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How To Get Your Story On The Judges’ Shortlist

December 12th, 2014

werewolfFirst, thanks to Rebecca for last Friday’s blog post. It certainly demonstrates that ‘writing about what you know’ needn’t limit you in any way if you don’t take it too literally.

We’ve now come to the end of our 2014 Flash Fiction competition. As usual, we had a great response and we’ll do our best to get the results out to you and the winning stories on our website early in the New Year. We’ll also be launching our next competition but you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out which genre we’ve chosen.

I’ve really enjoyed reading through the entries and there have been some beautifully crafted stories. However, there are certain themes that come up time after time, and because of this they have less chance of getting shortlisted.

A few years ago it was lottery winners. People sleeping rough is a perennial theme and this year there seemed to be a preoccupation with the following:

Old people being mistreated in care homes/suffering from Alzheimer’s; young people committing suicide; cannibalism – psychopaths killing and then eating their victims.

Also, if you’re a Writers Bureau student and you sent in any of the work you produced for Assignment 12, you will not be on the winners’ list. Judges can spot those pieces a mile off!

If you write about zombies, werewolves or vampires your story will have to be incredibly original to get on the short list. And if you send in a poem when we ask for flash fiction then you’re simply chucking your entry fee away.

Finally, the best advice I can give for future competitions is: tell a story that people will find intriguing and that they will enjoy. Don’t just try to be clever.

My guest next week is Writers Bureau student Sarabjit Parmar with a truly inspirational story to get you in the mood for Christmas. Talking of which, I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the festive season – I hope that in the New Year you will achieve all your ambitions as a writer.

And on a less serious note… eat, drink and be merry!

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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