Deadline June 30th. We habitual competition entrants feel muscles tense and expectations arise as the end of the month approaches, and we modestly dispatch our efforts to the judges’ merciless scrutiny, many of them palpably failing to appreciate the magnificence of our prose. I’m having an especial go at two in particular this month, with the particular confidence booster of having had some success in the past.

The now flourishing and very well organised Five Stop Story (www.fivestopstory.com) is based on the idea of stories which can be read between five stops of the underground. It also adds a little extra spice to the proceedings by operating a writers’ league, with points awarded for places and commendations. Having so far won one commendation, I’m having a bigger go at it this time around by putting in three for the summer competition.  Watch this space!

The Writers’ Bureau not only runs extensive courses; it also holds a regular sequence of well-organised and funded fiction and poetry competitions – www.wbcompetition.com. I’ve rung the bell twice so far in this one, and two more are heading their way this time around. Watch this space again, though if nothing actually happens, a space is probably all there will be!

Even when they do nothing – and even the brightest and greatest, which doesn’t include me, don’t get the big results all the time – the exercise can be worthwhile. I don’t re-write as much as I should, and a dud entry can sometimes mean taking another look and doing something else with it, which does do the trick. It’s happened for me! 

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