Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Third Quarter 2019

First: Blood Flows Slower than Water by Jo Gatford

Second: On by Jacqueline Winn

Third: Drink to Me Only by Anne Howkins

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

Highly Commended: Just One by Sherri Turner

 

Judge’s Report for the third quarter’s competition 2019 from Diane Simmons

 

The four placed stories all had one thing in common: a strong ending. Many of the flashes on the shortlist started well, had a good middle section, but then went on to have a weak ending. With so few words, every part of a flash needs to earn its keep and to have an ending that is foreshadowed in some way. 

I enjoyed the variety of topics on the shortlist and it was interesting to see the number of writers who used experimental structures to tell the story.  I read each flash several times before initially picking my own shortlist of eight. I then re-read those over the next week: on trains, as a car passenger; in a café in the crypt of a church, in hotel rooms and finally at my desk at home, before coming up with my favourite four. Picking four wasn’t easy, with the highly original These are the Things just missing out on a place.

 

1st: Blood Flows Slower than Water

A beautifully written story with wonderful imagery and language, Blood Flows Slower than Water, was the only story in my placings list that never moved position – it was number one from the off. I particularly enjoyed ‘Blood clings, congealing into lumps and clots and glutinous strings, stretching like boiled rhubarb’ and ‘breathless as an ice bath’. From the first line, I engaged with the story and was unable to stop reading. As soon as I’d finished it, I went back and read it again. Each subsequent reading enhanced my appreciation and enjoyment. 

 

2nd: On

On is a good example of why writers should often ignore advice about what type of flash to submit to competitions. Stories about dementia are common and it’s difficult to find something new to say on the subject. But this flash is told in an original way, with the repetition and structure being effective tools in showing Daisy’s confusion.  A believable, affecting story, I was particularly moved by the line:  ‘She could be wrong but she thinks it might have been a while since she managed anything this tricky.’

 

3rd: Drink to Me Only

The structure of Drink to Me Only is handled with confidence and I felt from the very beginning of the story that I was in safe hands.  I particularly enjoyed some of the descriptions in this, such as ‘birthday party tipsy’, ‘licking fig juice from salty bodies’ and ‘cork-popping rage’. The line:  ‘How many fucking sloes are necessary?’ is perfectly placed and the defiant ending made me smile.

 

Highly Commended: Just One

In less skilled hands, telling a story where all but three of the sentences begin with the word ‘One’, could have become tedious. But the skill of the writer is obvious here and the structure works well.  At just 200 words, it is also a good example of a story being the exact length it needs to be.  

 

We regularly receive several hundred entries each quarter, so those making the long and short lists should feel very proud.

 

Short Listed Entries for the Third Quarter 2019 — in alphabetical order

 

A Relative Syn by Neil Kemp

After L by Julia Paillier

Bleed Blue by Jamie D Stacey

Blood Flows Slower Than Water by Jo Gatford

Changing the Clocks by Rowena Fishwick

Crushed by Chez Cotton

Drink to Me Only by Anne Howkins

Exposed by Nicci Lou

Full Moon Rise by Caroline Butterwick

Just One by Sherri Turner

Kiss the curb by Jamie D Stacey

Love Eternal by Rosamund Davies

Making Man by Jamie D Stacey

Maternal Love by Thomas Malloch

Moving On by Jane Broughton

Musical Breaks by Jeff Taylor

On by Jacqueline Winn

Skullduggery by Jackie Naffah

The Exodus of the Majestic by Taria Karillion

The Extraordinary Coda of Rosemary Finn by Taria Karillion

The Ides of March Street by Jane Wade

The Lagoon by Alan Kennedy

The Parts of the Flower by Jo Withers

These are the Things by Angela Readman

This Time Last Year by Sherri Turner

 

Long Listed Entries for the Third Quarter 2019 — in alphabetical order

 

A Night at the Circus by Claire Powell

A Relative Syn by Neil Kemp

After L by Julia Paillier

All the Girls that Scorned Him by Matt Kendrick

Bleed Blue by Jamie D Stacey

Blood Flows Slower Than Water by Jo Gatford

Changing the Clocks by Rowena Fishwick

Crushed by Chez Cotton

Drink to Me Only by Anne Howkins

Edelweiss by Linda Sage

Exposed by Nicci Lou

Full Moon Rise by Caroline Butterwick

half-life by Jamie D Stacey

Heat by Taria Karillion

Introspection by Sharon Boyle

Just One by Sherri Turner

Kiss the curb by Jamie D Stacey

Love Eternal by Rosamund Davies

Making Antiques by Ned Carter Miles

Making Man by Jamie D Stacey

Maternal Love by Thomas Malloch

Motherhood by Fiona Richardson

Moving On by Jane Broughton

Multiple Choice Paper by Hilary Taylor

Musical Breaks by Jeff Taylor

On by Jacqueline Winn

Pretty by Amanda Huggins

Punchbag by Kathryn Barton

Skullduggery by Jackie Naffah

Survival Skills by Jac Cattaneo

Sweet Smell of Rose by James Mahoney

Ten Again by Taria Karillion

The Exodus of the Majestic by Taria Karillion

The Extraordinary Coda of Rosemary Finn by Taria Karillion

The Ides of March Street by Jane Wade

The Kindness of Kin by Sharon Boyle

The Lagoon by Alan Kennedy

The Muse by Patricia Davis

The Parts of the Flower by Jo Withers

The Rise and Demise of Captain Club Milk by Conor Montague

These are the Things by Angela Readman

This is Where She Died by Dreena Collins

This Time Last Year by Sherri Turner

To Fly by Paul Bowers

Unscrewed by Karen Jones

Zigzag by Jennifer Gray