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Share Your ‘Best Reads’ With Friends

May 20th, 2016

iphone_litsy7_screen-blogLast week I mentioned that we’d soon be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition.  We had well over 500 entries and it’s been quite easy to whittle these down to a shortlist. But when we got that shortlist  – and this year there were 25 stories on it –  it became very difficult to choose the actual winners as the quality of all of them was so good.

I find it hard to enjoy the brevity that goes with a flash fiction story that is only 50 or 100 words – there’s just not enough ‘depth’ for me. But give a good writer 500 words to play with and they can create a piece that really resonates with the reader. We’ve more or less made our decision now and we should be announcing it next week – so watch this space, and I feel sure you’ll agree with me.

I’ve just told you that the standard of the shortlisted entries was exceptionally high – and many of the stories that never reached the list were still very good indeed and may have been placed in a less competitive environment. But as usually, we did get lots of stories that could be eliminated almost immediately because they broke the rules (they were too long) or were on a hackneyed theme. So, what themes should you avoid?

This year we got lots of stories about terrorists and the migrant crisis. But we also got plenty of the old favourites: people confined in horrible care homes; loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and also domestic violence. These are all valid themes but you must be alert to the fact that your entry will really have to be special to set it apart from all the others; so you’re giving yourself a handicap from the start.

And now for the ones that there really is no excuse for (and every women’s magazine editor will back me up on this). The plot where the main protagonist turns out to be a cat or a dog – believe me, it is usually no surprise for the reader! Or, even worse, where the story is told by an inanimate object .  Ask yourself, honestly, whether a toaster or kettle is really going to be a thrilling narrator.

So before you send in a story to the next competition, sit down and think about the theme you’ve chosen. Inspired writing is essential to win prizes – but so is originality.

For more tips on how to give yourself a head start in literary competition we offer a course: How to Write for Competitions – and win. Plus there’s currently a £25 discount if you enrol before 29th May!

Finally this week, I’ve just become aware of a new social app called Litsy. They say: Litsy is a place to share and discover your favorite books with your favorite people. The Litsy community is a groundswell of passionate readers, authors, celebrities, and more. Share bookish moments with Quotes, Reviews, and Blurbs. Measure Litfluence to discover your “bookprint” in the world. Explore recommendations from readers, not algorithms… want to organize your reading list? Our app has stacks for that, too. It’s fun.  It’s simple.  It’s all about the book.

I know there are plenty of review sites out there already but I am starting to feel rather dubious about some of their reviews. I downloaded a book last week that had got great reviews in both the press and on Goodreads but it’s turned out to be terminally boring. So perhaps Litsy will act as a breath of fresh air – and it’s free to download so it could be worth giving it a try!

Until next week…

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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