Competition Win : Esther Newton Short Story Prize.

Chess pawn wearing a gold crown

Image : Pixabay

I like the discipline of entering a short story competition – deadlines to keep, word counts to adhere to, themes to inspire (or frustrate).

They’re good for the writing muscles, even though success is often elusive.

When you receive yet another rejection (or when you hear nothing but yourself hitting refresh on your emails, searching for a message that never comes), you remind yourself that these things are subjective.

That your stunningly provocative tale about a ginger Tom sporting a bowler and plus fours might have hit the judge’s desk on the very day he / she discovered they have a potentially fatal cat allergy and their Nana’s just been knocked down by a runaway lorry, buried alive under its load of hard, domed hats and knee length trousers.  

And yes, you tell yourself that rejections are badges of honour to wear with pride – even if you do wonder how many such ‘badges’ you have to wear before someone gives you the one that reads ‘winner’.

And this is all very well and good and yes you know ‘J.K Rowling was rejected fifty squillion times before she was published’ but in the end she was quite nicely compensated for all that and by the way, when’s she going to move over and let someone else have a go?

However, amid the slew of rejections, the deafening silence that means ‘thanks but no thanks’, there is light shimmering in the grey.

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a competition run by author and tutor for The Writers Bureau, Esther Newton. The competition was on the theme of The Discovery and last week I discovered I’d been shortlisted. Lovely to be shortlisted and by someone so experienced and knowledgeable – delightful.

Yesterday, Esther announced the winning stories and … my story

Under the Skin

was there in first place!

To say I’m chuffed is an understatement. So thank you to Esther and congratulations to Stephanie Buosi and Suzanne Forman, my fellow winners.

Budge up, J.K – we’re on our way.




56 thoughts on “Competition Win : Esther Newton Short Story Prize.

    1. Ah, thank you so much Nortina – that’s really lovely of you. I did love your Moral Mondays – will you be returning anytime or just too much else filling your life? All the best 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, too much filling my life at the moment. I kind of burned myself out– it’s been so long since I’ve posted something– but I hope to bring it back soon! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. She basked in the sunshine of their praise, gloried in the growing incremental recognition of her latent talent. She knew her readers all wondered where her fantastical ideas came from, but she wouldn’t tell them — yet. She lifted her hands to the keyboard to begin proclaiming the good news to her online audience. The cuffs of her cardigan slid back ever so slightly, and the tip of a draconian tail peeped out …

    Liked by 4 people

      1. If I got the cardigan right I’m now persuaded the rest is not very far from the truth, that you’re an Illustrated Woman — perhaps not superficially but with images and words flickering across the synapses of your brain …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Like that idea, drawings in your brain. I wonder if at any time anatomists thought the images in our heads could be seen written on the dissected brain? That’s a dark thought for a Sunday morning. Though there was that old myth about pictures captured in the iris of the dead, wasn’t there?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! I’m always so impressed with your flash fiction pieces, I am not at all surprised about you winning first prize. More, surprised you don’t win first prize all the time! But I guess you’re not the only one jockeying for JK’s position. Where and when is this winning story going to be seen?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thank you Joy, you’re very kind. Sometimes if feel like I’m getting there – then a rash of unplaced stories knocks me down a peg or several, lets me know I still have a ton to learn. 🙂 The story’s already on Esther’s site, but I might put it on Word Shamble this next week too. Thanks for the support 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear such horror stories from people who regularly submit for publication, that one rejection after another is totally normal even for the best writers. The competition is fierce, and you just never know why someone picked story A instead of story B. Good on you for how you keep going — it’s paying off!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It can be very dispiriting, especially as you never know why you’ve been rejected – is your writing just not good enough? Or is it just that the judge has already selected a similarly themed story? Yes, tough to keep going sometimes – and then I get placed or win something and suddenly it’s all alright again. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Dispiriting is right. I just got my first rejection from my first short story submission. Or more accurately, I didn’t “get it” — they didn’t even send me a form email — I had to remember to go check their site and see “declined” as the status. No idea how long that’s been, or why it was declined. Ah well. One rejection closer to an acceptance, right? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well done for starting to send things out there – good for you, Joy! Yes, very, very rare to actually have a formal ‘no’ for short story subs – you don’t always get them for agent enquiries, so I gather. I’ve been lucky so far on that score – half a dozen, big fat ‘no’s and counting!
        And you’re right – never any clue as to ‘why’ your story doesn’t make it. Feedback would be so amazing for us writers, to help our developement. But then, short story comps are often inundated with entries – they couldn’t possibly feedback on all of them.
        Keep going. It does get a little easier once you have a good clutch of rejections under your belt, honestly, though some rejections still hit me hard if I was particularly pleased with a story. But as you say, one step closer.
        I quite like having several out for submission at a time, then when I get one ‘no’, there’s still hope for the next to be a ‘yes’!
        Keep going – you will succeed! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks for the encouragement, Lynn! I think I’ll feel better once I have a bunch of stories out under submission. Then when one gets rejected I can just turn it around and send it somewhere else. I haven’t been prioritizing that, though, and maybe I should be. Hm.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It’s a good technique, because then you can always say to yourself ‘ well, maybe this one will hit the mark’. I’m terrible at resubmitting, though. I have a bunch of stories – some of which are quite good – that didn’t hit their first, intended market and now lounge on my hard drive. A resolution for 2017, perhaps? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. That would be a good resolution. If you thought the story was good enough to send out the first time, and you haven’t received any specific feedback about something that’s not working about it, then just turn it around and submit it somewhere else. Why not try?

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yep, I know you’re right. I just get seduced by the new, shiny idea I want to get down and polish. I will try, though. And you never know, someone out there might like a few of them. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaww congratulations dear and well done.
    I know the feeling of waiting and refreshing your emails. It’s in anticipation and also remaining positive. Till that dreaded email does arrive and you just want to see the bit where they tell you, yes we want you. Patience does pay off. 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, a thick skin is what’s needed, though just as I think I’ve toughened up, a rash of ‘failures’ can hit me for six. Still, I send the next story off – glutton for punishment. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! No, you’re right, I’m not a pawn , but I did like the shiny crown 🙂 Thank you for the congrats – a lovely comp to win and up against stiff competition too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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