Every year, Fiction Feedback sponsors a national competition with Chorley & District Writers’ Circle, with which I’m personally involved. The shortlist has now been decided and I have to say, the process is very exciting. The competition, on the theme of 'dangerous liasions', garnered over 50 entries and it was great fun reading all those wonderful stories. A lovely labour, too, with quite a generous word limit of 3,000 words.
If there hadn’t been a theme, I honestly don’t know how we’d have created a shortlist that didn't comprise at least three quarters of the stories sent in. There were some fabulous stories: moving, exciting, original, humorous, and all beautifully written. However, a lot had obviously been entered simply because their authors had them ready to send and try their luck at the next comp, and they weren’t geared to the theme. The connection was weak, tenuous or even non-existent. So they missed out. It’s a sadness to see so many terrific stories fall by the judging wayside, but as I say it made our job easier.
I won’t publicise the shortlist here as the final judging has to be made anonymously, but watch this space once the prizes have been decided.
Meanwhile, if you’re considering entering a writing competition, and it has a theme, do be aware that it’s there to make the judges’ lives easier (as well as more pleasurable, ‘dangerous liaisons’ was mined in all kind of fascinating ways). Crafting your story tightly around the theme will increase your chances of a prize maybe more than you’d realised.