‘I took a deep breath and knocked on the door’ – 15 September 2016
Our ‘door’ competition was our most successful yet, with a bumper number of entries making picking the winners even more difficult than usual. Thank you to everyone who entered. The opening line format proved really popular, so it’s definitely something we’ll use in future competitions.
We hoped our opening line would inspire confrontation and conversation so were a little surprised by just how many people’s knocking went unanswered! We’d encourage all writers to explore the world outside of their protagonist’s head and give us interaction between characters.
We’ve read stories about reunions, police officers and haunted houses, and travelled to countries real and imagined. The range of subject matter, time and place just goes to show that an opening line can take you anywhere.
Special mention goes to Colin Galletly, who created a world where the sulphurous air made taking a deep breath especially important. Well done, Colin, for really considering every word of our opener.
The judges particularly enjoyed ‘The Interview’ by Kate Leech, the surprising story of what happens when Cinderella’s happy ending isn’t quite the fairytale she expected. Louise King’s ‘Running’ was another highlight. The final line of this story about a father desperately searching for his child really took our breath away.
We’ve published four stories this time, which we hope you’ll enjoy. We’ve also given one commendation prize.
  • ‘The Death of Lady Macbeth’ by Grace Cullen imagines a scene that Shakespeare didn’t write. The judges were impressed by how perfectly Grace’s story fits into the world of the original play while she brings her own perspective to the character. Grace writes beautifully and we’re delighted to give her our £100 first prize.

  • ‘Unhinged’ by Emma Myatt has real warmth and heart. Emma makes the door central to her story of a cantankerous author and his protégé and we loved the hopeful tone of her uplifting tale. Emma wins our second prize of £50.
We decided to award two third prizes this time because we felt both stories, though very different, really deserve to be read.
  • ‘Following the Rules’ by Peter Collins is bold, original and really made the judges laugh, just as Peter hoped. His response to the opening line is certainly the cheekiest we received!

  • ‘Lunetta’ by Elizabeth Norton beautifully captures the drama of forbidden love and is rich with period detail. Elizabeth has a real way with words and her story is genuinely moving.
Both Peter and Elizabeth win £25.
We’ve also given one commended prize of £10 to Isla Robertson for ‘The Weird Woman’. The central character’s encounter with a mysterious femme fatale is told in a strong and distinctive voice and the judges thoroughly enjoyed Isla’s exciting story.
Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all those who entered.

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