‘Stop!’ – 15 March 2017
In our latest challenge, we asked you to ‘Stop!’ what you were doing and tell us a story. Once again, we had entries from all over the world, including a school group in Belgium whose teacher set 1000 word challenge as homework – that’s our kind of teacher!
We hoped for dynamic tales with plenty of interaction stemming from that first spoken word and, overall, you certainly delivered. Dogs featured prominently in this competition – whether they were skateboarding through town causing havoc or trying to help their owners find love. We particularly enjoyed Ellen MacPherson’s ‘Culled Stock’, in which a second-hand novel (yes, you read that right) faces disappointment when it’s left on the shelf in favour of a book about a talking canine.
Joanna Hunter’s ‘The Show Must Go on’ and Dan March’s ‘The Audition’ were highlights. Both set their stories in the world of acting. Joanna’s poignant story of a widower staging ‘South Pacific’ in memory of his wife hit just the right emotional note, while Dan’s struggling thespian facing the worst audition of his life had us cringing and chuckling in equal measure. Well done, both!
We’ve published four stories for this competition and we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did.
- ‘Right of Way’ by Joanna Rubery is a beautifully-written story, focusing on the relationship between a driving instructor and his pupil. The characters are skilfully built, with genuine ambiguity. Joanna clearly demonstrates that you don’t need to put every detail on the page to draw nuanced characters. We’re delighted to reward her with our £100 first prize.
Unusually, for this competition we’re awarding two second prizes for two very different but equally deserving stories.
- ‘Stop!’ by Clare Owen brings us the unique perspective of an unusual teenager plucking up the courage to talk to a girl. Clare’s central character has a strong voice and really comes alive on the page. We thoroughly enjoyed this story with its deft mix of the quirky and the everyday.
- ‘Ring Fingers’ by Barry Charman is moving and intriguing with a beautiful style and melancholy atmosphere. Barry draws the reader in with intriguing questions. Are we all connected and what do these connections mean?
Clare and Barry win £50 each.
- ‘If’ by Katie Burchett weaves some beautiful images into a striking story of two friends on a night out. Katie is an accomplished writer who paints a vivid picture and we very much felt this story deserved to be read. We’re pleased to give Katie our third prize of £25.
Well done to all our winners and thank you to everyone who entered this time. If you’re up for the next 1000 word challenge, tell us a secret by 31 May 2017. We look forward to reading your stories.