The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition 2019
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Short Story Competition 2019 Winners


Winner - J D Hellsinger with Love Atoll
2nd Place - Conor Montague Nothing To Be Done
3rd Place - Sophie Holland with What Do See When You Look At The Moon?
4th Place - Amanda Davies with Mirella's Umbrella



Short List for the Short Story Competition 2019
in Alphabetical Order.

Gordon Aindow - Tree

Ken Baker - Where the Snow Falls Upside Down

Amanda Davies - Mirella's Umbrella

Judith Drazin - The Blue Bead

Rowena Fishwick - Red Ants

Pamela Gough - Too Many Bottles

Emma Teichmann - Last Rites

JD Hellsinger - Love Atoll

Sophie Holland - What Do You See When You Look At The Moon?

Karin Holm - Cooking Club

Janet Killeen - Virtual Realities

Phil McCumskey - Frozen

Kate McKenna - Thundercloud's Destiny

Conor Montague - Nothing To Be Done

Emily Prince - White Tablecloths

Cathryn Robson - Dance Floor Etiquette

Ramona Scarborough - An Uncommonly Sunny day

Enda Scott - Don't Mention The C Word

Elaine Simmonds - Starling Nirvana

Mari Smith - May Day

Maria Smith - Broken Child

Julie Spruce - Hybrids

Amanda Staples - The Pewter Thimble

Julia Thorley - Heavy With Child


Congratulations to all of you who've made it onto the short list.

Commiserations to those who didn't. But don't give up. Read on to see where you could have gone wrong and try again.

Not on the short list? Where could you have gone wrong?

Not everyone can go through to the next round - but did you make it easy for the judges to put your story on the 'no' pile? Now's the time to re-look at your entry, as you've got some distance from it, and to analyse where you may have gone wrong. Here are some of the common mistakes people made:

  1. Did you stick to the rules? Read the rules again and check to see if you stuck to them. Several people sent in stories over the stipulated 2000 word limit not including the title. If you were just one word over then your story went on to the 'no' pile - even if it was fantastic.

  2. Did you rush the ending? There were quite a few entries where the ending was rushed despite having plenty of words left. You don't have to write 2000 words if your story is complete at 1500. But do make sure it is complete and not weak at the end, especially if you're under the word count.

  3. Did your story become boring? I'm afraid to say some stories did make the judges yawn. Some started slow and stayed that way whilst others felt they were being stretched to fill the word count. So, check to see if your story set a good pace or if it was padded out.

  4. Was your entry properly proofread? Yes, I'm sorry to say that some entries were littered with poor grammar, bad spelling and clunky writing. Straight to the 'no' pile for them!

  5. Was your story a cliché? There were several stories that were really well written but the judges had seen many like them before. Here is a useful blog post from competition judge Iain Pattison which tells you what subjects to avoid in competition stories. Read more...

Want to improve? Help is at hand.

Check out our 'How to Write for Competitions - and win!' course, written by Iain Pattison and Alison Chisholm - two experienced writers and competition adjudicators. Find out more...

It ís always good to get a professional opinion and The Writers Bureau's Review and Appraisal Service will give you that. One of our tutors will give you constructive criticism on your work and help you to improve your writing. For short stories up to 4,000 words it is £50 and then £6 for each additional 1,000 words up to 8,000. Find out more...

Or you could have up to 2000 words reviewed for £25. Find out more ...

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