Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Fourth Quarter 2017

First: Someone to Hold by Peter Barker

Second: The Morning After by Susan Howe

Third: Words by Chloe Banks

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

Highly Commended: White is the Colour of Something by Hannah Persaud

 

Judgeís Report for the fourth quarterís competition 2017 from Simon Whaley

When the words wonít flow, 500 words can feel like writing an 80,000-word novel. And yet, when it comes to telling a story, 500 words is Ö practically nothing. Yet what I enjoyed in this batch of wonderfully written entries was how complete and thought-provoking these stories were.

Iím not a poet, but I admire the skill poets have in choosing the right adjective, verb, noun or adverb, because poems are succinct. Every. Word. Has. To. Count. Itís the same with flash fiction. Words have to work harder, smarter, building up a bigger picture for the reader to create in their imagination.

For me, the stories that work best are the ones that linger in my mind, long after Iíve finished reading them. They keep me thinking, contemplating, and considering the emotions they generated within me. Thatís the power of fiction. To do it in 500 words, or fewer, is the power of flash fiction.

Thank you to all of the writers for the emotion. Here are my winners.

 

1st: Someone to Hold

Itís the final four words of this story that makes this work so well. Not only is there a twist, but it brings the whole story back to the start, and then takes the reader off on another story as they piece together the events, thoughts and actions that led the other character to do what they did: choose the ending, choose the method and, most importantly, choose that train.

 

2nd: The Morning After

Another one with a twist ending, and again, itís the final five words where everything falls into place. But what I loved about this piece is that itís two stories, because itís about two journeys. This story recounts the characterís life: their struggle to find what theyíre looking for, when itís not clear in their mind what that is. Itís a quest. So this story ends when that quest has been resolved. But it also signals the start of a new story - a new journey of living the life the character now knows they want.

 

3rd: Words

Words matter. Including the ones we donít use every day. I said earlier that choosing the right word is so important in flash fiction. This story takes this a step further. It uses words few of us exploit on a daily basis to convey character. Thereís probably at least one word in this story you donít know. So read this one at twice: once for the story, then look up the words you donít know and read it again. That second reading only increases the power of that simple but immensely evocative, final four-letter word.

 

Highly Commended: White is the Colour of Something

The most basic human characteristic is here: survival. Itís a powerful story, and as a dog lover I found one section in particular an uncomfortable read Ö but it was right for the story. Because itís about survival. And weíll endure anything if it helps us survive.

 

We regularly receive several hundred entries each quarter, so those making the long and short lists should feel very proud.

 

Short Listed Entries for the Fourth Quarter 2017 ó in alphabetical order

 

A Fateful Error by Jane Westwell

Audit in Orange by Taria Karillion

Becky's Beads by June Whitaker

Black Art by Susan Howe

Contained by Peter Burns

Description of a Coffee Struggle by Sherry Morris

Double Date by Stella Klein

Heat by Taria Karillion

Notes to Self on New Year's Resolutions by Taria Karillion

On Vermeer's "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" by Carol Caffrey

Racing Crabs by Harriet Reilly

Ripples by June Whitaker

Saving Grace by Lynn Bushell

Sea Glass by Mandy Huggins

Searching by Julie Monaghan

Someone to Hold by Peter Barker

The Black Rock by Deborah Ballantyne

The Lovelock Tree by Frank Bray

The Morning After by Susan Howe

The Sisterhood by Sandra Crook

The Tiniest Distraction by Louise Mangos

The Wages of Sin by Karen Jones

Whatever Speed She Dared by Mandy Huggins

White is the Colour of Something by Hannah Persaud

Words by Chloe Banks

 

Long Listed Entries for the Fourth Quarter 2017 ó in alphabetical order

 

A Blue Baby Hat by Marjan Sierhuis

A Fateful Error by Jane Westwell

All You Need Is Love by Julian Cadman

Audit in Orange by Taria Karillion

Becky's Beads by June Whitaker

Black Art by Susan Howe

Contained by Peter Burns

Description of a Coffee Struggle by Sherry Morris

Double Date by Stella Klein

Everything Forever by Steven Holding

Family Pride by Trevor Syrett

Family Sleuth by Sharon Boyle

For Sale: Baby Crib, Never Rocked by Nakul Vāc

Growing Pains by Tim Cazalet

Heat by Taria Karillion

Him and I by Stephen House

Man Up by Sam Burt

Mr. Finnegan by James Brady

Notes to Self on New Year's Resolutions by Taria Karillion

On Vermeer's "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" by Carol Caffrey

Papa Was a Rolling Stone by Sandra Crook

Planet Earth Will Soon Be Closing, Please Make Your Final Choices by Taria Karillion

Pulse by Niall Gray

Racing Crabs by Harriet Reilly

Raw by Claire Whatley

Ripples by June Whitaker

Saving Grace by Lynn Bushell

Sea Glass by Mandy Huggins

Searching by Julie Monaghan

So Much for Mexico by Julia O'Dowd

Someone to Hold by Peter Barker

Spending the Jar by Andrew Drummond

Stolen Moments by Marjan Sierhuis

The Black Rock by Deborah Ballantyne

The Lovelock Tree by Frank Bray

The Morning After by Susan Howe

The Readiness to Hunt Lions by Adam Lock

The Sisterhood by Sandra Crook

The Sistine Chapel in J. Alfred Prufrock Mode by Carol Caffrey

The Tiniest Distraction by Louise Mangos

The Wages of Sin by Karen Jones

Whatever Speed She Dared by Mandy Huggins

White is the Colour of Something by Hannah Persaud

Widowing by Adam Lock

Words by Chloe Banks