Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Fourth Quarter 2010

 

First: Politically Correct by Veronica Ryder

Second: The Imposters by Nick Hollin

Third: Third Time Unlucky by Francis Hayes

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

 

Highly Commended: One Manís Meat by Susan Howe

 

Judgeís Report for the fourth quarterís competition 2010 from Iain Pattison

Most people assume that when we talk about flash fiction the expression flash refers simply to the truncated length of the tale. It only takes a few minutes to race through the narrative - itís over in a jiffy.

But Iíve always taken a wider view. For me flash is a sudden and unexpected moment of brilliance, an instant of story-telling magic that blinds with its imagination, verve and technical excellence.

So in judging this competition I was looking for stories that sparkled and blazed, twinkling and teasing, bursting with ideas and flair. And I searched for writers who were flash - in the nicest way possible - able to flaunt their originality and talent while they entertained and challenged.

The standard here was high. All entries in the shortlist were competent and very readable. But sadly, most lacked that certain something that made them truly memorable, the extra oomph that would have made me think: Gosh, thatís amazing. I wish Iíd written that.

And a good number fell into the traps outlined by previous judges - of writers producing tableaux or vignettes - mere snapshots or descriptions - instead of fully rounded plots, or producing yarns that relied too heavily on grief and death to provide the dramatic punch.† Some simply had endings or paths that were too predictable.†

Only a handful dazzled and made it through to my final clutch of possibles. (What is the term for a shortlistís shortlist?) These were:

Joeís Bicycle

Too Sweet

Politically Correct

One Manís Meat

The Imposters

Third Time Unlucky

†All were strong stories, well crafted, with impact and a powerful sense of mood, but only four could make it to the podium, so I slept on it. Those entries that still burned in my memory the next morning won through. So my choice of victors was:

 

1st: Politically Correct

An outstanding entry that shone brightly. I loved everything about this story - from its clever title and unusual structure, to its emotional intensity and economy of language. A very professional and accomplished narrative from a writer on top of their game. I was particularly impressed by the device of using a restaurant menu format to illustrate the various inevitable and sad episodes or ďcoursesĒ of the MPís wifeís brittle and empty life. The clincher was the wonderful ambiguity of the ending - a classic ďdid she jump or was she pushed?Ē. A deserving winner.†††††††

 

2nd: The Imposters

Oozing truth and authenticity, this amusing yarn of the lack of empathy and understanding between the generations was clever, engaging and insightful. I donít think anyone reading this couldnít fail to connect with its sentiment or appreciate the accuracy of its observation of the eternal conflict between parents and teenagers.†

 

3rd: Third Time Unlucky

A fun, entertaining romp with a lovely sly twist that took me by surprise. Fluid and effortless reading. Great stuff.

 

Highly Commended: One Manís Meat

A teasing, wry, wonderfully droll and dark story beautifully merging humour and horror. It made me smile and shiver, but the title rather telegraphed the ending.

***

 

Iím pleased to be able to announce the short list. Watch this space for the winning entries when our judge, Iain Pattison, has finished his incredibly difficult task.

 

Short List

A Bag for Life

A Lick of Paint

A Little Miracle

Certain Couples

Edward's Tree

For the Moment

Joe's bicycle

Liquorice Allsorts

Missed Connections

Myrtle's Christmas Puddings

Now's the Day

One Man's Meat

Politically Correct

Pretty Damn Near A Love Story

Red like my shoes

Samson and Delilah

Shades of Grey

The Appraisal

The Imposters

The Photographer

The Snowflake Gloves

Third Time Unlucky

Too Sweet

Uncle George's Last Christmas

Walking these Blues

Watching

 

We had an incredibly high standard of entries for the final quarter of 2010; so much so that our primary readers have come back with over forty stories which they believe are worthy of going forward to the next stage of judging. Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the long-listed entries.

 

Good luck to all the authors concerned Ė hereís hoping your stories make the shortlist when it is compiled.

 

Long Listed Entries

 

A Bag for Life

A Brief Introduction to Degustation: The Gustatory Senses of a Lover

A Lick of Paint

A Little Miracle

A Strange Fish Swimming Inside of Me

Angora

Aquarium

Baking Day

Certain Couples

Edward's Tree

For the Moment

Forbidden Fruit

Fragility

It Could Never Happen Here

Joe's bicycle

Lies

Liquorice Allsorts

Lost Lifetimes

Mermaids Don't Do Email

Missed Connections

Myrtle's Christmas Puddings

Now's the Day

One Man's Meat

Pink Daisies and Bermuda Shorts

Politically Correct

Pretty Damn near a Love Story

Red like my shoes

Samson and Delilah

Shades of Grey

Short Cold Summer

Sinful Confession

The Appraisal

The Girl Missing from the Window

The Grave Digger of York

The Imposters

The Last Christmas Tree on Earth

The Photographer

The Rabbit

The Snowflake Gloves

Third Time Unlucky

Too Sweet

Train Times

Tuf Tracker

Unbuttoned

Uncle George's Last Christmas

Walking these Blues

Watchful and the Fiddler

Watching