Competitions

Prague Microfestival Poetry Competition

Attention all aspiring poets!

Have you heard about the PrAgUe MiCrOfEsTiVaL pOeTrY cOmPeTiTiOn?
It’s the only open poetry competition in Prague, so a great opportunity for all the creative writers in Prague. Extra bonus – there are great prizes up for grabs. Give it a shot!

Some more info:

Rules:
• Up to 2 poems per person
• Written in Czech or English
• All poems must be 16 lines or less
• We want new work. Poems must be unpublished.
• Submission deadline: 12 noon, Sunday 14 May 2017.

Prize:
• Read your poem on stage at the PMF finale (21 May)
• Literary translation of your work into Czech or English
• Publication in the PMF9 zine
Winners will be announced at PMF9 finale (21 May).
Poets must be planning to attend.
This prize aims to discover new talent, so please don’t enter if you are already well-published.
Email your poem entry to
pmf.pfp@gmail.com or message it to us on Facebook

More info is on the Facebook page of the actual event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1831301150527009/. Thanks for sharing and see you at the next meeting!

Advertisements
Competitions

Horror story competition results

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing: A memoir of the Craft.’ Instead of giving my adulatory, gushing review I’ll give you some of his words instead:

 “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:                                                                                            read a lot and write a lot.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Scribbles & Giggles encourages writers to do exactly this, read a lot and write a lot, and our competitions are one of many opportunities for writers to practise their skills. 

In our latest competition, Scribbles & Giggles writers were asked to write a 200 word Horror Story and the results are finally here!

Thank you to every writer who entered this competition and thank you to our judges for their valuable feedback. 

Note that the judges had no idea who the writers were. They were asked to give feedback on every story and the feedback was given to the writers privately. The judges were also asked to choose their top three entries and points were allocated as follows: First place – 3 points, Second place – 2 points, Third place – 1 point. 

Alas! There is only one winner…

                          …but before you find out who that winner is, enjoy reading all the entries below (and feel free to share your feedback in the comments section):

____________________________________________________________________________________________

— The Entries —

Entry 1: The Only News that Matters – Roderick Mitchell

If you’re reading this, I have some unfortunate news: you’re going to die.
Now, now, don’t be alarmed. Everyone dies; it’s a natural part of being alive. Depending on your worldview, the explanations for how life begins and what happens when it ends might differ from one to the next, but that’s irrelevant for the point at hand: your death.
You can try to delay it, people certainly try, but in the end, the only thing left to do is face the end, and pass into the great unknowable where faith is either your salvation or a salve to obscure oblivion.
“How soon?” you ask.
You don’t expect a reply, which is fine. No one ever expects a reply, but they get it all the same.
In the quiet hours of the night as you lie in bed before sleep fully consumes you, listen to the whispers you pretend aren’t there. You know the voice. It only ever has one thing to say:
“Soon.”

Entry 2: Fear- Jakub Dohnal

Fear.

It was all that Pauline could feel. Everything else seemed to be a bizarre dream. Even the gun tightly gripped in her hand. It had to be.

Wet, smooth asphalt turned into crunching gravel and blinding headlights were replaced with striking darkness. She tried to speak up, but the fear took over her voice.

Silence.

The car came to a stop at a tall metal gate, gnawed by rust. She has seen this place before. Thirty years ago. It’s where she had secretly buried her stillborn son. She stepped out into the mist and the fear guided her through the gate.

A battered tombstone with one lit candle emerged from the darkness. The faded inscription was still visible.

‘William’

The grave was open. Inside, a glimpse of a rose coloured blanket. She fell down on her knees and a whimper pierced the silence.

“Come to me, mom. I have been lonely.”

The gun in her hand cocked.
Entry 3: Lucifer – Anton Popov

I.
Dark be the eye which stares from deep below.
Into the night, the solemn one, it shines
And leads the way for angels – full of lies –
To where nine circles, like nine fires, glow.

Black be the wing which covers nighttime skies
And hides the stars of galaxies unknown;
Upon thy cloth, o Night, His breeds were born –
All of false pride and darkness, blind yet wise.

Old scars wide open, burn and prickle cruelly,
As frozen planets in the space watch out –
For a black dragon, crucified in moonlight,

Who raised his flame to light the path to doubt –
And praise the grace of discord and a sin;
Who dreams of love, forever lost to him.
II.

The dark is blind, and blindness is the key
To what lies hidden in his fallen reign.
The Morningstar glows still – and speaks his name
In a thousand tongues, unknown to Man.
His ashen throne is paved with golden flame
Of the hand-made suns that light the night,
Reaching for dimensions so up high –
A promise to return to whence he came.

Entry 4: The Creature – Anna Marie

It is past midnight and my work is complete, but unsatisfying. I rub my burning eyes, then open them… and see three men:
One is sea-foam white, water drips from his wavy hair.
One leans on my desk, fresh blood on his handkerchief.
One wears an olive garland and a white toga is stuck onto his feverish body.
I am amazed – they are the ghosts of Shelley, Keats and Byron! Suddenly, they exclaim:
‘Thy Creature holds thee in thrall!’
Loud footsteps. I turn around: a horrendous monster – flaming red eyes, decaying yellow skin, Satan’s wings. It howls:
‘I am thy Creature.’ I flee into the darkness; the Romantics and Daemon all pursue me. I stumble and fall. The poets cackle and the monster growls: ‘I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel.’ It sinks its pointed teeth into my throat. The men just watch…
I awake, shaking and sweating. Birds chipper outside; it’s daybreak. I instantly begin improving my Creature.

In my next dream, there is no monster, but a beautiful muse and rosy poets. She tells me:
‘We will stand by your side at the thesis defence.’ And they smile.

Entry 5: Picturesque – Andrew Jan Buring

I can’t quite remember when the itch started. Sometime in the last decade, I think. Or maybe even earlier. There was darkness. I lost myself in it. And before that…a party? There was a flash, I remember that. And a baby crying. I can still hear it, but it’s wrong. Like it’s coming from a million miles away. Wait…it’s getting closer. It’s louder now. Around me. No, below me. I’m holding a baby. How long have I been standing here? It’s all coming back to me. The pain! My feet! I just want to sit down. How long have I been standing here?! My arms scream, as I’m holding the baby. I want to shout but I can’t. My face is frozen in an awkward grin. I want to go back to the darkness. There I could forget…here, here I remember. On top of this mantelpiece I stand, babe in hand. I look out and see a slab of glass. I look past it, and see a world that’s been moving away from me. The pain and the crying are building. I feel my brain jolting. There’s a flash and I’m back in the darkness.

Entry 6: Thirsty Youth – Adam Hughes-Buchanan

The local hump dump where hook ups go to drunkenly fumble in the dark; Alex and Katy lurch between the trees behind the Rusty Spoon nightclub. Gnarled branches claw at Katy’s hair. Roots seem to flex around Alex’s swift ankles in the pale moonlight. At the waterside he pushes her up against a trunk leaning over the rippling surface.
“Careful. We could fall in.”
“I got you.” He pulls her closer, starting to tug at her miniskirt.
Katy pulls away from his ardour. “You know I hear they never find the bodies.” Nodding pointedly to the murk below and biting her lip.
Alex laughs. “I said I got you.” He cries out. “Something bit me.” He shivers, gasping in pain, unable to move. Katy backs away. His face bloats brown. His hands reach out to clutch her shirt. She tears away. His bulging eyes are the last she sees of him as she careens between the chestnut trunks. Her ankle snaps. She falls to the ground and roots wrap around her screaming, writhing body. Soon her shrieks subside. Only a wooden husk remains. A crimson liquid floods the hungry veins of the nearest oaks, yet the forest thirsts for more.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

— The Judges —

Before I reveal the results I’d like to introduce you to our judges:

From left to right, top to bottom we have Bonay, Devon, Jamie, Maie and Brendon.

Bonay Van Der Schyff is a Test taster for dog food , moonlighting as a teacher of English to fund her cloth nappy addiction.  Her greatest fear is that ‘Donald Trump will become Leader of the Free World – oh wait!’ Her hobby is pretending she has read really intellectual books like War and Peace but then reading Young Adult Fiction instead.

First –  Entry 3: Lucifer, Second – Entry 4: The Creature, Third – Entry 2: Fear

Devon Maloy is a Business Applications Analyst hailing from Texas. His interests include weird metal music, warhammer, comics and writing. Devon can’t think of the time he was most scared – he screams often.

First – Entry 2: Fear, Second – Entry 6: Thirsty Youth, Third – Entry 4: The Creature

Jamie Morgon: Community Projects and Collaboration Manager. Obsessed with Nintendo and secretly feels Princess Zelda is the only woman he will ever truly love. The scariest thing that ever happened to him was getting sleep paralysis at age 5.

First – Entry 6 Thirsty Youth, Second –  Entry 2: Fear, Third – Entry 4 The Creature

Maie Crumpton is a content and digital marketing consultant in Prague. She is a big fan of hitting and kicking things in a variety of different styles including (but not limited to) Krav Maga and Muay Thai. She also enjoys ceramics and embroidery – balance y’know. Maie is terrified at the thought of coming home at night and finding the house door has been jimmied.

First – Entry 2: Fear, Second – Entry 6: Thirsty Youth, Third – Entry 5: Picturesque

Brendon Robinson is an English teacher in the United Arab Emirates. He likes ancient blues music and when asked what he fears he said ‘being blind to the beauty of life…and rats, heights and crowded shopping malls.’

First – Entries 3 Lucifer and 4 The Creature, Second -, Third – Entry 1.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

— The Scores —

horror-story-results-sheet1-1-page-001.jpg

Entry 1: The Only News that Matters – Roderick Mitchell

Entry 2: Fear – Jakub Dohnal

Entry 3: Lucifer – Anton Popov

Entry 4: The Creature – Anna Marie

Entry 5: Picturesque – Andrew Jan Buring

Entry 6: Thirsty Youth – Adam Hughes-buchanan

____________________________________________________________________________________________

— The Winner —

And the winner of the 200 word Horror Story competition is Jakub Dohnal!!

Congratulations Jakub, your creativity never ceases to impress us. Your prize will be delivered to you soon.

Competitions · Short Stories

Czech Tweet Competition: Tweets and Results

Brief: Share a “Czech experience” in tweet form (I.e. 140 characters).

_________________________________________________________________

Tweet 1 by Jakub Kovar

Fell on my ass. Got up and fell again. Worst of all – crowd of stupid teenagers laughed at me. #IHateSnow #IHateCobblestones #IHateThisCity

Tweet 2 by Roderick Mitchell Jr. 

Shoutout from #Jesenik! #amateurmushroomhunting #delicious

UPDATE: Should have brought a guide #tripping-balls #meltingsky #ohgodwhy

Tweet 3 by Carlos Alderete

The entire Moravian population amounts to nothing more than half a million inbred savages bristling for complexity & distinction. #czechness

Tweet 4 by Maria Karamanoglou

I don’t need glory.I’m happy doing my job.I’m an everyday person, a driver,I’ll placidly shut the door at your face when you enter the tram.

Tweet 5 by Polly Story-Lebl

Cobbles, Pokemon, and iphones equal scraped knees and twisted ankles #GottaCatchEmAll

Tweet 6 by Allie Ferguson

Hey @Zeman are you going to #MakePragueGreatAgain?

_________________________________________________________________

Judges: Seven judges were asked to choose their top three and points were given accordingly (1st – 3 points, 2nd – 2 points, 3rd – 1 point). The contestants will also receive feedback from all of the judges.

Results: Congratulations to RODERICK MITCHELL JR. !!!! 

 

results

 

 

Competitions · Meetings · Writing resources

NaNoWriMo – The ultimate creative writing challenge

nanowrimo2015-design-by-eric-nyffeler

Fancy yourself a writer? Dreamed of writing that book…one day…well why wait!

It’s time for the ultimate creative writing challenge during National Novel Writing Month.

Are you ready for this?!

On 1 November people from all around the world will start with the goal of writing a 50000 word novel by midnight on 30 November.

That’s right! You get to be part of an international movement to get writers all around the world to do what they do best… write! Sounds like a lot of pressure but get this…you aren’t competing with anyone but yourself. You can make use of support groups and motivational resources as much as you want  and you don’t even have to show anyone your work. All you have to do is write!

Keen?! Well sign up on the Nanowrimo website by clicking here. What’s more…it’s FREE!

I will also be starting a Scribbles & Giggles NaNoWriMo support group where we can:

  • Share our ideas and get feedback
  • Organize fun writing sessions and explore the cafes of Prague
  • Share resources
  • Give and gain support

Anyone interested? Please sign up to the Scribbles & Giggles NaNoWriMo group in our Facebook group.

 

 

 

 

 

Competitions · Writing resources

April 24: NaNoWriMo 5K in 1 week challenge

nanowrimo2015-design-by-eric-nyffeler

NaNoWriMo is most famous for giving writers a reason to write a novel in one month every November. But wait! There’s more…

This community also provides great writing resources, a interactive writing community and organises writing camps all through the magical world of the interwebs. If you aren’t a member already…join now! No really…right now… click here.

Their next April camp competition (The #5K1Week Challenge!) starts tomorrow!

The challenge is to write 5000 in one week. Challenge accepted?

 

Competitions

100 word sad story competition results

 

I am happy to announce the winners of our first competition!

Our writers were asked to create a story that would make you cry in only 100 words. Seven stories were submitted anonymously to ten judges. The judges were asked to give feedback for each story and choose their top three.

The story in first place was given 3 points, in second place 2 points and in third place 1 point. The points were then added up and the winning story is the one with the most points.

When the stories were given to the judges they were labeled as “Story 1, Story 2 etc.” Below you will find the seven stories, as originally labeled but with the writers names included:

Story 1 – Untitled: Written by Michal Haba 
While he was walking in darkness, his mind wandered through all that happened in his life. It was always
the same, always like this.
No difference. Loneliness surrounded him. There was nothing. There was no one. Ever. Not knowing how
being ‘with’ felt he didn’t miss it not searched for it. He wouldn’t be able to define it. All he was well aware
was ‘without’.
Empty life. Empty journey. Empty existence. Just walking through the path of life. Not really living, just
waiting for the finish. No one would see the difference, he won’t see the difference.
Eternal darkness came…
_________________________________________________________________
Story 2 – Untitled: Written by Maria Karamanoglou
Loneliness.
Desolation.
The air is sharp and dry.
Suffocating. Your absence takes away my air and leaves me breathless and aching.
I want to close my eyes and imagine you lying down next to me, but it will not be like that. You are not here,
you will never be here again, and it makes me bleed inside. Will there ever be a goodbye my love?
So I’m standing here, a little prince betrayed by his flower and the fox at the same time, without a planet,
without migrating birds, with no place to go and no will to depart.
_________________________________________________________________
Story 3 – Untitled: Written by Essi Kemppainen
It hurts to think would it have worked if I had given more of myself to you, if I hadn’t been holding back my
love and asked for guarantees. If I hadn’t been watching you constantly for your mistakes and made
descriptions of you by your actions. If I hadn’t been so cold and distant and if I hadn’t tried so hard not to
love you when it was the only thing I wanted to do. If I hadn’t pushed you away to tear myself apart. I wish I
could once more look into your eyes and see that you are fine and my longing is alone and that is why it
should move on. I wish I could once more ask how are you, to show that I still care, without you being able
to say a word back, because hearing your voice would effect me like wind, blowing all the pieces of myself
away, the pieces that I just managed to get together.
_________________________________________________________________
Story 4 – Untitled: Written by Jakub Dohnal
Finally, sun! Perfect day for my favourite breakfast and morning exercise. No mud and rain all over me this
time! Mom decided to run along with me today, haha look how hard she struggles to keep up. Why would
she even try to…hmm I guess that smoked salmon wasn’t the best idea, my stomach feels funny again. But
no worries, we get those pills to make me feel better. I guess we’re picking them up now, right?
Mommy, where are you going?
This needle in my fur hurts…mommy? I need a cuddle…
_________________________________________________________________
Story 5 – The Denial of Death: Written by Carlos Alderete
Waves of shuddering black cascaded down the permanence of her youth and she cradled her anguish as I
unraveled us into separation. Goodbye. Tears swelled the ocean of her rolling grief and I drifted with my
affections as rising sails, away, away, until she was drowned.
I don’t miss her. Not anymore. I’m here, however, perceiving the sudden suspension of her dynamo. All that had fashioned her composition, rendered absurd. She is without meaning. She always was. I am the same. You are too. I see it now, through trembling fingers and oceans made terrible by the absence of denial.
_________________________________________________________________
Story 6 – Untitled: Written by Debbie Liebenberg
A hope.
A dream.
A wish.
A seed.
A baby.
A daughter.
A blessing.
A celebration.
A gifted child.
A joy.
A sister.
A prodigy.
A pupil.
A hard-worker.
A winner.
A model.
A student.
A scholar.
A humanitarian.
A doctor.
A saviour.
A woman.
A fiancé.
A bride.
A wife.
A civilian.
A victim.
A runaway.
A fighter.
A passenger.
A swimmer.
A refugee.
An immigrant.
A number.
A foreigner.
A colour.
A parasite.
A problem.
A muslim.
A target.
A victim.
A widow.
A casualty.
A bitch.
A whore.
A waste.
Alone.
A terrorist. A freedom fighter.
_________________________________________________________________
Story 7 The End: Written by Damien Smethurst
The walk down the final corridor is the longest of my life, despite being only thirty yards. I stand at the door and take a few deep breaths, mentally preparing myself for what’s waiting on the other side. I feel a hand on my arm and look at my tearful wife, and pull her into a brief hug. We walk into the room together, holding hands, neither of us ready for this moment, but there’s no choice. I take a final breath, and then I speak…
“It is with great sadness that I concede the Presidential race to Donald Trump”

_________________________________________________________________

Thanks to all the writers who entered the competition. I hope you had fun with your stories. The full feedback from the judges will be sent to each of you by email as this blog post is long enough already. If you would like to chat to one of your judges, feel free to use the comment section in this blog post to do so.

Before I reveal the results I’d like to introduce you to our judges:

From left to right, top to bottom we have Annriette, Hannah, Hayley, Jennifer, Juanel, Lilian, Martha, Pete, Teresa and Laura.

In the following paragraphs I’ll tell you a little more about each judge, show you the stories they chose as their top three and share some of their feedback.

Annriette

Annriette is a tough cookie from down in the African lands of baobab trees and beautiful sunsets. She actually spent two hours with her colleagues stuck between a cliff and a herd of elephants. Annriette was also a hipster before it was mainstream. Yeah she knits, she knew the Kings of Leon before you knew sex could be on fire and yeah she has a Boston terrier named Winston. Can you handle? All of this awesomness aside, I asked Anna to be one of our judges because of her ability to quote quirky lines from books, movies and songs in her sleep. While she is a GIS Technician & CAD draftsman by day, Anna reads at least two books a week and is tapped into all that is amazeballs right now.

Some feedback:

Story 7

This story is very well written, it has all the elements of the first part of a hero’s journey, with the unexpected twist of a drama or horror story in the end. Although I don’t think everyone would agree that this is necessarily a sad story (Trump supporters will call it a story about victory) I really enjoyed it.

Top three:

  1. Story 6
  2. Story 7
  3. Story 4

Hannah

I once asked Hannah what she would like to every day for the rest of her life and she said “Write!” While she likes to keep a great blog going, she has also written several stories and I’m proud to announce that her first officially published book, The Danger in Bohemia,’ has recently been released. Hannah was born in New Jersey but she currently lives in London where she is going to grad school for her MSc in Library Science. Other than her passion for books, she is also passionate about politics although she admits that this year has given her quite a stomach ache in this regard. As a writer of stories and a lover of stories, Hannah makes the perfect judge for our stories.

Some feedback:

Story 6

I wasn’t sure what to think of this story. However I was quickly pulled in by the simple, clear narrative you evoked using only these words. It is difficult to do a ‘story’ like this without sounding cliché. You managed it well. Took the end to a darker turn than I was expecting (and made me think. I had anticipated the woman would die. And yet your ‘birth of a terrorist’ was of course inevitable). Excellent work.

Top three:

  1. Story 6
  2. Story 4
  3. Story 7

Hayley

While Hayley dreams of running a shelter for rescued cats she isn’t your typical cat lady. Firstly, she is a gorgeous young blonde bombshell as opposed to a floral musky madam, secondly, she is actually quite social (with people) and thirdly, having a cat named Chairman Miaow doesn’t exactly equate its owner with a meek and timid shell of a person that the term ‘cat lady’ could suggest. This wine-tasting, puzzle building, story writing, mountain climbing cat lady solves crimes and saves lives through words on a daily basis. Some call it a job but it Hayley’s case, it is a calling to make the world a better place. I asked Hayley to be a judge because of her vast experience and love of stories. While some kids used thick books to build forts, others actually read them. Hayley fell into the latter category.

Some feedback:

Story 2

This story has a good sense of atmosphere created by both the structure and the language – well done. The use of the Little Prince reference is lovely and draws on the emotions. Betrayal works well with the theme and the imagery conveys this nicely, i.e. ‘the air is sharp and dry’ and ‘makes me bleed inside’. At times this feels more like a diary entry than a story. It sounds old-fashioned, but ideally a story should have a beginning, middle and end – even a 100-word story. You want to take the reader on the character’s journey. I would suggest trying to work this into more of a narrative.

Top three:

  1. Story 4
  2. Story 6
  3. Story 2

Jennifer 

Jennifer likes wood. While it might be easy to make a wood joke here (its also hard..haha..ok I’ll stop) I am being dead serious. Jennifer is passionate about timber which is quite odd given that her educational background is in English and Gender Studies. She started her own company, Häss&DAS Brand Factory, which offers custom PR & marketing services to the timber industry. When Jennifer is not spreading the word about the joys and value of timber she enjoys running, gardening, cooking, writing and reading. Jennifer wrote and published a children’s book to support rescued Dachshunds in 2014 and several of her poems have been published in local poetry books. I asked Jennifer to be one of our judges because I knew her experience and can-do-go-getting-attitude wood (hehe) provide valuable feedback for our writers.

Some feedback:

Story 3

You have taken a universal story – one that everyone can identify with (of lost love and regret) – and made it your own. Your use of a single paragraph may suggest that these are internal thoughts or free association, making it all the more personal. Your story ends at great place for poignant effect – we don’t know if he/she will be in contact with the lover, but we do know that he/she is recovering, which emphasises movement or sense of progression in your story – it implies that the story may not end here and gives your reader something to think about beyond the words of your story.

Well done!

Top three:

  1. Story 6
  2. Story 5
  3. Story 3

Juanel

Juanel grew up on a farm among Africa’s wildest animals, then she moved to a city to study English literature and philosophy, then she studied graphic design, then she became a photographer/art director and worked with her partner all over the world (on things you have probably seen, check out their work here) and now she is a jewelry/sculpture student in Australia. I shit you not. I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. It’s clear to see that this crazy kitty is has a great thirst for knowledge and creative expression hence I thought she would be the perfect judge for a creative writing competition. When Juanel isn’t busy trying to make the world more beautiful through art, she likes to challenge gender and racial stereotypes as an activist or simply get lost in a book.

Some feedback:

Story 5:

Beautiful use of descriptive language and metaphors. The metaphors feel a little dense at times, making it a little hard to follow the narrative, and dilutes the effect of the creative writing. Perhaps a solution would be to add some direct feelings, not abstract, in between.

Top three:

  1. Story 6
  2. Story 2
  3. Story 5

Lilian

Lilian is a bundle of joy, a bunch of fun and a can of whoop-ass all rolled into one (to say the least). While she is a Copywriter and Social Media Manager during working hours she is also an Ordained Dudeist Priest and a kick-ass champion roller derby player that goes by the name of ‘Leboutski.’ Lilian’s passions vary from day to day but right now she is obsessed with constructions of gender, a preoccupation with smashing the patriarchy, the entire discography of Bruce Springsteen and golden retrievers. She reads about a book a week and dabbles in her own writing from time to time but she feels that her word skills could best be put to use as a WWE commentator. Lilian isn’t afraid to tell it like it is which makes her a great judge in our competition.

Some feedback:

Story 4

This straight-up destroyed me. I had to go have a cigarette, and a little cry, and go and hug my teddy bear for a while (yes, I’m 30…don’t judge me). Heart-breaking. Love the tone; the switch between optimism and excitement, and the slow realisation as a reader of what’s happening – I love that it’s not fully clear until that last gut-wrenching sentence. Very well crafted. But I never want to read it again because I’ll cry for days.

Top three:

  1. Story 4
  2. Story 7
  3. Story 2

Martha

By day, Martha is a respectable TEFL Director, showing native English speakers what is right and wrong about their language and how to teach it. But by night… Mystical Martha transforms into a bass playing magic musician (she totes has a band, check it out here), or a MarioKart Wii mega star (no seriously, she has won trophies) or an Evil-Knievel-like-knitter…you won’t believe the stunts she can pull with two sticks and a ball of yarn…she’ll knit the socks off you! I asked Martha to judge our stories because she is just as passionate about language as she is about knitted cup cuddlers and baby booties.

Some feedback:

Story 1

This is a tragic tale.  We feel sorry for the protagonist even if he doesn’t have the awareness to feel sorry for himself.  That is the tragedy; he lives his life, doesn’t make much of it, doesn’t come to any enlightenment, and then he’s just engulfed by darkness.  However, the ellipsis at the end may offer hope to this tragic story.  Perhaps it’s not the end.  I think a strength of the story is the feeling of loneliness the author achieves.

Top three:

  1. Story 4
  2. Story 2
  3. Story 6

Pete

The fact that Pete has been referred to as a 100-year-old vampire is not without reason. This ‘man’ has lived so many lifetimes that his wisdom, skill set and age just don’t seem to makes sense to us muggles. In between fishing, writing, working with leather, hiking and making knives (yes, I said making), Pete was once a Publisher, is now a Newsroom Coordinator and he managed to win his current wife’s affection through citing and discussing Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I asked Pete to be one of our judges because, not only is he more than qualified to do so but, I know he will cut the crap and deliver those honest, hard blows that we all need from time to time.

Some feedback:

Story 3

The most emotive piece for me so far. The first person POV makes you see things from their eyes – it’s like reading a letter. Perhaps a single concrete example of how he fucked things up would have made this a little more real. It still deals with abstractions – he’s naming the emotions, not showing them. I really liked “blowing all the pieces of myself away, the pieces that I just managed to get together”. Trent Reznor might have written something like that in his early days.

Top three:

  1. Story 6
  2. Story 3
  3. Story 2

Teresa

Teresa is proof that dynamite comes in small packages. While she is sweet and petite her energy explodes into extraordinary manifestations. From making cards to knitting clothes, creating gifts or stories that are told…Teresa is booming with creativity. Teresa wrote her first story when she was seven about a boy who built a tree house in his backyard. Her dad “published” it by typing and printing it for her at work. Teresa has known from a young age what its like to pour your heart and soul onto an empty page and she still creates and appreciates literature of all sorts (as well as other things.) She is currently helping other people realise the beauty of words as an English teacher in South Korea.

Some feedback:

Story 1

Nice contrast here. From a few short sentences to a longer one. Following the comparison of ‘with’, ‘without’ becomes more weighty and the reader feels the significance of the description.

Top three:

1) Story 2
2) Story 6
3) Story 3

Laura

Laura’s language skills have taken her all over the world. She has taught in South Africa, South Korea, China and she is currently a teacher at an International school in Mauritius- and these are just the places that her career took her to! This traveller has gone skiing in Canada, been part of a UN debate in the United States and been served live octopus (a delicacy which she couldn’t turn down politely) in South Korea. She has seen, she has experienced and she has some interesting and unbelievable stories of her own. Her passion for words and new experiences made her the perfect choice for one of our judges.

Some feedback:

Story 1

Not a very original choice of topic but excellent writing makes up for this. Good characterisation and good use of varied sentence structure which contributes well to
the story. Overall, good language skills but some slight errors with tense variation.

Top three:

  1. Story 1
  2. Story 6
  3. Story 4

*cue drumroll* And the final scores are…

…WAIT! Not so fast. Story 3 and Story 6 were disqualified (for reasons I will explain later). While they did receive points and feedback from our judges they will not be included in the final rankings for the following reasons:

Story 3 had too many words. This story was 165 words long and the brief specifically stated the story should be 100 words. 100 words is a difficult amount to work with, this was the challenge of the competition and all other contestants managed to keep within this range.

Story 6 was withdrawn because, as the organiser of this competition and the writer of this story my main goal was to write and get feedback, not to win the prize I organised.

So finally, without further ado, here are final scores:

results

 

 

The winner of the 100 word sad story is… *cue drumroll*…Jakub Dohnal!!! *and the crowd goes wild*

Jakub thank you for breaking our hearts and making us appreciate our pets more than ever before. Jakub will win a set of three Moleskine notebooks to capture his story ideas.

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. Every one of you will receive a small prize just because you entered this competition. Hope to see you all in a Scribbles and Giggles writing session soon!

Competitions

Due 31 March: 100 word sad story

Try to break our hearts in under 100 words.”

It’s time to turn on the water works and write a real tear-jerker. It can be fact or fiction, written from the perspective of anyone or thing you choose. Your goal is to make the reader cry…or at least feel very, very sad.

Submit your story to scribblesprague@gmail.com

Deadline: Midnight 31 March 2016

Stories will be reviewed by at least 5 individuals who are not competing. Each judge will be asked to pick their favourite and give some feedback.

The person with the most votes will win a small prize (on top of the great prize of glorious confidence in their work, having another complete piece of writing to show off and praise…lots of praise!)