Thank you so much to everyone who entered the competition and took time to comment and give their own personal ‘first’ and ‘second’ placed stories. These were so varied, it just goes to prove what we all know already: that judging a competition is very subjective! Most of you would have chosen two different stories as winner and runner-up and you may even – if I’d put them on here – have thought my shortlist should be different, too.
Our estimed final judge, Jo Derrick, has sent in her results and a judge’s report which I found fascinating and I hope you will too.
Jo’s not only a successful writer herself and a great fan of flash fiction (oh and a very nice person, of course! We met up for lunch for the first time a couple of weeks ago and didn’t stop talking for over two hours) but she’s also the former editor/publisher of The Yellow Room Magazine, a print journal for women writers and former publisher of QWF Magazine.
So, this is what she had to say about the stories:
Winner: Stargazy Pie
Runner Up: Sixpence and A Smile
“I chose the winner and runner up, partly because the prompts fitted into the narrative seamlessly and partly because of their originality. Some of the other stories were rather clichéd and in some cases, the prompts seemed shoe-horned in for the sake of it.
I struggled to decide between first and second places. In the end I chose the winning story, Stargazy Pie, because I liked the humour, the natural-sounding dialogue and the way the prompts became the theme of the story. I also loved the quirky title. ‘Heads poking out of the pastry – gazing at the stars’ was an image that resonated and was a metaphor for the chefs themselves. Very clever. I loved the twist at the end and the continuation and resolution of the food analogy. This writer is an excellent wordsmith.
Sixpence and a Smile gets better with each reading. Each time I read it, I got something different out of it. There’s so much story here in so few words. So much is implied in the most wonderfully subtle way. This is what the best Flash writing is all about. The shopping list lines are very clever (although the exotic sounding ‘cantaloupe’ and ‘pomegranate’ in the historical setting tripped me up at first). This is where we discover what the story is really about (the boy’s hearing impairment). So much lies beneath the surface of these seemingly straightforward lines of prose.
I enjoyed reading all of the stories and it was a pleasure to judge the competition.”
Thank you, Jo! You did a great job and I am very grateful.
The authors of the winner and runner-up will be receiving an email from me very soon, with their prizes (£25 and £10 Amazon e-voucher, respectively)
A couple of you got the stories right – but the wrong way round – but ONE clever person guessed the exact winner and second-placed stories and that was Bob Major! Well done, Bob. A £10 Amazon e-voucher will be winging its way to you very soon too.
When I reach 700 followers, I will be running another of these Random Word competitions! (And you’ve got a heads-up – one of the words will be ‘seven’!)
And on a very different note, if all this ‘competition-talk’ has whetted your appetite for writing competitions, then why not have a go at the Swanwick competition? (this one has nothing to do with me, though, I hasten to add!).
They have categories for a short story, poem or children’s story, each costing £5 per entry and you could win yourself a week at Swanwick this summer, worth over £500.
The theme is ‘Playing Safe’ and the closing date is 30th April 2016. Good luck!