Thursday, 12 February 2015
Flash 500 Fiction Competition Judge
When I was asked to judge the Flash 500 Fiction Fourth Quarter, 2014, little did I know the treat I was in for. A wide range of brilliantly-written short stories kept me reading late into the night.
My report: It is a great challenge to condense all the requirements of a good story – plot, pacing, dialogue and characterisation – into just 500 words, and firstly I want to say how much I enjoyed reading the twenty-five shortlisted stories, all of which met these criteria.
My congratulations to the authors of these excellent tales that made my task of choosing the winners extremely difficult. I read the shortlisted stories three times, over three different days, and selected my ten favourites. These ten I read three more times, and chose what were (for me) the best four.
Of course, my decision was, unavoidably, a little subjective, based not only on the criteria of good storytelling, but on my own personal taste. Another judge could easily have chosen four others, but for me, these four resonated the most.
These were the ones that evoked emotion: sadness, happiness, laughter, thoughtfulness. These were the stories I kept thinking about for days after I had read them.