A Nice Surprise – Writing Magazine Story Competition Results

IMG_1640I recently had some rather nice writing news. Last year I decided to devote some time to writing short stories, with the idea that I would submit one per month to anthologies and/or competitions. I figured that, even if I didn’t get anywhere, I’d still end up with a nice collection of short stories, as well as flexing my writing muscles in a slightly different way.

Well, I managed to win second place in the Writing Magazine Modern Fairytale Competition, complete with cash prize and publication on their website! To read my story, Water and Bones, click here. I even got a nice critique from the judges, which made me very happy. (and btw, if you do head over, I recommend reading the winning story as well – it’s excellent). It’s small victories like this, or a good review or a note from a happy reader, that make writing, with all its hair-tearing, plot-twisting and rejection, worthwhile.

Writing short stories has been a good exercise for me. When I write I tend to get quite wordy – I’m forever editing word count down, rather than up. So restricting myself to a much smaller number of words to tell a story meant that I challenged myself to write leaner, to cut out any and every extraneous bit of plot, and think of the most succinct ways to convey my point.

As for my other entries, I came second in one of Esther Newton’s writing competitions, and was shortlisted for another. I also managed to get a further two pieces accepted for an anthology. And I have a few more stories that will, with some more refining, be ready to send out into the marketplace again. Or maybe I’ll just publish them myself!

Happy weekend, everyone šŸ™‚


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,Ā  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

110 thoughts on “A Nice Surprise – Writing Magazine Story Competition Results

  1. Congratulations!!! šŸ˜€

    … collections of short stories are great for on-the-go readers (commuters, etc) … if you market them that way, they might just sell like hotcakes. šŸ™‚

  2. I enjoyed your short, and look forward to reading your book. I just recently started working on short stories, and plan to submit them piecemeal – similar to the plan you outlined. The first, Taking Out the Tree, is on my blog. Have great weekend!

  3. Helen, I’ve just finished reading, and what a captivating story. Truly it left me with goosebumps, you really did deserve this recognition. What talent you have. I loved it. šŸ¬

    1. Thank you so much, Miriam, that’s so lovely of you to say šŸ˜€ I’m so very pleased you enjoyed it. Also, though I don’t specifically state it, I was thinking of Melbourne when I wrote it…

  4. Oh, Helen, I’m so chuffed for you! A fantastic achievement. I’ve been a subscriber to WM for years, entered so many of their comps I’ve lost count. Don’t call this achievement small – they have very high standards and receive a lot of entries.
    When I finally won one of their comps last year, it was probably the biggest vindication of my writing so far, the moment I really thought ‘wow, I can do this!’
    Not that you need the vindication, being such an accomplished writer.
    Very well done. i’m off to read the story now šŸ™‚

    1. I saw your story on the site and read it when I entered this comp! And I was quite in awe of you for winning. It was a great story, too – loved the modern take on Mrs Rochester’s nurse (hope I’m remembering that right). And I really appreciate your kind words, I was quite thrilled by placing as I do think Writing Magazine is one of the tough ones, so I was amazed when I got the letter. Now I’m inspired to enter some more šŸ˜€

      1. Ah, thank you and thanks for reading the story – I was astonished to win, truly astonished. Short story comps are a great motivator – themes and deadlines are great for inspiration. Good luck with all your future comps

  5. That’s so beautiful, Helen. The comments are right – real and hard and nasty but lyrical at the same time. A wonderful twist on a traditional tale. Really loved it. Worthy of winning indeed šŸ™‚

      1. You have to love this writing lark to keep going when there are so many other things to juggle. But then, we do love it, don’t we? I read a quote from Long Firm author Jake Arnott today saying that from the ouside, writing seems the most boring job in the world, locking yourself in an office, sitting at a screen all day. But that’s not where our heads are, is it? We’re being terrified by ghosts or zombies or overlooking alien cities, walking in the shoes of murderers and heroes. I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t want to be an author šŸ™‚

      2. Oh, it’s the best thing in the world, isn’t it? Inhabiting all the different realms and characters and bringing them to life – I’m grateful every day to have such a wonderful creative outlet šŸ™‚

      1. Okay, money is always nice to receive for your writing. šŸ™‚ But, you’re right, great feedback is hard to come by (especially if it’s helpful to you – that’s fantastic).

  6. Congratulations, Helen. I’m doing the same challenge and entering at least one short story competition every month this year. I’ve already got two under my belt and am working on number three. Even if we don’t win or get placed anywhere, they are still a great way to improve our writing.

    1. Thanks, Hugh šŸ™‚ And good luck with your stories, too – as you say, even if they don’t get anywhere, we end up with a nice collection of short stories to publish!

  7. Wow! Congratulations! I’m a subscriber as many on here probably are. I’ve never submitted anything anywhere as yet, long way to go before I take the plunge ha ha. I read it a while back and also the winning story, both were fantastic! Well done and what a coincidence to stumble across your blog. :))

    1. Thanks so much! I was so thrilled to be runner up, and to get so much lovely feedback on the story too. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you stumbled across my blog too šŸ™‚

      1. Good luck with them and happy writing. I think I’ve a long way to go to come anywhere close but it’s fun writing so I’ll continue and give it a go. :))

  8. Congrats, Helen. What a great idea to focus on short stories for a while. And they’re never wasted as they can show up in all kinds of different places. I’m an overwriter too, and I agree that short stories are great for honing our craft. I’m heading over to read your story šŸ™‚

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