Tuesday, 22 November 2016

SHORT STORY COMPETITION: The Brighton Prize Flash Fiction

Dear all,

Here is my last short story competition entry blog post for the year. I entered more but some of the longer pieces I have decided to include in a collection sometime next year. From August onwards I did not enter any further competitions because I focussed on one particular short story that developed into a 30k word piece and I will release that as an individual short story either just before or just after Christmas. During the year, while making note of suitable competitions, I noted around 90 that I could feasibly enter and once I have finished this 30k piece I will have to decide what time I want to spend on entering these in 2017. I do need to plan ahead as I desperately want to get back to working on my novel. Yet, I do feel I improved this year through entering competitions and I have dozens of ideas (most of which have actually been started) ready to go. I am not the fastest of writers and I am concerned about not finding the right balance. I feel it is very important to finish my novel and I do not want to leave it much longer. Also, my colleagues at Thinking Plainly have nearly completed their latest works and so we have a lot of work ahead finishing those and getting them out there. It will be a busy winter that I am looking forward to.

I'll keep you posted... but for now, here's the last of 2016's entries to share with you. Until you buy my ebooks in the new year that is ;)

The Brighton Prize
The maximum word count was 350 and there was no given theme.

Form Filling

Her jaw jutted forward as if her response would normally flow. The flinch rattled her grey fringe, and her composure with it. In one sweeping motion she raises her glasses from her chest, tied around her neck by a fraying shoelace, high to the top of her head, clamping the loose hair.
‘I mean, you know, it’s… it’s… look, just put it down for now, we can change it later,’ mum said. She was scrabbling for words, talking to me like I was five years old.
‘Up to you. Leave it if you want… just because I- ’
‘I know I can put what I like, thank you very much,’
Her eyes widen and the look of a thousand tellings-off creeps into her expression. She knows not to bother making a fuss though; it’s an argument neither of us can win. It’s just a form, she thinks.
‘Leave it at that please,’ mum says. She stares at the screen, ready to tackle the next page.
‘All done,’
‘That’s it?’
‘Yep. Nothing more to add, we’ve put in all the details they want,’
‘Oh. Lovely. Didn’t take long!’
She smiles and pats me on the shoulder as she leaves. I watch her lower her glasses and let her hair fall, her way of showing relief. My hand almost reaches out to grab her, to pull her back and smash her face into the screen.
‘Bye! Anything else, just give me a shout!’ I say cheerily.
‘Thank you love!’
Her voice fades as she enters the kitchen and I hear the kettle click. I look at the form and press the icon that takes me back to the previous page. I see the word ‘Catholic’ and tap it. From the drop down selection I pick ‘No Religion’ and replace her choice. I nod in silence. After all this time she still feels pressured. She doesn’t even know how indoctrinated she is, that’s the problem. For all her success… underneath it all, she still can’t be herself. I’m doing her a favour.
Submit details?

There we go; now it’s really all done.