QUARTERLY SHORT STORY COMPETITION (JANUARY 2010)
Judge’s Report by
The stories explore a variety of subjects and writing
approaches. The narrative styles are interesting because
they range from the fairytale motif to the very contemporary
mode. A good number of the stories are well delivered, even
though a handful of them reveal a certain level of
amateurism. For instance, some lack good resolutions, some
have no message at all, while some others have no unifying
factors. The impressive stories, on the other hand, are
balanced and entertaining.
What I looked for in assessing the best stories include: a
well knitted plot with strong elements of verisimilitude;
characterization that maintained consistency with
established character traits; a resolution that is able to
make the reader recognize the protagonist's point of
epiphany; a gripping and entertaining piece regardless of
whether or not the story is dark or light.
The winning stories contain the above points and more. For
example, the leading story, "Unmusical
Bumps" traces the protagonist's pilgrimage home for a
final attempt to make her family accept her sexuality. Yet,
the attempt is returned at the end of the story with a
resounding finality of her family's rejection of her life
and lifestyle. The unpredictable layout of this story makes
it tops of all the stories.
The story, "Demons,"
which takes the second place, shows a young lady's
nightmares, which occur as a result of the rape and sexual
molestation she experiences. With a tight plot, "Demons,"
pulls the reader into the story, keeps the reader on the
edge with a well-controlled suspense and a racy language.
Its tight plot and well rounded resolution makes it stand
The third place story, "Diluted
Cappuccino," has its strong points in the fact that
every move made by the main character to get rid of an
unwanted relationship that barely started - reveals more of
her date's twisted and delusional frame of mind. The onion
peeling technique that is so well managed by this writer
gives "Diluted Cappuccino," an extra point to make it
qualify as one of the top three stories.
The other stories that deserve honorary mention are:
“Green Eyed Monster” by Claire Godden-Rowland
“Daddy's Secrets” by Warren Paul Glover
“Another Death at Orient Express” by Wendy Reakes
“The Break-up.” by Vanessa Schofield