Well, the deadline is over, folks! And many thanks to all of you who sent in an incredible 75 entries for the Book a Break Short Story competition! I had not the slightest idea how many there would be – it’s the first time and the prize is somewhat out of the ordinary, so there I was thinking, ‘Oh, I do hope we get half a dozen…’ Needless to say, I’m delighted, and truly grateful to everyone who’s put in the time and effort to write and submit their story.
Some people included the entire prompt in the story, others used it quite loosely. Both approaches are fine. One of my favourite writing tips come from Hemingway: ‘If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader […] will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.’ Applying this to your characters, it means that you’ll know all about their past, but it won’t appear in the book. Well, although I know most of my characters’ past in One Green Bottle, I realised I didn’t know what happened to the cats. Maybe not even Hemingway would have gone that far, but it struck me it could make a good story in itself. And now there are 75 possibilities to choose from…
The stories are all with Atthys now, the writers’ names replaced by numbers. On March 15th, the winner and two runners-up will be announced. I will of course be reading them all myself, but like you, I won’t know the result for another month. Patience…
Meanwhile, if you want a short story I wrote myself, you need only sign up for the Yours Curtisly newsletter by clicking below. The story in question is The Singular Point, originally published in Spilling Ink Review (now defunct). It features an elderly couple, a trip to Japan and a garden, but not a single cat. Other goodies in the newsletter, due March 21st, are the first instalment of Bausse: the Authorised Biography, in which the young Queen Elizabeth has a cameo role, and, by being the first to answer a simple question, a chance to win a free critique of your own short story or book chapter
Finally, in return for an Amazon review, Bill and Ben the Sandwich Men are still offering a free copy of One Green Bottle (pdf, mobi or epub) for one more week. They both inform me that this is an unmissable opportunity, proof of which can be found by reading some opinions here.
Click on the sandwich board!
Many thanks once again to all who submitted to the competition. In view of the response, I think there’s every chance this could become an annual event. May the muse be with you! Best wishes, Curtis.