Sunday, 22 July 2012

Judge's comments

Well, I was going to email everyone separately and then thought: nah, put them on the blog...

So this is what Ginny had to say:

'This is SO difficult. They all had something good! I loved The Skywalker, Rules of Engagement, The 380X, The Mermaid Tapestry...I also very much like The White Sand Cocoon.

System Restore - This was a clever piece of writing, using Mandy's computer problems to reflect her own life problems. I liked the way Dermot dealt with her anxieties and helped her work things out for herself. A great touch to have him actually not exist. Or did he? The ending leaves room for doubt, which is nice.

Rules of Engagement - Loved this! A terrific sci-fi peppered with all the right Trekkie fanatic's phrases. It had such a down-to-earth feeling, with Lauren doing the Sudoku while all around her the web-footed Timekeeper of the Third Quadrant was grumpily vaporizing the hostile alien life forms in the church hall. This writer has definitely been to a few conventions! And Lauren waiting patiently for the obsessed Keith to arrive home... Great ending.

Centre Parting - A brief but well-written reflection on the situation of a newly divorced woman. Some excellent phrases here, eg 'combing the detangler through ther knotty strands of our marriage'. This writer has a lot more good writing ahead of her.

The 380X - Great fun! A neat, sharp piece of writing. Josh needed taking down a peg and after all the years of one-upmanship The Dude just had to do it. Sad that his new 380X isn't much fun without Josh around to admire it though. This might go down well with The Weekly News - why not try it? Also keep a look out for flash fiction comps on-line which often ask for 500 words - this could be edited down to fit.

White Sand Cocoon - I hate the cliché of 'a sensitive piece of writing' but this really is. We empathize with Louise all the way through as she slowly realises that perhaps Jacob's suffocating care for her future and his fear of the unknown and refusals to take risks isn't right for her, after all. I'd like to have read some definite ending thought, after she asks him when he is going to stop chasing the project to end all projects.

Reflections - Really good piece of writing with a confident grasp of what goes through a man's mind in the last seconds...sad too. I had to read this one twice, once I'd realised he was hurtling towards earth and oblivion instead of perhaps skiing or being on a speed boat.

The Skywalker - Excellent piece. The writer really got inside the guy's head and we feel the poetry in his motion. He is just the right sort of character to BE a skywalker. Lots of good phrases here. The tension is kept all the way through and I liked his philosophical take on his chances of continued success.

Skiing Down Everest - Great humour in this one. It has a cheerful, upbeat woman's magazine feel to it and I can picture this in People's Friend!

Never Too Late - Loved the feel of this one as it switched from Aiden's point of view to Lizzie's (although you're 'not supposed' to do this in a short story, it worked well). Liked the way the writer hinted that he had married his wife knowing she only had a short time to live. I found the fact that Lizzie, an appealing character, actually collected wedding dresses a bit hard to believe. And although it was a nice, romantic touch that they were definitely going to get together at some point after the story ended, I had a picture of Lizzie wearing that wedding dress and it just didn't feel right.

The Mermaid Tapestry - An unusual story with beautiful imagery and a lot of poetry in the wiriting. Loved the idea of her tapestry coming alive, and talking to her friend via her letter was a good device. This story stayed in my mind long after I finished reading it.'

So, those were Ginny's comments. Hope they're helpful.

I'm hoping to run the competition again next year if anyone's up for it again. In the meantime, the two winning stories will be going up on the Knock On Effect blog in the near future.

Thanks, all. Kath

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Drum roll...

Yay! Results are in!

The winner of the first Three Bags Full/Knock On Effect short story competition is:

Andrew Campbell-Kearsey, with Rules of Engagement.

And in second place is:

Christine Genovese, with The Skywalker.

Well done to Andrew and Christine - these two, brilliant stories will appear in due course on the Knock On Effect blog. And many thanks and well done to everyone who entered. Every entry has helped support a great cause and I really appreciate the effort that everyone's put in, both by entering and by helping to promote the competition.

Many thanks also to Ginny Swart, our judge, who was very impressed by the standard of all the short-listed stories and has written brief comments on each one, which I'll email to you when time allows.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The shortlist is ready!

These stories are now winging their way to distinguished South African author and creative writing tutor, Ginny Swart, for her choice of winner and runner-up:

Never too late
System restore
Rules of engagement
The skywalker
The 380X
The mermaid tapestry
White sand cocoon
Centre parting
Ski-ing down Everest

Many thanks to The Knock On Effect for choosing the shortlist and well done to everyone whose story is featured in the list above - you should be proud. Commiserations to those of you who just missed out.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Yay, the long-list! Many, many thanks to everyone for entering. We had some wonderful stories sent in - far too many to cram all the great ones onto the long-list, so please don't be disheartened if yours didn't make it. Just try again next year...

The following entries have been sent to the Knock On Effect team for them to choose a shortlist of their ten favourites. Well done! Only titles here, I'm afraid, as the next two rounds of judging will be completely anonymous.

Long-list, in no particular order:
Centre parting
Rules of engagement
Atishoo, atishoo...
The great outdoors
The mermaid tapestry
The skywalker
Ski-ing down Everest
White sand cocoon
The 380X
Strands of candyfloss
Rock-a-bye baby
Expecting the worst
A sort of hobby
The knock on effect (by PH)
Never too late
Something blue
System restore
A postcard of Yorkshire
A crooked little smile

Friday, 15 June 2012

By Tuesday I'll have the longlist up - promise! I've been reading steadily for the last few days and will have more time over the weekend, so I'm confident I can manage that. After the longlist goes up, the twenty stories on it will be sent to the Knock On Effect team for them to choose their shortlisted top ten. The shortlist will then be sent to award-winning South African writer Ginny Swart for final judging. Enjoying all your lovely stories - thanks so much to everyone for entering.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Closing date change!!

The closing date for the Three Bags Full/Knock On Effect short story competition is now 5th June 2012 - an extension of two to three weeks. This will allow visitors to the Piece Hall Craft Market over the Jubilee weekend a chance to drop off their stories in person. It also allows you a bit more time if your stories, like mine, spend a long time in the incubation stage. All other details remain the same and the long list will still be published online by mid-June. Happy writing!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Three Bags Full/Knock On Effect short story competition

(Copied from 9th March Three Bags Full wool shop blog...)

I can't deny we're a family of faffers but, despite lots of things still being in a state of flux, I feel I've been faffing enough over this competition (wait till we've got Paypal...wait till the shop's moved...wait for the sun to turn purple...there's always something, right?)

So, read on for all the official info you need. I'm hoping it's complete and clear but if you notice a vital piece missing, please let me know.

Three Bags Full is our wool shop in Halifax, Yorkshire; The Knock On Effect is a fundraising project based in Ledbury, Gloucestershire. The link between them is Rosie Kilburn who was 1) our niece and 2) founder of The Knock On Effect. Rose's aim was to get people talking about cancer and to raise money to help cancer charities. Sadly, she died of her own rare liver cancer in Sept 2011, but TKOE is this year aiming to raise £20,000 in honour of what would've been her 20th birthday. This competition is our attempt to help towards that total. You can see what great charities have already benefitted from TKOE work on the webpage:

Competition rules
Required wordcount is between 50 (yes, fifty) words and 1000 words.

There is no theme, but your story must include the phrase 'knock on effect' at some point. Please don't send salacious stories or stories aimed at children.

General info
Closing date for entries is 14th May 2012.

The competition is open to writers sending stories in English and able to pay in sterling.

Stories can't be returned, so please keep a copy.

Judging - all stories will be read in-house and a longlist of twenty produced. This list will be on the blog by mid-June at the latest. These twenty stories will then be read by TKOE team and whittled down to a shortlist of ten. The final ten will be read by award-winning South African writer, Ginny Swart, who will choose the first and second prize winners. The judges' decisions are final!

Copyright will remain with the authors, but first and second prize winners' stories will be published on the Knock On Effect blog.

All proceeds from the competition, over and above the payment of the first prize, will be donated to Knock On Effect funds.

Paying and sending your story
The entry fee is £2.50. It would be absolutely fabulous to receive this in the form of a cheque made out to K J Kilburn. Please write the name of your story, the wordcount and your email address on the back of your cheque or in an accompanying note.
If you'd like to pay electronically, you can 'buy' a competition entry from the website. The link is accessible from the home page. Because the site is generally geared up for commercial sales, small orders attract a p&p charge so you need to input the code TKOE2012 on the payment page. This initially reduces your payment to 70p, but when the 'postage' charge is added it takes it back to the full amount of £2.50. Does that make sense? It's a slight fudge, to accommodate those who would like to pay by credit card or Paypal, but it works! Please add the title of your story and the wordcount in the section marked 'customer note' at the bottom of the order page.

You can then post your story (along with the cheque, if paying by cheque), to:
Three Bags Full wool shop,
The Piece Hall,
HX1 1RE.
Or you can send it electronically in the body of an email to Please type your story title and wordcount in the subject line and include all relevant details at the start of your email - name, address, etc.

First prize is half the entry fees up to a maximum of £100.

Second prize is £20 of gift vouchers for the Three Bags Full wool shop or a £20 online voucher for, depending on the winner's preference.

Good luck!