We are delighted to announce the results of round three of the 2023/24 BeaconFlash competition to the theme of ‘Backup’. The three stories listed below (in alphabetical order) go through to the final judging when the competition closes at the end of May 2024. If your story is not listed below you are welcome to send it elsewhere. If it is, please refrain from doing so until after the final results revealed at next year’s festival. NB. The ultimate top three will be posted in full on this website. So, the top three stories for October 2023 are…
· One More Life To Live
· Take Two
· Thanks Kid!
A superb batch of stories. One in particular leapt out. All the others were possibles (that’s how I judge initially: yes, no, possible). Some were closer to the theme than others. I recommend keeping the theme in mind when writing/going through your stories.
· Technically, ‘now’ is present tense so it would normally be removed or changed to a past-tense alternative. Dialogue is present tense so they’re fine in speech, and you can get away with it, up to a point, in first-person narration, and it’s fine if used as a comparison, e.g. They were green but were now yellow.
· A glance, glimpse etc. implies a brief movement so ‘brief / quick’ isn’t needed before or after it. I see a lot of ‘glance’ (glances, glanced, glancing), especially being ‘flicked’. I recommend no more than half a dozen glances in a novel.
· There was a thumping heart which is normally a cliché but it fitted. Do think about whether it’s needed if tempted to use it. There was also a ‘boiling sweat’ which I read, albeit for a micro-second, as ‘boiled sweet’ so again think about what your words could be interpreted as when you’re editing your writing.
· One story, which I really enjoyed, opened with a character called ‘The King’ which, being British, made me think of our King Charles. It didn’t take me long to realise it meant Elvis Presley but it distracted me, which isn’t want you want a story to do, unless you’re writing a twist.
· Another story referred to a ‘companion’ which I took to be the main character’s horse as it had been mentioned earlier until I realised it was someone with him. It was well written and would make a great novel.
· I recommend writing numbers under 100 in full so they blend with the rest of the text (especially where they are 1st, and the likes, as some eReaders dislike superscript) so I’ve amended the ones that are. That said, I think all numbers unless titles (BMW Series 5) etc. are best written in full.
· A Curious Experiment in Mixology
· A Decent sort of Bloke
· A Thoroughly Civil Gentleman
· An Imaginary Slight
· Lost in Translation
· No More Lukewarm For Maggie
Morgen Bailey is the judge for each round and for the final shortlist judging. Judging is blind, i.e. the judge will not know who wrote which story until the prize winners are announced. Please note that no author can be awarded more than one prize so, if an entrant has more than one story ranked in the top eight, then only their best story will be selected. The best story by another author outside the eight will then be a winner. In effect, the best stories by the top eight authors will be awarded the prizes. The judge’s decisions are final. Results will be posted on the. website.