Short Story competitions
COULD YOU BE A WINNER?
I think winning stories have to capture the heart as well as the attention of the judges. I’ve rarely read a winning story without feeling I know why it was chosen. Usually the setting is striking, the structure is very satisfying, the ending unexpected and the main character convincing. I’m saying nothing out of the ordinary, I know, but it’s as well to have these features of winning stories in the back of your mind as you start to write yours. Some writers give up competitions at the first or second failure to get on the shortlist.
However, some rehash their stories or even leave them as they are and keep submitting them to different competitions, on the basis that ‘liking’ a story and finding it surpasses other good entries is very subjective.
I reviewed one winner, Anne Corlett, on a previous post (See Review: H.E.Bates winner) Her story is well worth reading for that structure, setting, believable character (s), and unexpected ending, a thoroughly satisfying read.
It is not always previous competition winners or successful journalists turning to fiction who win. There have been some notable first timers who have run the contestants out of the ground. The main thing is to have a go. The writing towards winning is good practice, and you can regard it as just that. Robert the Bruce would have been entering every competition until chosen, egged on by his spider. So, try, try, try again if you haven’t been successful so far.