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.