a bit late, but it is still Sunday!), here are the results of the ‘Shaggy Dog Story’ mini saga competition. The shortlisted entries were published on the blog a few days ago.

I had 39 entries in total (13 in the ‘Newbie’ category and 26 in the ‘Open’) and the stories had to include the words: collar, dog, bone and stray, used in any shape or form.

Needless to say, there were lots of stories about dogs and there were almost as many with vicars wearing dog collars (and bones being found in dubious circumstances).

Some of the doggy/vicar stories were written very well – indeed, some of them were shortlisted – but when stories have similar themes, it’s difficult for the judge to differentiate between them.

And some of the stories started off really well but then they fizzled out. Some didn’t really end at all or ended in a way that made me scratch my head. No matter how good the rest of the story was, I just couldn’t shortlist those stories and it was a shame in some cases because they’d been so promising up to the last couple of lines.

Some of the stories read like a condensed short story. ‘Flash fiction’ really needs to pack a punch, to make an impression in just a few words and it needs to feel complete.

I know it’s not easy! So I’m full of admiration for all of you that had a go. There were some very impressive stories and without further ado, the winners are:

‘Newbie’ Category:
Hair by Amanda Quinn

The judge (my OH) liked this one because it “was concise, it painted a picture, it was complete” – and he liked the narrator’s self-deprecating tone.

‘Open Category’:
Winner: A Timely Solution – Maggie Cobbett
Runner-up: Gallows Hill by Jo Tiddy

I asked my Thursday lunchtime class to judge this one. We all loved the menacing atmosphere of ‘Gallows Hill’ – and the fact that it was a complete story – but ‘A Timely Solution’, with its clever use of the 4 words, its humour, unusual historical setting and the sneaky introduction of Dr Who, made it a clear winner. (And that’s Madame de Pompadour herself in the picture above).

So, well done, Amanda and Maggie! I’ll email you both now to sort out your prize.

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13 Responses to Shaggy Dog Tales – The Winners & ‘Judge’s Report’

  1. Cath Barton says:

    Many congrats to the winners!

  2. Jackie Sayle says:

    Congratulations to the winners. Well done!

  3. Keith Havers says:

    Congratulations to all the winners.
    Thanks for running this competition, Helen. I always enjoy the challenge and reading the shortlisted stories.

  4. julielees says:

    May I offer my most felicitous congratulations to the winners and thwarted commiserations to everyone else (like myself) who didn’t.

  5. Tracy Fells says:

    Congratulations to the winners and shortlisted. Thanks Helen for running another fun and intriguing competition.

  6. Patsy says:

    Congratulations to the winners and thanks for running this, Helen.

  7. Amanda Quinn says:

    Thanks all and thanks to Helen for running the competition. I’m really pleased to have won the ‘newbie’ category. Amanda.

  8. jotiddy says:

    Congratulations to all shortlistees and winners. Great stories. Cheers Helen!

  9. g2-3fc65a4f01d1887a1c77c00e6ccb95b2 says:

    Thanks, Helen (and your Thursday lunchtime class), for choosing my story and to everyone else for your congratulations. Some of you may remember the episode in which the Doctor encounters Madame de Pompadour and some very sinister clockwork androids. For some reason it stuck in my mind – fortunately, as it has turned out. (No Velcro involved, though!)

  10. Jan Halstead says:

    Thanks for taking the trouble to arrange this, Helen. I really enjoyed having a go. Congrats to the winners.

  11. ados123 says:

    Thanks for running the competition, Helen. I was pleased to shortlisted.
    Congratulations to the winners.

  12. Joanne says:

    Hi I’ve just stumbled upon your blog whilst googling ‘creative writing classes solihull’. Do you still run some and if so may I have some info please.

  13. Philippa says:

    Big congratulations to the winners and the shortlistees too, all fab stories! And well done Helen for again putting your time and energy into organising a fun and creative comp.

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