We are delighted to announce that the top three stories from March’s entries are (in alphabetical order):
- Crowning glory
- No going back
- The Shadow Boxer
March’s theme was ‘The Insider’. The three top stories will now go through to the final judging and the top ten prize-winning authors (not necessarily the same as the top ten stories as no author can win more than one prize) will be announced at the 2021 BeaconLit literary festival on Saturday 10th July (fingers crossed!). The results will also be listed here and on the main website (link below) and the winners contacted.
There are often more than three stories that could have made the top three but those that did were either closer to the theme or stronger (provoked more of a reaction after reading) so don’t be disheartened if yours hasn’t been mentioned.
If your story for this month isn’t listed in the above three, you are welcome to do whatever you like with your submission hereon in. If your story is listed, it’s possible that it could be placed in the ultimate top ten* which will be published on this website (and on http://www.beaconlit.co.uk) in July so please do not send it elsewhere until after the final results are announced.
If you have requested, and paid for, critique, this will be with you in the next few days if not already.
This month, May, with the theme of ‘Last chance’ is your last chance this year to submit your <500-word story. Make it count. 🙂
Gareth’s feedback on the stories received this month:
Good to come across examples of crisp, convincing dialogue. When, for example, there are two people talking, and the writer has dispensed with the laborious “said A”, “answered B” pattern.
One person wrote nine lines of dialogue without so much as a “she said”, “he said”. Generally you don’t need to point out who is speaking, especially when the conversation is between just two people.
Sometimes a comma does help in the middle of a long sentence, particularly when the second-half complements or comments on what’s going in the first half.
Several writers describe situations, locations and storylines with, it seems to me, a good understanding of a particular job, or place.
This might have come from research (and you can find all sorts of honest, authentic material to support your story online.) Or is part of the writer’s personal experience. Do use this personnel knowledge if you have it – a stakeout, perhaps. It’s invaluable for a story.
It’s satisfying to read that authentic voice. And better still when the writing and scene setting is so good.
Some evocative lines stand out this month –
‘He’s a wee bad man, Lomax McMahon. Shootings, bombs, drugs. Which do you want?’.
And authentic sounding police dialogue – just listen to any 10 minutes of Line of Duty, or The Unforgotten if you want to check that you are getting it right.
“Banty made it sound like Lancashire Police organised holidays for terrorists.”
I like crisp, short and economical sentences – where appropriate of course, in short stories. Such as “ …”she fired sarcastically at him”.
…”the whispers that were like screams to her,”
And 11 word, four sentence intros such as this –
“Has she missed Jason? No. Now she has a dilemma. He’s back.”
Beware of labouring a story with clause after clause separated by commas, where a full stop and the new sentence would be better.
And don’t be afraid to use the comment section at the end of the story. Not obligatory, but sometimes it amplifies what you’re trying to say.
Although Gareth judges on the impact of the stories and the quality of the writing, it’s always disappointing when there are simple spelling mistakes or even simpler errors that should have been picked up during the editing process. Please do read your stories carefully before submitting and ideally show them to someone you trust for their opinion.
*Should you get through to the longlist of 30 stories (three per month over ten months), it doesn’t necessarily mean that your story won’t be chosen if it slips out of the top ten. No author will appear in the top ten twice so a story that came eleventh (or twelfth, thirteenth…) could be bumped up where there are author duplications.
You can also receive feedback on your story / stories at £5 per story with the optional critique service (given by the judge, Gareth Davies). This option is detailed on the main 500-word Competition page with an option to select critique within the entry form.
N.B. ALL the profits (fees minus PayPal charges) from this competition go to BeaconLit funds for the local libraries. No one involved in the competition charges for their time (including the judge!). Good luck!