Posted in competitions, critique, literary festival, writing

The First BeaconLit 500-word Competition Longlist

Following the results announcement of the final month’s entries, we are now in a position to share the longlist of 34 stories (in alphabetical order):

  • A Dish Served Cold (October)
  • Alive Again (November)
  • A Pilgrimage (November)
  • April’s Fool (April)
  • Autumn Fair (September)
  • Back to School (September)
  • Black Friday (November)
  • Changing the Clocks (October)
  • Christmas is Coming (October)
  • Dents de Lion (April)
  • Edgar’s Last Stand (August)
  • Festive Fayre (December)
  • Gone but not forgotten (April)
  • Happy New Year (January)
  • Knickerbocker Holiday (July)
  • Letter Home December 1915 (December)
  • Love your Fete (May)
  • Making Mother’s Day (March)
  • ‘Mayday, Mayday’ (May)
  • New Starters (January)
  • New Year New Start (January)
  • No Running! (February)
  • Partition (August)
  • Seek and Ye Shall Find (September)
  • Spring Surveillance (March)
  • Summer Escape (August)
  • The Air That I Breathed (November)
  • The Keeper of Time (March)
  • The Wisdom of Scarecrows (May)
  • War of the Roses (February)
  • When Rambo Met Mitzy (February)
  • Wishful Thinking (December)
  • Wrongful Retribution (July)
  • Zapped (July)

Congratulations to those authors and commiserations to those not making this list. The standard was incredibly high so don’t let this put you off from entering (with different stories) again, and just as importantly sending your original submissions elsewhere.

These 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 2018 BeaconLit literary festival on Saturday 14th July.

The second BeaconLit 500-word competition will open on 1st August with specific rather than month-themed topics. As Morgen says, do try to make your stories as close to the theme as possible, so written around the theme rather than the topic slotted in as an afterthought. Even if it isn’t, you don’t want it to come across as such.

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Posted in competitions, writing

BeaconLit 500-word comp (final) Round 11 – May 2018 winners announced

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

  • Love your Fete
  • ‘Mayday, Mayday’
  • The Wisdom of Scarecrows

These three 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 2018 BeaconLit literary festival on Saturday 14th July. The second BeaconLit 500-word competition will open on 1st August with specific rather than month-themed topics.

If your story for this month isn’t listed above, 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 top three which will be announced (and possibly read out) at the festival then published on this website (and on http://www.beaconlit.co.uk and Morgen’s blog).

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:

“Another fantastic selection of stories to end this year’s competition. There were sweet stories, sad ones, funny ones. I won’t be seeing Mary Berry in the same light from now on! Many could have made the top three but it was those that made me laugh, go “Ooh” or “Wow” and were closest to the theme that made the grade, as the cliché goes.

“Please don’t be disappointed if your story hasn’t been selected this month as seven made the shortlist with a tough choice to chop four. In most months, there were stories that so loosely followed the theme that the story could have happened during any other month (in that season or the year) or the person named after the month could have easily been called something else. There should be more substance to the story, fitting closer to the theme.

“The stories that didn’t make the top three each month can’t be entered it again to this competition but there are many other outlets that would likely be suitable. I don’t get to see who has sent which stories but I have been very impressed by the quality of the submissions and I’m a tough crowd. You’re putting pen to paper and / or fingers to keyboard so you should all be incredibly proud.”

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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 during the editing process. Please do read your stories carefully before submitting and ideally show them to someone you trust for their opinion.

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The competition is now closed for this year. We thank you for all your submissions and look forward to reading your stories next time round.

Posted in competitions, critique, writing

BeaconLit 500-word comp Round 10 – April 2018 – winners announced

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

  • April’s Fool
  • Dents de Lion
  • Gone but Not Forgotten

(‘Two Women’ only just missing out)

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 http://www.beaconlit.co.uk).

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:

A love mix of stories. Again some could have been set at any point in the year with April mentioned almost as an addition rather than the story created with that month in mind… or so they felt. The winning stories though were chosen because of my reaction to them. A “wow” at the end of a story usually means it’s going to do well. Anything ranging from an ‘ah’ to ‘ooh’ is also likely to at least beat those to which I go “Huh?”, and there’s often at least one of those. Get someone else to read your story and see how they react. Everyone needs a second pair of eyes / ears. I’d recommend the judge being at least the third.

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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 final (May) round (where the theme is ‘May’) 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!

 

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 http://www.beaconlit.co.uk).

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.

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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!

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 http://www.beaconlit.co.uk).

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.

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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!

Posted in competitions, critique, literary festival, writing

500-word comp Round 4 – Oct 2017 – winners announced

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

  • A Dish Served Cold
  • Changing the Clocks
  • Christmas is Coming

These three stories will now go through to the final judging which takes place when the competition 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 http://www.beaconlit.co.uk).

For those of you have requested (and paid for) critique on your stories, this will be with you in the next few days.

Morgen’s feedback on this month’s entries:

“An especially difficult selection process this time as I had four favourites but had to pick three. There were others that came very close to the top four and in any other collection of stories could have been placed. The one that only just missed out was ‘Recipe for Change’. Although I judge 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. This has happened every month without exception. I suggest reading your entry aloud before submitting it. Write it, leave it for a few days then go through it again – reading it aloud so any mistakes will leap out at you. Even better: read the sentences in reverse order, i.e. the final one followed by its predecessor and so on. It won’t make any sense but that’s the idea.”

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The November round (where the theme is ‘November’) has already opened so don’t delay in writing those 500-word maximum (excluding title) 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!

Posted in competitions, critique, literary festival, writing

500-word comp Round 3 – Sept 2017 – winners announced

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

  • Autumn Fair
  • Back to School
  • Seek and Ye Shall Find

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 http://www.beaconlit.co.uk).

For those of you have requested (and paid for) critique on your stories, this will be with you in the next few days.

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Morgen’s feedback on this month’s entries:

“Another mixed bag. Some where disqualified, or at least lost points, because they were either not written to the theme (of September), had picked the wrong month, or they were so loosely based on the month that the stories could have taken place at any time… A couple of the stories felt as if they had already been written and were tweaked to accommodate the theme. It’s all about the impact of the story having read it through. One missed out because it had a clichéd ending. Those to avoid (and the story was one of these):

  • The character was one of twins; one bad, one good.
  • The main character turns out to be an animal.
  • Chris isn’t Christopher but is Christine.
  • The ‘child’ dreading the first day at school turns out to be the teacher.

And worst of all (it wasn’t this one)…

  • It was all a dream… Bobby Ewing!

Women’s magazines especially avoid those.”

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The October round (where the theme is ‘October’) 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!