Posted in competitions, critique, literary festival, writing

500-word comp Round 5 – November 2017 – winners announced

We are delighted to announce the top four stories from November’s entries are (in alphabetical order):

  • Alive Again
  • A Pilgrimage
  • Black Friday
  • The Air That I Breathed

Yes, there are four stories this month because Morgen felt them equally strong and as the judge, she can break the rules!

These four stories will now go through to the final judging which takes place when the final (eleventh) round closes on 31st May. The results of that month will be revealed mid-June and the final ten authors (not necessarily the same as the top ten stories as no author can win more than one prize) will be announced at the 2018 BeaconLit literary festival on Saturday 14th July.

If your story isn’t listed above, you are welcome to do whatever you like with them hereon in. If your story is listed, it’s possible that it could be placed in the top three (next July – see below) which will be published on this website (and on

Morgen’s feedback on the stories received this month:

Although there were only seven stories received for the November competition, it didn’t make my job any easier… as you can see from there being four rather than three selected stories. While most were written for an event that took / takes place in November, there were a couple that felt as if they could have happened at any time of the year. Sometimes this happens when the author already has a ‘spare’ story and moulds it to fit the theme. This shows. There were contemporary and historical stories, happy, sad and just simply entertaining or thought-provoking… but they were all very well written so if you didn’t make the top four, don’t lose heart. Most of you went for the optional critique (which will be with you in the next few days) so you’ll find out how you could – in my opinion – improve your stories which, because they’re not in the top four, can be sent elsewhere.


Although Morgen 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 (e.g. extra words this month) that should have been picked up when going through before submission.

The December round (where the theme is ‘December’) has already opened so don’t delay in writing those 500-word maximum (excluding titles) masterpieces. And do make sure you read them thoroughly before submitting.

Should you get through to the longlist of 33 stories (three per month over eleven months), it doesn’t necessarily mean that your story will be chosen for the top ten. And 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. So, the more (stories / months) you enter, the more chance you have of success.

And now you can also receive feedback on your story / stories at £5 per story with the optional critique service (given by the judge, Morgen Bailey, who is a professional editor for publishers and independent authors). This option is detailed on the main 500-word Competition page with an option to select critique within the entry form. Good luck!



Writer of 'dark and light' (crime / chick-lit) fiction since 2005, WordPress blogger since March 2011, freelance editor (£2-£7/K) since March 2012, and creative writing tutor since January 2014. Also judge for H.E. Bates, and BeaconFlash / BBC Radio 2 / Althorp Lit Fest 500-word comps.

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