Sheep/Welcome Random Word Competition – Results!

I can now reveal that the judge of the latest Random Word competition was my fellow blogger (she’s a blogger amongst many other things!), Wendy Clarke.

Wendy has an impressive list of writing achievements under her belt – see below – but I’m especially impressed that she’s on Instagram because that has, so far, eluded me! (what IS it?!).

Wendy started her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines, quickly becoming one of The People’s Friend’s top writers. She has also had stories long and shortlisted in competitions including the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition.

She has published three collections of short stories and has been a short story judge for the Chiltern Writers Group, Nottingham Writers Group, The Society of Women Writers and journalists, the NAWG and Flash500. She has also written articles for Writing Magazine.

Moving away from short stories, Wendy has had two psychological thrillers published by Bookouture – What She Saw, which won the Flash500 Novel Competition, and We Were Sisters. Her third thriller, The Bride, will be published in May this year. (And I will be inviting Wendy back to the blog for a guest post to find out more!)

Wendy lives with her husband and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!

Wendy can be found on:
Her website is here.

You can buy Wendy’s novels here.

Results & Judging The Competition

So, without further ado, here is Wendy’s report and the results:

Judge’s Report
“I loved reading through the flash longlist and every entry had its merit. Usually, I judge short stories rather than flash, but what I’m looking for in a shorter piece is exactly the same as for something longer: it needs to be a complete story, rather than a cameo; it should have characters that are brought to life in some way; have a satisfying ending and, most importantly, it should make me feel something… relief, sorrow, amusement. I don’t care what, just let me feel it! My top choices did all these things. Well done to both the winners.

First Place:
I Hate the Way You Stir Your Tea (by Marianne Pike)
As soon as I read this moving piece of flash fiction, I knew it was a winner. The protagonist’s loved one is no longer with them, but we see them clearly in the worn, sheepskin slippers and the clinking of the spoon as the tea is endlessly stirred. The reader feels the protagonist’s irritation (I’m sure we’ve all known someone who’s done something that’s made us want to scream?) and yet, only a few sentences later, we feel their love and their loss just as strongly. An emotive, heart-breaking read.

Second Place:
For Old Times’ Sake (by Christine Cherry)

I chose this piece of flash as my second place as I thought it was clever. I love written pieces where the reader only hears one side of a telephone conversations and are left to imagine what’s being said on the other end. It’s a technique I’ve used my myself and, handled carefully, can be a very strong way to ‘show not tell’. I can just picture the poor guy as realisation dawns that the person he’s so desperate to impress is actually the same person he bullied at school. What clinched it for me though, was how (right until the end) he retained his eternal, hopeless optimism, imagining it wouldn’t matter! It made me smile.”

Well done to Marianne and Chris, who win a £25 and £10 Amazon voucher respectively. If you want to remind yourself of the stories, you can look back at the shortlist of five here.

Thanks again to everyone who took part and thanks to Wendy for judging!

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8 Responses to Sheep/Welcome Random Word Competition – Results!

  1. Dave Simmonds says:

    Congratulations, Marianne and Chris – lovely stories. And thanks to Helen for organising.

    • Thanks, David and well done for making the shortlist. I thought any of the 5 could have made a worthy winner or runner-up so at the end of the day, it was down to the judge’s personal choice. You all did brilliantly.


    Well done winners.

  3. juliathorley says:

    A worthy winner – so much depth in so few words.

  4. philippabowe says:

    Congrats to the winners and everyone who made the short and long lists, well done!!

  5. Eirin Thompson says:

    Such wonderful, compact stories told with incredible precision – bravo! Congrats also to Glenda Young on her winning story, featured in your previous post. I loved her tale, and thought I detected a little influence of the mighty Alan Bennett (which I intend as high praise). Feeling that I sort of ‘know’ Glenda from her womag work was very pleasing, as well as encouraging – so competition winners can actually be ‘real’ people!

  6. Alice E says:

    Well done to the winners! Brilliant stories.
    I’m very pleased to have reached the shortlist- the furthest I’ve ever come in your wonderful competitions, Helen! Thank you for organising them. 😊

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