Regular readers of this blog will have heard me eulogise about the writing competitions of Christopher Fielden on numerous occasions.
It seems to me that the setters of writing competitions often implore us to ‘make them laugh’, but when we do, the choices for short-listing and certainly winning are still too often either deep tales of woe within fractured families or parma violet sweet ‘womans’ tales that fit perfectly into the dainty pages of The Peoples Friend. There is nothing wrong with these stories per se, but when your writing style is for gentle bonkers surrealism, it is handicap enough to be limited in your own writing ability without having the template of the winning story apparently preset in the judges minds.
Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s what I’ve found. I believe more people want to read good, humorous stories than are made available to them, but for reasons I cannot fathom, these seem to have limited publishing appeal. Frankly, I think people want to read good writing, full stop, and, as Chris’ competitions show, good and funny are not as mutually exclusive as I believe many publishers of amateur writing seem to demonstrate.
Chris Fielden’s competitions buck this trend, in that they are all geared to attract entries that make him laugh, and he has a fab sense of humour. You may think this would restrict genre, but in fact it does the opposite. In last year’s annual ‘To Hull and Back’ completion, the 20 or so short-listed entries were united by their differences. OK, so ‘death’ and ‘fantasy’ are perhaps predictable tropes, but there were also successful entries based on the Victorian domestication of an ape, and even one about the Newbury Model Train Enthusiasts(!).
I cannot tell you what categories the short-list for the 2017 contest contains as the anthology is not yet published. But what I can tell you is that my story The Turbothrob Triple X has been declared RUNNER-UP out of 359 entries. I am so proud! The £200 runner–up prize (I like those words) is very welcome, but the kudos, appreciation, and drive to carry on writing is worth much, much more.
Look out on Chris’ site for details of the 2018 comp – you too can enter and do good – I promise.
In the meantime the anthology will be published in December 2017 via Amazon, and the book officially launched in Bristol on 9th December. Keep an eye on Chris’ site for details, it was a fab evening last year, with readings of shortlisted stories from the submitting authors. You never know,
I might even buy you a beer from the winnings.
And oh yes, if you wanted to read The Turbothrob Triple-X before it is published, you can do so elsewhere on this bog, else on my other exclusively short storied blog as follows: