post about entering a flash fiction competition called Tinsel Tales. It's an odd little competition as each entry goes on-line as it is received and people can vote for their favourite. The top 10 are then added to the judge's own shortlist and she picks the winners. Well I'm delighted to say that she picked my entry out as her favourite! My entry was called Dead Cert and you can read it and the judge's report here.
About a week after entering the competition, another entry appeared using an almost identical plot device. At first I felt put out - my entry had been online for the world to see for a week, what was stopping someone reading it, liking the idea and writing their own spin on it. But then a nagging doubt kept playing at the back of me mind. It seemed too much of a coincidence - but isn't that exactly what a coincidence is? As I do when I'm annoyed about something I had a chat with God about it while out walking and came to the conclusion that it was arrogant to assume nobody else could have had the same idea at the same time as me. It was hardly in the spirit of Christmas to make a fuss. What I thought was an original idea turned out not to be so and I thought I had to accept that my chances of winning were gone. However, not only did I win, but the entry that seemed so similar came third! I shouldn't have doubted the judge's ability to judge on the writing only and not on silly coincidences.
Interestingly, only three of the entries with the top ten votes made it on to the judges top ten as well (I was 16th in the votes). I suppose this is because a lot of voting is done by family and friends of the writers and so it has an element of a popularity contest about it. It's an interesting spin on judging which I'm not a huge fan of, but you know what you are entering when you enter and I am hardly in a position to complain! This is the third year I've entered and I've always found it a well-run and friendly competition.
The question is: Are competition wins like buses? Will three come along at once?