Posted in competitions, writing

BeaconLit Second Year 500-word comp Round 4 – November 2018 winners announced

BeaconLit Second Year 500-word comp Round 4 – November 2018 winners announced

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

  • Morris Man
  • Signs of the Times
  • Waiting

Narrow missed out:

  • London in 4018
  • The Cleansing

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 2019 BeaconLit literary festival on Saturday 13th July.

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 next July so please do not send it elsewhere until after the literary festival.

If you have requested, and paid for, critique, this will be with you in the next few days.


Morgen’s feedback on the stories received this month:

It’s a shame when really well-written stories miss out because they’re not close enough to the theme. When there’s a choice to be made then the theme trumps and the story / stories with a too-loose connection fall by the wayside. It could be that they were written especially but where it feels they were adapted for, or perhaps not at all, the theme then they do sadly miss out. This may sound harsh but the judge’s role is to consider how each story captures the theme provided. It certainly doesn’t have to be clever but where too tentative. A very different and interesting collection of stories this month including comedy, science fiction and romance, many superbly written.

Following the reading of these stories, I thought it might be useful to provide some tips:

  • when you’re writing someone’s name when another character is speaking to them, you’d need a comma before the name, i.e. ‘Do you know John?’ is asking if the person knows someone called John. ‘Do you know, John?’ means that the character is speaking to someone called John but asking them if they know something. A subtle difference but you want to avoid confusing the reader so they jump out of the story.
  • when talking to someone, we don’t often say their name. Although dialogue doesn’t strictly reflect real speech, it should feel realistic and especially where you only have two characters in a scene and it’s been established who’s saying what, you can cut down (out) on the name calling. Also rather than ‘Tom said’, have Tom pick up a mug or equivalent so the description, in the same paragraph as what he says, tells us it’s him speaking.
  • when the narrator tells us what the character is doing and saying, everything connected with that character should be within the same paragraph and you would usually only use colons when about to provide a list (or similar).


Although Morgen judges on the impact of the stories, the theme, 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. December’s theme is ‘an alternate Christmas / not feeling festive’ and closes midnight (UK time) 31st December.


*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.

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.

All the money from this competition goes to BeaconLit funds for the local libraries. Morgen is not charging for her time. 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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