Result of the Sunburn/Carrot/Mustard Random Word Competition

Right, finally I’m announcing the winner and runner-up of the sunburn/carrot random word competition.

There were 39 entries in total and I think the two most difficult words to slot into your story or poem were, unsurprisingly ‘carrot’ (oh, we had a lot of carroty-haired people!) and ‘mustard’.

Thanks to everyone who had a go and I’m sorry you couldn’t all be winners but the story that’s come out on top – as chosen by Sue Johnson – is Linda Mallinson’s ‘Ere Ear’ (look back at the last post if you want to read this and the other shortlisted stories).

Linda is a regular in these competitions and has been shortlisted twice before and has been a runner-up but this is the first time she’s won (with what I think is an excellent and spine-chilling story). Well done to her.

And runner-up is a story that a couple of you marked out as your favourite and which, I agree, is a great story and has also used the 5 words very well – ‘Seeing Red’ by Margaret Garrod.

I’ll be in touch with both entrants asap to sort out their prizes and there’ll be another one of these competitions in a few months’ time (when I get to 1000 followers. Eek).

Here are the comments from the judge, Sue:

It was very hard to pick a winner. I loved all the short-listed stories. It was a real privilege to read these stories and I hope the writers recycle and reuse the ideas and don’t just stuff them in a drawer.

Winner: ‘Ere Ear’ by Linda Mallinson

Judge’s comment: “I like the way the writer built the tension and emotion in very few words. I could see the teddy perfectly and feel the distress of the little girl who’d been parted from him. The writer should do some more work on this story and develop it into a longer story or serial..”

Runner-Up: ‘Seeing Red’ by Margaret Garrod

Judge’s comment: I was cheering for the little girl who stood up for herself! I could see this scene and hear the voice of the bully. The writer should consider doing some more work on this story. Why was Tara a bully? What if they meet again in later life? What if they become friends?

More Places to Submit:

Sue recommends the website Paragraph Planet as a place to submit pieces of work. There’s no payment – or fee – and you can submit your work via the website. It can be a (very!) short story, an extract from a novel or ‘capturing of a moment’ but it has to be exactly 75 words, including the title.

And on the subject of writing and submitting, one of the (many) things that Sue does, is to run a page on writing for a local magazine called Grapevine. Every month she runs a writing competition and encourages people to email her their entries.

She’s suggested that readers of this blog (that’s you!) might like to enter and she kindly sent me the details for this month (closing date is 1st July 2019), so here it is:

“Following the theme of this issue’s article, the writing competition for this month has a perfumed theme.

As a starting point, try jotting down some notes about smells you like and those you don’t. For instance, your lists might include –

LIKE: lilac, roses and bluebells.
DON’T LIKE: burnt toast, petrol and hairspray.

Even if you’ve not written anything since you were at school, be brave and pick up your pen. You really have got nothing to lose – and you may be one our winners.

See what you can do with one of these ideas:

• Write about the first perfume or after-shave you ever bought.
• Write about a scent you love and a scent you dislike.
• Write about your favourite time of year. Use the senses as much as you can. Colours, sounds, smells and textures all help to bring a story to life for the reader.

The good news is that you only need to write a maximum of 250 words (3 short paragraphs). Don’t worry about getting it in the right order to start with. Just get the ideas onto the paper and tidy it up later. Reward yourself for trying – and do send me the story. I love reading the stories I receive and wish we could publish them all.

Send your entries to me at by Monday 1st July. I will award a small prize to the winning entry.”

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5 Responses to Result of the Sunburn/Carrot/Mustard Random Word Competition

  1. polyt says:

    I would have picked ‘Ere Ear’ as the winner and as much as I liked the ‘Seeing Red’ story I did wonder if a child young enough to be playing a skipping game in the playground would say ” I sigh inwardly”. Apart from that well done both.

  2. Keith Havers says:

    I found it hard to separate those two so well done to both authors. Some great comments by Sue Johnson and excellent suggestions.
    Already looking forward to the next comp. Only 79 more followers to go.

    • Thanks for your comment, Keith. Yes, only 79 more to go….! (As much as I’d like to hit the 1000 mark it would be nice to have at least a couple of months’ before we do! My guess is actually it will be nearer the end of the year but I could be wrong!)

  3. philippabowe says:

    Well done to the winners, two great stories. And thanks Helen for running another one of your enjoyable comps!

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