Posted in competitions, critique, literary festival, writing

500-word comp Round 6 – December 2017 – winners announced

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

  • Festive Fayre
  • Letter Home December 1915
  • Wishful Thinking

These three 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:

Another fantastic batch of stories. Many are character-focused more than plot-led and it was a pleasure connecting with them.

There were a couple of clichés which are fine up to a point in dialogue providing you stick with one character as a trait but less so in narration. Some of the stories had scenes where it was slightly confusing as to which character was meant when you have two characters of the same gender. An example (not from these stories) would be: ‘Gillian and Teresa walked their Scottie dog, Sasha. She was excited.’ Who is excited? Technically it would be Sasha the dog but the ‘he / she / him / her’ etc. will usually refer to the last mentioned name (of that gender) unless you specify that it’s someone else.

This was another strong month with three stories narrowly missing out on being placed. I tend to judge on how I feel at the end of the story. What you don’t want is for the judge to go “Huh?” at the end when he or she (the latter in my case) hasn’t understood what was meant. Given them an “ooh” or even “wow” and you’ve (hopefully) cracked it.


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 that should have been picked up when going through before submission.

The January round (where the theme is ‘January’) 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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