I've won the Speakeasy Short Story competition with my tale, Handrails and Parachutes.
2012 was a bit of an odd year for me. I was so caught up with writing my novel, I had little time to produce any quality short stories. Therefore, until November, the year was very dry in terms of encouragement. One shortlist for a short story in January, and winning Txtlit in May... and that was it. After a reasonably successful 2011, I was beginning to fear I'd peaked already! When the novel I'd been writing found an agent, it was all worth it - but it was still really special to win a short story competition for the first time in too long.
Handrails and Parachutes is one of my favourite bits of work. It's a "disturbing psychodrama" (according to the judge - I wouldn't have known how to categorise it!) about Fate and the insanity of living in the moment. I entered it into a different competition earlier in the year and got absolutely nowhere. So I tried to look at it with fresh eyes, realised it wasn't as good as I thought it was, spent a couple of hours re-editing, and here we are! Always worth revisiting stories if you believe in them. It's also a special win for me as Speakeasy was one of the first competitions I ever entered when I started writing, four years ago. In that competition I was highly commended - one of the first bits of encouragement I ever had. I'm particularly pleased that the judge felt my characters were vivid and believable (especially as the plot was a bit strange) - characterisation is something I've been working on a lot this year.
The competition wasn't a big one - about 70 entries - but it's a great confidence-boost that I'm still capable of inventing coherent plots and characters! If you are so minded, you can read the judge's report here - his verdict on my story is in the penultimate paragraph.Thanks to everyone at Speakeasy in Milton Keynes for a well-organised and friendly competition.