Writing Competitions – Want to Win? Part Three

Annette Youngby Annette Young

So far in this series on how to win writing competitions, or, at least, how to improve your potential for doing so, I have covered the importance of generating a good idea and developing it, turning this basic concept into something original and unique. I’ve also mentioned the importance of characterisation so that any judge reading your submission will become hooked by the events and circumstances surrounding the characters and will connect with them on deeper level.

Today, I want to discuss the importance of creating a super-strong opening. I read a great many submissions and, although I admit, sometimes, the ideas are great and, the writing good, often, the writer starts at the wrong point and the opening is weak and less than powerful because of it.  Usually this happens because the writer has not prepared the idea fully before starting. A writer may also be inexperienced when it comes to developing a story within the confines of a set word count.

Think about it, do you really need to start a story at point A and finish at C, when you can throw the reader straight into the plot at point B where the action takes place and the story is dramatic and compelling? Your role as the writer is to hook the attention of those reading your fiction and to have them dangling on a hook throughout. We look for stories that entertain and that make us want to read on. These are the things you need to consider when writing any work of fiction but especially when the word count is minimal.

So, how can you improve your opening section? By carefully considering the best starting point and eliminating those that lead the story along a winding route which eventually gets to the heart of the story. Do this and your ability to pull the reader straight into the story becomes much stronger.

If you have plenty of words at your disposal, then, your starting point is likely to be different and that’s fine. Just remember, you need to hook the attention of the reader and the writing competition judges if you want to stand a chance of delivering a successful and prize-winning submission.

Tip: Write down 2 or 3 potential starting points and write opening paragraphs for all of them, just to test them out. Which one incites more attention? Which paragraph is stronger? If you are not sure, let family and friends read them and find out why they like it.

 

Writing Competitions – Want to Win? Part Two

Part Two

Author Annette YoungIn this second article in the Writing Competitions – Want to Win series, I am going to discuss repetition in story ideas. While it’s absolutely fine to reinvent an idea, it should only be considered a starting point. I see a great many stories when judging writing competitions which have not been evolved sufficiently. It’s as if the writer has become stuck in the moment and has not known where to take the story so that it develops, extends and even, diversifies. Instead of the creative process leading the way to something quite unique, the process is stopped short, cut off in its prime.

This can occur through a lack of time or, a lack of creativity at that time.

Sometimes, submissions are beautifully written but even well-written stories cannot compete against those that are well-thought out, read well and show much originality. When we review submissions, we look for creativity and technique of course, but it is a joy to see work from a writer who is capable of extending boundaries, taking an idea and developing it to its full potential.

Don’t be too keen to rush a story. Think it through. What could you do that would make an ordinary story shine?

Tip: Begin with your basic idea but then, craft a story that is powerful and compelling by making it an unpredictable read. Think of alternative endings. Throw in a few obstacles. This alone could make you be in with a chance of winning.

Missed Part One? Read it HERE

Want to have a go at entering a writing competition? Click HERE

 

 

Winning Writing Competitions – Yes You Can!

Competition Success

Author/Editor Annette Young

By Annette Young

Writing competitions – they are a unique way of firing up your enthusiasm for the written word and sending your skill level to crazy new heights. Receiving notification that you have won a writing competition is pretty special. It’s like having your Christmas and birthday presents wrapped up in one sensational moment. You feel good. No, you feel great. More than a boost to your self-esteem, more than an eureka moment – what am I going to spend all that cash on? It’s confirmation that your writing skills are pretty good.

You can be a prolific writer and you can have the best technical writing skills in the world but it doesn’t mean you are going to win any writing competitions – why? Because to win writing competitions, you have to enjoy it. You have to look at the competitions that are on offer and think wow, I really want to have a go at that. Those with a theme are often easier if you are just starting out, or, if you just like having a trigger to springboard your creativity to new heights.

Having a passion for the written word is vital. Enjoying that brain pulsing moment when you take an idea and run with it and find out that hey, it’s a pretty good idea, well, that’s a great moment. You have to be able to live and breathe writing. To stand at the sink tackling the washing up when really, your mind is far away solving mysteries in the Caribbean, or enjoying an illicit preview of your characters clandestine affair.

But more than excitement, you have to be prepared to knuckle down and actually do the work. You have the ideas, you’ve narrowed them down, then you need to find your starting point. Depending on your word count allowance, your starting point might be very close to the end, but decide on this first of all and then let the words flow. Make the opening sentence dynamic. Choose your words carefully, make every one count. Just because you are a competition writer, it doesn’t mean you don’t embark on the whole re-writing element of the game. Change it, shine it, polish it. It represents you but don’t sit on it, doubting it until after the closing date.

Entering writing competitions enables you to put yourself out there. You are endorsing your work and saying, here I am. This is what I am about. Although your work undergoes a judging process, you, the writer are not judged. We know all about the writing journey and often, it starts with writing competitions like ours. The main element to winning is to enter in the first place. It’s as simple as that. You will never start to know how good you are until your work is circulating, doing the rounds. If faced with rejection, take another look at your submission. Could you have improved it? If yes, tweak it, save it and then submit it to another writing competition -assuming the story-line fits. When you write with determination and dedication, you will see  your work progress in leaps and bounds.

So can you win writing competitions? Yes, you can, you just have to dream up a captivating idea, enhance it, write it and then send it.

Calling All Competition Writers

Winning a prize in a writing competition
As much as we hate to burst the bubble of creativity, here is a heartfelt plea to all competition writers everywhere. Please, please, please do read the rules. We see some wonderful submissions but of late, many do not adhere to the rules. We try to keep the rules as basic as possible but they are there for a reason. They provide a level playing field for all writers irrespective of publishing experience – so that everyone has the same chance.
This is just a reminder that the full rules are published on each competition page, please do check that you have read them before even starting your entry. We often provide you with photos for inspiration or, have a tricky little word count to adhere to, but whatever the rules, they are there to be followed and we hate having to exclude well-written submissions.

 

We advertise our competitions across the Internet including on social media sites such as Twitter, so if you have stumbled across one of those adverts, you may find that only partial rules are added. This is dependent on the information requested from the website and so, we are unable to always provide every bit of information. On Twitter for example, it’s impossible to say much, but we always, provide a link directly to the relevant page, so don’t miss out on a prize simply through not checking.

 

We know that time can be limited and you might have to rush to meet a deadline, but please do give your submission a fighting chance and not let it fall at the first hurdle.

Open Poetry Competition

1st Prize: £100.00

2nd Prize: £75.00

3rd Prize: £50.00

Closing date: August 21st 2012

Entry fee: £2.00 or FREE to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

Fancy winning £100 cash in our open poetry competition? It’s easy. Simply submit your poem with a maximum of 40 lines to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and mark Open Poetry Competition in the subject line.

Your poem can be on any subject but must be previously unpublished. Entries are welcome from writers worldwide.

Please double-check your submission prior to sending and ensure that it is received on or by the closing date. Note it can take some time to review all of the submissions so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

Multiple submissions are welcome, simply change the quantity in the PayPal field. Alternatively, you can enter this and all of our competitions for free if you become a Creative Competitor Premier1 Member.



500 Word Fiction Competition Winner

 

1st Prize; £100.00 Sarah Shaw

2nd Prize: £75.00 Oliver Davidson

3rd Prize: £50.00  Nick Heyes

What a Con!

by Sarah Shaw

“‘Ere Darling, take a look at the quality of this” He thrust a torn brochure into her hands. “We can transform your ‘ouse” He sniffed, wiping his nose on his sleeve. “You can trust our ‘igh quality workmanship”

Margaret shuddered at the thought of Ray and his two shifty looking mates from doing anything in her garden. Now living alone, she had worked hard over the years investing in her home improvements and loved her house. She looked at Ray’s dirty bitten fingernails and tried to stop showing her distaste on her face.

As if sensing her reluctance, Ray snapped his fingers and Joey and Cliff swaggered over stepping closer to her.

“We’re not unreasonable, tell us what you can afford and we will do it as a favour ‘cos of your age. “ Joey said, looking her up and down, making Margaret wince.

“’’Ow much you got Luv?” Cliff said grinning as he revealed two broken front teeth. “£2000 cash would do us and you get your dream driveway” He stank of beer “We’re not taking no for an answer darling”

Shrinking back into the safety of her porch, Margaret agreed. “I have the cash” and she pointed to the purse that lay on the hall table “But, you only get paid if you do a good job.”  Stepping back quickly, she slammed the door in their faces. She knew they would be back again and again. You heard about these things on the news, dodgy men preying on the elderly? Margaret hated the fact that they thought that she was weak but, as she caught her reflection in the hall mirror, her grey hair told her that she really was.

At two am, strange noises at the bottom of the stairs awoke Margaret and her hearth thudded erratically. She was frozen to the core, her legs like jelly. What was happening downstairs? There was no stealth or moving quietly, only purposeful movements. Suddenly the lights blazed on throughout the house and she sat up quickly, rushing out to the landing.

“It’s ok Margaret, you can come down love” Three burly police officers stood grinning from ear to ear and had easily apprehended the dodgy threesome from earlier. They stood sulkily clutching her £2000 pound cash distributed between them.

“We will need you to make a statement Margaret but you can do that tomorrow. In the meanwhile, this dodgy trio are getting booked into our cells.” The policemen waved cheerily as they left and Margaret breathed a sigh of relief. Setting herself up as a guinea pig for these crooks had taken its toll and that was with her former police training. She hadn’t been able to refuse the request from the local nick of course. They knew she yearned for the old life and she had willingly offered to help but with the neighbourhood now safe, she realised that her retirement years were suddenly looking more and more attractive.  Time for a cuppa.

 

Current Writing Competitions

Want an up-to-date list of our new writing contests? Well here it is. We have added lots of exciting writing contests guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and more will follow.

All you need to do is to click on the link below and then choose to open or save the document.

We look forward to receiving your submissions in due course and wish you the very best of luck.

current writing competitions

Fed up with paying for writing competitions? Why  not choose our Membership Package and enter any or all of our writing competitions for free? Details are here.

 

 

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Witness to Murder Writing Competition

1st Prize: £200.00

2nd Prize: £150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

4th Prize: £50.00

Closing date: 10th August 2012

Entry Fee: £4.00

Imagine that you have witnessed a crime and your life may be in danger. This competition is all about your story-telling abilities writing the story in the first person as the crime and any potential risks unravel for the reader.

You have a maximum of 2000 words excluding the title.  Entries must be original and previously unpublished. All submissions must be written in English.We prefer submissions by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk please mark the title of the competition in the subject line.

It can take some time to judge competition submissions and entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition.

Pay now and submit later:

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

500 Word Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00

2nd Prize: £100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

Closing date: 25th July 2012

Entry fee: £3.00 or FREE to Premier1 Members

To win this fabulous writing competition, all you  have to do is to complete the story in 500 words or less. The title of the story is called ‘ Late’ and you have been given the opening sentence to start you off.

Late again! Vicky knew she was in real trouble this time….

The word count excludes the story title and the opening sentence. Your story must be written in English, be original and previously unpublished.

Competitors must be aged 18 and over to enter.

It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition.

Please email your entry to us on or by the closing date. Add the story title to the subject line and paste your 500 word or less submission into the body of the email.

Want to get started now? Pay now and submit later:

 

 

Family Secrets Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00

2nd Prize: £100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

Closing date: 10th July 2012

Entry Fee: £3.00 or FREE to Premier1 Members

Using the photo for inspiration, write a story around the couple and create a family secret. You have only 1200 words excluding the title  in which to wow us with your creativity so don’t waste a word.  All entries must be in English and be unique and previously unpublished.

We would prefer to receive your entries by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk

Please add the title of the competition to the subject line and paste your entry into the body of the email.

It can take some while to judge all of the entries that we receive so entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition.

 

 

 

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Text Message Writing Competition

 1st Prize: £75.00

2nd Prize: £50.00

3rd Prize: 3  Months Premier1 Membership

Closing date: June 30th 2012

Entry fee: £2.00 or FREE to Premier1 Members

To win any of our great prizes, all you have to do is to interpret the photo and create a text message in less than fifty words. You can be as creative as you like. Surprise us, shock us or simply impress us.

Please do not use ‘text speak’.

Your entry must be unique and previously unpublished. All submissions must be written in English.

We prefer entries to be made by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk. Please paste within the body of the email and ensure that you put the competition title in the subject line.

All submissions must be supported by the correct entry fee, Premier1 members can enter any or all of our writing competitions for free.

Please note: It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

You must be 18 years of age or older to enter this writing competition.

Keen to get started? Pay your entry fee here:

 

 

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Character Profile Competition Winner

 

 

We asked for an in-depth character profile using the photo for inspiration. We received a great many amazing profiles and it was a very difficult decision but the winners are…

1st Prize: £100 – Stephanie Judd

2nd Prize:£75 – Audrey Coles

3rd Prize: £50 – Brian Stevens

4th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 Membership – James Harwood

 

The Winning Profile – by Stephanie Judd

Name: Adam Caruthers

Age: 29:

Occupation: Business Analyst

Lives in London with his family. Home is a spacious six bedroom house. Adam would like to move out but is unable to afford a place of his own even though on a good salary. Fortunately, the house is large enough to give him his own en-suite bedroom and small study. Adam spends a lot of time on his own- deliberately avoiding his mother as much as possible.

Education: He asked to attend boarding school when quite young wanting to escape from his home life. He studied politics at University after leaving school but  was undecided as to his career when he left University. Fortunately, he stumbled into the role of Business Analyst for a large corporate company in London and found that it suited his analytical personality. He is not keen on most of his co-workers apart from his colleague Tim who is as far removed in personality from Adam as is possible but somehow they connect.

Family: Three older sisters – Emily, Ashley and Hannah

Emily is 35 and currently out of work. She was involved with an actor – Simon Day-Lewisham but this went horribly wrong so is currently bitter and single and had to move back to the family home which Adam finds irritating.

Ashely is 33 and married with two children. She married her childhood sweetheart and plays the ‘mumsy’ role in the family. She lives in North London.

Hannah is 31 and unmarried. She is an officer in the military and has spent time in war-torn countries where events have tainted her previously loving disposition.  She returns when on leave but apart from that, they see little of her.

Mother: Madeleine – unsuccessful fashion designer. Madeleine was never quite the mother that Adam wanted. Loving in a ditsy way. But distant due to her slightly out -of -faze character. Childhood was a mixture of discipline and unorganised chaos as Madeleine would get distracted and leave the children to their own devices and order would only occur when his father would return home.

Father: Roy Adam Caruthers – Successful business man with a retail chain throughout the UK . Business-like, determined, strong-minded and slightly despairing that the woman he married lives more in her dreams of what might be rather than to accept her lot. He also wanted Adam to follow in the family business, recognizing his potential but felt rejected when Adam turned his back on the family business.

Family pets: Lofty – yorkshire terrior and Marbles – 10 year old fat cat

Girlfriend: None currently – Adam finds it difficult to connect emotionally. Subconsciously he blames his mother because he cannot respect or love her completely and the women he attracts, seem to be similar in type usually.

Best friend: Tim Orchard – A 30 year old business analyst who hates his job. Tim is everything that Adam is not. He hates being practical, finds the corporate environment oppressive and likes to play pranks on people. Tim wants to travel the world and his ambition is to never shave again.

Adam’s personality: Adam is quite insular. Attractive, with a wide smile, the smile hides a lot of inner pain and feelings of inadequacies. He likes to feel completely in control and hides his emotions. The women in his family are soft, feminine and annoying apart from his sister Hannah. He recognizes her strength and inner pain. But they never talk to each other about their emotions.

Adam has a high sex drive. It’s the one area of his life that he struggles to control. Secretly he is worried by his lack of control and his need to over-power any potential girlfriends.His last girlfriend walked out on him when he became a little too aggressive in bed. Since then Adam has avoided women as much as possible. Adam is unhappy in his life but is not sure what to do to change it.

He has a good sense of humor, with excellent timing for one-liners. But his humor is surface deep only. For those that know Adam, they are are aware of this cold edge and that behind the eyes, there is little warmth. He hates injustice and those who pretend to  be what they are not. He decided against entering politics because of this.

Athletics: Adam was an excellent athlete for cross-country running but gave it up in his early twenties to focus on cycling and became a member of his local club to keep himself fit. He knows that he could be really good at most things if he excelled himself but he doesn’t feel enough passion for anything.

Hobbies: He loves to read – often books about science and in particular quantum physics. He reads fantasy novels – but despaired of the Harry Potter books and films but loved watching Lord of the Rings.

Injuries: Adam had his appendix out when he was 14 and found himself back in hospital on his 21st birthday when (under the influence of alcohol) he fell off some scaffolding and cut his leg open badly.  He now has an eight inch scar which reminds him of what happens when he loses control. He dislikes hospitals and never goes to the doctors even when feeling ill.

Socially: He drinks very little alcohol as he then becomes less controlled in his actions. He hates smoking and refuses to spend time with those who do and he is contemptuous of drugs and drug users.

Ambitions: There is a strong desire to impress his father as he has a deep respect for him and knows that he let him down previously when he declined going into the family business. Adam has a vivid childhood recollection of how his father prided himself on setting up the business from scratch and becoming a success. Adam believes that he has a flair for business too and a need to prove himself. He is considering setting up a consultancy business helping others by analyzing and project managing their first tentative steps into business.His favorite quotation is sit nomine digna meaning ‘may it be worthy of the name’. Adam is determined that one day he will make his own mark in life and the name Caruthers will mean something again.

He knows until he is fulfilled within a career that he cannot cope with the emotional side of his life and although he would like children, refuses to get involved until he is sure that he can provide.

 

 

Young Adult Fiction Contest

1st Prize:£200.00

2nd Prize:£150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

Closing date: June 12th 2012

Entry Fee: £3.50 Free to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

To win any one of our three fantastic prizes, simply create the opening page to  a young adult fiction story and send to us. There is no set word count but please note that your entry must fit onto one A4 page including the title.

Now remember that this story is aimed at the young adult market, so consider your terminology and style.

Your entry must be unique and previously unpublished. All submissions must be written in English.

We prefer entries to be made by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk. Please paste within the body of the email and ensure that you put the competition title in the subject line.

All submissions must be supported by the correct entry fee, Premier1 members can enter any or all of our writing competitions for free.

Please note: It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

Must be 18+ to enter this competition.

Cheque payments can be made in euros to Annette Young but we prefer payment via PayPal where possible by using the PAYPAL buttons or by sending the correct fee via PayPal to the email address: info@creative-competitor.co.uk

‘The Suitcase’ Fiction Writing Competition

1st Prize:£200.00

2nd Prize:£150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

4th Prize: £75.00

Closing date: May 25th 2012

Entry Fee: £4.00 Free to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

To stand any chance of winning any one of our fantastic cash prizes, simply craft a story around this suitcase and use your creative skills to conjure up an imaginative and excitingly written original work of fiction.

Stories must be unique and previously unpublished.

Word count is 1500. Excluding the title.

All submissions must be written in English.

We prefer entries to be made by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk. Please paste within the body of the email and ensure that you put the competition title in the subject line.

All submissions must be supported by the correct entry fee, Premier1 members can enter any or all of our writing competitions for free.

Please note: It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

Cheque payments can be made in euros to Annette Young but we prefer payment via PayPal where possible.

 

 

Simple Pleasures Poetry Competition

1st Prize: £100

2nd Prize: £75

3rd Prize: £50

Closing date: 5th May 2012

Entry fee: £2.50 or free to Premier1 members

If you enjoy writing poetry, then why not enter our fantastic new poetry competition with some great cash prizes and publication online. To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is to create a poem that perfectly interprets our theme. Poems must have a  maximum of 20 lines.

All poems must be original and previously unpublished.

You may enter as many poems as you like however you must ensure that the correct payment is sent. If you are in Europe, you can make your payment by cheque and in euros if preferred. Please follow the instructions here. Otherwise, payment must be made by PayPal by clicking on the link.

Please send your completed poem(s) to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and add Simple Pleasures Poetry Competition to the subject line. If you are a Premier1 Member, please also add your membership number to the subject line.

We prefer submissions to be pasted into the body of the email.

 

Please note that it can take some time for competitions to be judged and winners to be announced and your entry into this competition, implies acceptance to this rule.

Can You Win a Writing Competition?

Part One

By Annette Young

It might not be as difficult as you think to win a writing competition but many people are put off by the thought that they will not be able to make their entry stand out enough to catch the judge’s eye. Rest assured that any judge will spot your entry if it reflects the theme (if any provided) and if the writing is of high quality. There is nothing more exciting than reading a submission that is cleverly crafted and well-polished. Those who are less confident in their writing often resort to other methods to make their writing stand out, sending in submissions that are written in a brightly coloured or creative font- it’s not necessary. Let your writing speak for itself.

Writing is a powerful medium and because of this, when you are creating your entry, every effort must be made to ensure that every single word is relevant especially if there is a limited word count. The judges will be looking for a tightly written submission that engages the senses, evokes a desire to know more and  that leads them on a journey culminating in a satisfying ending.

The rules on any writing competition are there for a reason. They are there to level the playing field and provide a foundation on which any writer starts the creative process.  Sending in fiction where the word count rule has been ignored instantly makes the entry void even if the actual writing is riveting. Sending in work that ignores the theme completely would be discounted and sending in a submission that is littered with typing errors and spelling mistakes does not portray a sense of professionalism or would make a judge feel that the writer cares about the quality of their work.

So the writing standard has to be competent at the very least but importantly, even a well-worn story i.e. boy meets girl can be given a new slant, an enticing edge with well-developed characters that you can’t help rooting for.

To win a writing competition, all it takes is the ability to create a strong story line, to be able to take the basic story and to weave a realistic plot around it, to introduce characters that seem larger than life and to be able to follow the rules, writing with sincerity and integrity.

If you feel that you can do this and that you can put heart and soul into your writing, then you stand a very good chance of scooping a lucrative prize and gaining the kudos of publication.

Next Week: The Judging Process

Sign up to the free newsletter to read the article as it becomes published.

 

Man on the Train Writing Competition

1st Prize: 150.00

2nd Prize:£100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

4th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 membership

Closing Date: 7th April 2012

Entry fee: £3.00

Are you a Creative Competitor Premier1 Member? You can enter for free.

Using the photo for inspiration, create a story that depicts a man on a journey by train, but a journey to where? What happens to him en-route? Who does he meet? What happens when he reaches his destination? We welcome creative interpretations of the theme and your completed submission must be received on or by the 7th April 2012.

You have up to 2000 words including the title and your submission must be original and previously unpublished.

Please send your submission by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and write the competition title in the subject line.

If you fancy winning £150, then pay your entry fee today and submit your entry as soon as you are ready.

 

 

Please note that it does take time to read and re-view each and every competition submission, so please be patient. Winners are announced on the website and in the free weekly newsletter. We publish only the overall winning submission which means that the other prize winners and those who are not successful are free to enter their work into other competitions.

Image:© Iakov FilimonovDreamstime.com

What Happens Next? Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00

2nd Prize: £100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

4th Prize; 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 membership

Entry fee: £3.00

Are you a Creative Competitor Premier1 member? Enter for free.

Closing date: 31st March 2012

Using the photo for creative inspiration, your story must be about a man in a library who chooses a book that changes his life. What the book is and why it has such an effect on him is up to you. The story must evolve and can be emotional, action-packed, mysterious or indeed take any direction that you like. Just make sure that it is powerfully written and interprets the theme creatively.

You have up to 2000 words in which to write your story including the title.

Submissions must be original and previously unpublished.

We prefer you to make your submissions by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and ensure that you add the competition title in the subject line.

Please note that it can take some time to read and re-view all submissions and so entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition and to the above rules.

Fancy winning up to £150.00? Pay your entry fee now and send your submission through when ready.

 

We publish the overall winning entry only and this means that all other submissions can be placed elsewhere or entered into other competitions. This includes the additional prize winners.

 

Image:© ArenacreativeDreamstime.com

 

 

Flash Fiction Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00
2nd Prize: £100.00
3rd Prize:£75.00
4th Prize: £50.00
5th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 Membership
Closing date: February 10th 2012
Entry fee: £3.50 or free to  Creative Competitor Premier1 members
Become inspired by the photo and create a compelling story in 1200 words or less. (Excluding the title).
Submissions must be original and previously unpublished.
We prefer submissions by email info@creative-competitor.co.uk
Please write the name of the competition in the email subject line.

Note: It can take some time to review all of the submissions and to make a final decision. Entry to this competition implies acceptance to this and to all of our rules.

We only publish the overall winning entry which means that those who do not scoop the top prize are able to submit to other competitions.
Image:© Ekaterina Ostanina | Dreamstime.com

Running Late Writing Competition

1st Prize: £200.00

2nd Prize: £150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

4th Prize: £75.00

5th Prize: The Busy Writer Course

6th Prize: Premier1 Membership  x 3 months

Closing date: December 1st 2011

Entry fee: £3.50

Fancy winning yourself an early Christmas present? How does our top prize of £200 sound? All you have to do to win any of our fantasticwriting competition prizes is to write a story relating to our theme ‘Running Late’. How you interpret the theme is entirely up to you but we are looking for well-written, creative entries where the story is bought to life by your story-telling skills.

You have 1500 words (excluding the title) but do make sure that you adhere to the wordcount.

All entries must be original and previously unpublished.

Entries must be written in English but we welcome submissions from writers worldwide.

We prefer submissions to be made via email (within the body of the email) to info@creative-competitor.co.uk Please write the competition title i.e. Running Late Competition in the subject line.

Note: It can take some time to review and judge submissions received and we thank you in advance for your patience.

Flash Fiction- 300 Word Challenge

1st Prize: £100

2nd Prize: £50

Closing date: 25th November 2011

Entry fee: £2.00

Write a story around the woman in the photo.  You can be as creative as you like with your interpretation of the image but you only have 300 words (excluding the title) to impress us. So do make every word count.

Your entry must be original and previously unpublished.

We prefer submissions to be emailed to us at info@creative-competitor.co.uk Please remember to write Flash Fiction 300 Word Challenge in the subject line.Tip: Check your entry thoroughly before submitting.

Please pay your entry fee online by using PayPal. If you wish to send your entry to us by post, please note the change of address.

It can take time to review and judge submissions received as we read each and every entry. We appreciate your patience whilst entries are judged.

 Image: © Andrey Andreev | Dreamstime.com

250 Word Competition Winner

1st Prize:  £100.00 Alistair Lewis

2nd Prize: £75.00 M. Penny

3rd Prize: £50.00 Susan Smith

Righting Wrongs

By Alistair Lewis

 The man that lay in the hospital bed slipped in and out of being her Grandfather, there were glimpses of recognition when he opened his bright blue eyes, now cloudy with dementia and the illness had wiped much of his memories of her. He talked incessantly about life as a young boy, his words fuzzy from the recent stroke, but she had listened to his faltering account of life before and after the war, her heart aching. The pocket watch was mentioned many times and he would turn his sad eyes to hers, reminding her that his health had demised after the watch had been stolen.

He opened his eyes suddenly and recognition dawned but before he could speak, she placed the gold ornate pocket watch in his gnarled hands and he sighed with pleasure and gratitude. Death came quickly and quietly, peacefully slipping away. As the nurses closed the curtains around him, Kerry walked away, regret tinged with satisfaction. She wondered if he knew that it had been her that had stolen his watch. She had been desperate for cash and had pawned it when she had lost her job without warning. She would forever have it on her conscience that she had caused him such emotional pain but at least now, she had righted the wrong and had held his hand tightly as he made his way from this world to the next.

Free Writing Competition

 

1st Prize: Creative Inspiration for Writers Course

Closing date: 15th November 2011

Entry Fee: FREE

To win this competition, all you have to do is to create a story surrounding the woman in the photo and write a summary about your story. Make your summary as informative and concise as possible as you only have 300 words to make your entry stand out.

Note: We only require a summary of the story.

Fancy your chances of winning this great competition? Send your submission by email (no attachments) to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and write ‘free writing competition’ in the subject line.

We welcome submissions from writers worldwide.

There are no age limitations for this competition.

Please note that it can take some time to review all the submissions and to decide a worthy winner, we would ask that you be patient whilst the judging process takes place. The winner will be announced in the free newsletter and online.

Image: © Rene Jansa | Dreamstime.com

First Chapter Writing Competition

1st Prize: £300
2nd Prize:£200
3rd Prize:£100
4th Prize:£50

Entry fee: £4.00

Closing date: October 21st 2011

A first chapter has to be convincing, compelling and tightly written to capture the reader’s attention and to plunge them straight into the heart of the plot so this competition requires you to think carefully about your opening and to lead the reader (i.e. us) into a plot that ensnares us immediately.

Hook us and you could win a fantastic cash prize and publication. (Winning Submission only). Your first chapter can be in any style or genre and must be written in 5000 words or less.
Submissions must be previously unpublished and original.

Open to writers worldwide but please note you must be over 18 years of age to win a cash prize.

Please send your submission by email to: info@creative-competitor.co.uk
Write First Chapter Competition in the subject line.

Submissions can be sent by post-address details here:

Please note: It can take some time (months on occasion)to judge writing competitions as we ensure that we read each and every submission and work on a short-list process. By entering this competition, you are implying acceptance to the rules.

Suspenseful Fiction Writing Competition

1st Prize: £300

2nd Prize: £200

3rd Prize:£100

Closing date: 20th September 2011

Entry fee: £4.00

He had been watching her for months. Checking out her behaviours, monitoring her movements until now, he felt he knew her almost as well as she knew herself. It hadn’t been easy breaking into her circle whilst hiding in the shadows retaining anonymity but now he was almost ready to make his move….

The key to winning this competition is to engage the reader with suspenseful intent. Build up the tension and keep us hanging onto every word. You have 2000 words in which to create your masterpiece of drama excluding the title. (Please note that the sentence provided does not have to form part of your submission but should be pasted above your opening paragraphs as your starting point). Remember that all submissions must be previously unpublished and original.

Please check your submission carefully for errors and then email to: info@creative-competitor.co.uk and mark Suspenseful Fiction in the subject line. No attachments. Please paste your submission into the body of the email.

UK residents may submit their entry by post andpay by cheque.

We publish the winning submission only.

Summer Ghost Story Writing Competition

1st Prize: £300

2nd Prize: £200

3rd Prize: £100

4th Prize: £50

5th Prize: Critique of story of choice.

6th Prize: Premier 1 Membership (3 months) providing unlimited entry into any Creative Competitor writing competition and the free Write to be Published newsletter.

Closing Date: 18th August 2011

Entry Fee: £5.00 or £6.00 (if you wish to receive individual feedback).

Ghost stories often depict cold wintry scenes and creepy old houses, but your ghost story is set to take place in the summer months. The rest of the theme is entirely open to interpretation, but your story must be original and previously unpublished.

Maximum word count is 1500 so please ensure your entry adheres to this rule. LIne spacing 1.5 or 2 x and font style Ariel orTimes New Roman is preferred if submitting by post. Please also spell check prior to submitting.

When you are happy with your entry, email it to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and type Summer Ghost Competition in the subject field.

Or use the PAYPAL Button below to pay for the competition entry plus personal feedback on your submission. (Please note that his is not a full critique but relates to the competition and individual entry only).

Romantic Fiction Writing Competition

1st Prize: £300

2nd Prize: £200

3rd Prize: £100

Closing date: 10th September 2011

Entry fee: £4.00

Entangled in his embrace, the world seemed softer, warm and altogether more pleasurable. She longed for this moment to last, to stay cocooned in pure happiness forever. A shiver of trepidation ran down her spine and fought it off in vain, snuggling closer to his warmth, inhaling his intoxicating scent. Why did life have to be so complicated?

To stand a chance of winning this romantic fiction writing competition, simply continue this story and create a multi-layered story that reveals the intricacies of human nature and the complexities of love.

You have 2000 words in which to be able to craft your submission excluding the title.(Please note that the sentence provided does not have to form part of your submission but should be pasted above your opening paragraphs as your starting point).

Stories must be original and previously unpublished.

Please check your submission carefully for errors and then email to: info@creative-competitor.co.uk and mark Romantic Fiction in the subject line. No attachments. Please paste your submission into the body of the email.

We prefer payments by PayPal but UK residents may submit their entry by post andpay by cheque.

Note: Depending on the number of submissions received, it can take some time to find the deserving winner so we would ask for your patience. Entry to this competition implies acceptance to the terms.

Winter Ghost Story Competition Winner

1st Prize: £500.00 – Jane Booth
2nd Prize: £200.00 – Clyde West
3rd Prize: £150.00 – C.Gordon
4th Prize: Flash Fiction Writing Course – Sarah Edwards

House of Marianne

by Jane Booth

The cottage was dark and depressive but it was exactly what Calvin needed, even so, shivers ran down his spine at the thought of staying too long in these tainted shadows. Looking around the room he could imagine the murder that took place here only too well, blood splattered walls and the dismembered body. He wondered what her last thoughts would have been before she lost consciousness.

The house, famous for its murderous past had long stood empty, the current owner had inherited the property and had tried to sell it for years, ensuring that the essentials of the house were cared for during those viewing times, but he had long since given up on trying to sell it as its reputation was too grisly and even the locals tried to avoid the house. Calvin imagined that in its former glory, it would have looked beautiful. It was large for a typical cottage and some of the rooms had fairly high ceilings avoiding the claustrophobic feel of other cottages he had been to but the doorways were low and he had already managed to bang his head when he had struggled in with his cases. As the sun emerged from behind the clouds, shafts of golden light filtered into the gloom and when he looked out the window, the unloved garden showed glimpses of its former beauty.

Calvin stepped back out of the cottage into the sunlight and breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t believe in ghosts and the fact that the cottage was reported to be haunted didn’t faze him but he had to admit, it was good to get out of the murky gloom. He followed the jagged pathway around to the back of the house, noting how the weeds were choking the life from the remaining plants. He surveyed his accommodation and surrounding garden with curiosity, if the right person bought the place, they could do so much to it, he mused. The garden was big, densely planted, overgrown but it had that typical country garden feel to it and it could be a restful place, charming even.

A large oak tree sprawled impressively to one side, its branches reaching towards him like a giant claw. An old wooden swing hung from one of the branches and he wondered if anyone used it now. The swing was moving gently and Calvin furrowed his brow wondering if the breeze was strong enough to cause the movements, but then he shrugged and turned his attention elsewhere. Drawn to the thicket clumps on his right, he began pulling away large quantities of  choke weed, feeling a sense of satisfaction as the taught vines gave way under the pressure. As he continued to clear some of the undergrowth, the sun emerged, golden rays warming his back and chasing away the shadows. The light glinted on a small object half buried in the soil. Prizing it from its resting place, he straightened up, holding it up to the light, a small golden pendant faded with age and covered with dirt, it was elegantly designed but he couldn’t make out any details without cleaning it up first.

Calvin stepped back suddenly from the borders; as a wave of giddiness threatened overwhelm him.
For a second or two, he swayed, fighting the roaring noise in his ears and the trembling in his legs. ‘Must have stood up too quickly’ he thought, steadying himself as the waves of dizziness dissipated. The pendant felt warm in his hands, unnaturally so and yet suddenly Calvin felt cold. A shiver ran eerily down his spine as if being watched and he turned quickly, looking back at the house. Scanning the garden, he noticed the swing moving eerily but there was no one watching him. As the sun disappeared behind a series of grey clouds, Calvin left the pile of weeds and raced back to the cottage as the first drops of rain splattered to the ground.

As darkness enveloped and the rain splattered against the windows, Calvin typed away on his battered old laptop, inspired by his surroundings as he continued with his series of commissioned articles on ghost watching. As a non-believer, he hadn’t wanted to turn down the writing commission as money was short but trying to write as a ghost hunter enthusiast hadn’t been easy. Talking about his frustrations in his local pub over a few beers had led to the suggestion of him staying in a haunted house overnight to experience the thrill for himself, and then someone had mentioned this cottage, speaking of the young woman who had been murdered and the blood ravaged body that had been found some weeks later.

The rest was history, Calvin mused as he tried to focus on the tasks at hand, he was here and he was still struggling to conjure up his enthusiasm for the articles. He had to admit though that it was far easier to succumb to the creepy atmosphere now that he was here and he could at least see why people reacted in the way that they did. Shadows danced around the room from the four large candles and only the light from the laptop pierced the gloom convincingly. But even so, he wasn’t scared, merely enjoying the sensation of becoming more ‘aware’ and touching base with an inner sensitivity. Not the flickering flames in the sudden cool breeze, or the creaking floorboards on the stairs could make his heart race dramatically. He just simply didn’t believe. The house was old, floorboards were unstable and wood contracted in the coolness of night, there was always a scientific explanation.

The murder had been real though. The young woman’s remains had been found in the house and the murderer never caught. He felt sorry for her, could imagine the fear of facing your last moments so brutally. He wondered who had been so evil to end the life of an innocent woman so casually and why. Calvin yawned, moving his laptop to one side, it was time for bed. Maybe inspiration would strike in the morning. Taking one candle up the old staircase and refusing to turn on the lights, he bent his head to avoid the low beams and walked into the largest room at the tops of the stairs. At least the owner had taken the time to make the bed fairly comfortable for him; he was so tired that he couldn’t wait for sleep to overtake him. Leaving his clothes in a discarded heap on the floor, Calvin collapsed on the bed, his eyes shutting instantly and consciousness slipped away.

His dreams were torrid. He watched as the young woman was held down and gagged, he felt each and every blow as she gradually regained consciousness and was beaten again and again. He felt his limbs being pulled apart, the searing pain as a heavy bladed saw cut through skin, and felt the jagged edge as the saw connected with the hardness of bone; he sat upright in bed screaming, clutching his arm.

It took Calvin a while to realize he had just been dreaming. His skin was drenched with sweat and he checked his body relieved to see that he was intact, the vividness of the dream refusing to ebb away.. without a doubt sleep had deserted him and he clambered out of bed to put on the light. Relief flooded through him as the shadows disappeared and he saw he was unscathed and still alone.
He didn’t remember the last time he had experienced a nightmare of those proportions but this had been truly terrifying.

With lights blazing, he made his way downstairs to his laptop, thinking that a practical approach to his article writing might clear his head of cobwebs. He felt drugged, head foggy and he still ached. Surely a nightmare couldn’t actually inflict physical pain. As he leaned over his laptop, clicking to his article page, he stepped back in sudden horror….the name ‘Marianne’ was typed all over the page. Mouth dry, skin pricking, Calvin shivered, how the hell had this happened? Who could have done this?

Common sense reasserted. It had to have been his friends, after all, weren’t they the ones who had suggested this house to him?  It was likely that they were just trying to scare him, prove that he wasn’t as tough as he seemed. Taking a deep breath, he checked the front and back door. They were securely bolted. Doubts filled him mind again, Marianne, who was she? The girl who was murdered? Damn it, he didn’t believe in ghosts. The locket glinted in the electric light compelling him to pick it up, and as before, the gold burned into his skin and the room started spinning. He knew without a doubt that the locket had belonged to her and held on to the desk until the dizziness passed. Just what had happened here all those years ago? Was it the trauma of her violent death keeping her bound to this house?

He remembered the swing moving in the garden, hadn’t it looked as if someone was sat on it, moving it gently? Was that Marianne? Or had other things occurred here? Calvin suddenly felt an overpowering urge to know, his fear ebbed and his determination rose. Was it too late to uncover the truth and put Marianne’s spirit to rest? Suddenly Calvin knew that he had a mission, it would be the investigative journalism assignment of the year, hell no, of the century and he had the opportunity to do something worthwhile and of course, complete his ghost watching series with relative ease.

As he dressed, Calvin made his plans. Go and see the owner, extend the rental period to a few weeks at least and then start his research in earnest. He just needed to pick up a few more things from his apartment if he was going to stay longer. As Calvin walked down the path, he welcomed the new day as a hazy sun emerged and began its trail through the sky. Calvin stopped at the gate and looked back towards the house, and breathed in sharply, it might have been a trick of the light but he could have sworn the shape of a woman was standing in the doorway watching him leave.

‘Don’t worry’, he whispered, ‘I’m coming back and I will find out what happened to you Marianne’.

When he blinked, the figure had gone and he wondered if tiredness was affecting his judgment, but as he turned towards the wrought iron gate, it swung open in front of him, guided by an unseen hand and as he walked through slowly and with shock, it closed gently behind him clicking back into place. A shiver went through him but also, a sense of anticipation for the tasks ahead.

He smiled at thin air, wondering if she knew he was trying to help her and then made his way back to the car, it was six am and he had a lot to do if he was going to unravel a mystery that had laid dormant for almost a hundred years and finally reveal the truth about the house of Marianne

The Mystery Fiction Competition Winner

1st Prize: £100.00 Roy Peters

2nd Prize: £ 50.00 Julie Walters

 The story had to include:

 Ellie Lacey

A stolen jewellry box

A photograph.

Echoes of Time

by Roy Peters

All I had left of the woman who haunted my dreams and spurred me on to my greatest achievements was the aging photograph. Ellie Lacey, my great grandmother who had died shrouded in mystery and tragedy and the story had woven a place in my heart forever.

My mother had talked of her a great deal when I was young, prompted by my inquisitive boyish curiosity, we sat in the hearth and roasted chestnuts in the open fire at Christmas and talked of how our dwindling family had once been great, until Ellie Lacey had allegedly betrayed those around her and had stolen an exquisite jewellery box-no one knew why she did this but I knew there would have to be a good reason. To my small ears, Ellie had sounded wonderful even though, through the years she had been marked as a prostitute, a home wrecker and a witch.

‘How could she have been all those things?’ I had innocently remarked. I remember well, the sensation of my mother running her smooth, cool fingers over my head, comforting me even though I didn’t realise the atrocities of her death. All I knew at that tender age was that she had died accused. As I grew older, I realised there was far more to the tale than my mother had revealed, the story had been softened for that young boy but as a man, the need to know my family background was strong and Ellie seemed the ideal starting point. I had no brothers or sisters and my mother was ill. Soon I would have nothing left but memories and history.

Ellie’s legacy was strong. I had inherited her love of herbs and enjoyed earning about the medicinal qualities. Her love of gardening had been passed to me too and I tended the home of my childhood with a great deal of love and care. One part of my garden had been dedicated to Ellie, the message hidden within the flowers that I planted. My mother knew I think but said nothing. I just caught her looking at me quizzically sometimes and a faint smile upon her lips, sometimes I would find her sat in that shady bower, reading, her long brown hair tumbling over her shoulders. She said she found the place both spiritual and peaceful.

All that was so long ago. Now death was waiting eagerly for my mother to pass and I too longed for that moment because I couldn’t bear the pain that she was enduring. She was only half the woman I remembered, the cancer was eating her alive and her face was haunted and hollow. Only the day before, she had made me go into her bedroom cupboard and pull out a large, old wooden box that was covered with dust. She made me promise not to open it until she had passed away and I had promised. I had stored it in my bedroom desperate to know its secretes and yet, knowing when I did, that my mother would be dead. She had clung to me that day, her eyes wide and staring, whispering that I must be my own man and forge my own future, I must not live in the past. I didn’t really understand what she meant but I kissed her sweating forehead and told her to sleep.

And now as I stand in her room, I know the end is near. I want to cry as I see her thrash in pain. Convulsions, headache, impaired vision and abdominal pains all symptoms of the poison I had slipped into her glass earlier. I think she had known as her eyes softened and misted but she took the glass from me, desperate for release.  Her cries are ripping me apart, I want to stay with her and hold her hand, tell her I love her, I want to see her through from this world to the next but I can’t bear to see her suffer and I hate myself for running out of her room and locking myself away.  

I sit on the floor, whimpering like a child and I realise that I am not strong at all. She has stopped crying out my name now and I know that it is all over. I feel more alone than I imagined would be possible. I reach for the box that she bequeathed me and my breath catches through my tears as I see a beautiful jewellery box within and an abundance of other precious items. In an instant, I know that my mother had kept every last item that belonged to Ellie. I can barely focus on all of the items because the tears keep welling up but there are letters, necklaces, rings, a journal, and her herb books. I feel overwhelmed by it all and the past moves a little closer to me. At last I am going to find out the truth.

 As I read her journal, I learn more about Ellie than I could ever have imagined. She wrote beautifully and honestly and recorded every thought and feeling including her affair with a married man. I search to find his name but it seemed that even in her journal, Ellie couldn’t break the silence surrounding their affair. The love she felt for him oozed from every page and I couldn’t put the book down. On the last page, her handwriting was blurred in places as if she had been crying whilst capturing her thoughts and as I read, I could finally understand why. The love of her life had died at her own hand, not with malice but to protect him from pain and suffering as his illness was long and fatal.

 Our lives were inextricably linked and sadness permeated through every pore and the air felt heavy and desolate around me. Was this what my mother had meant when she had said I must be my own man and not to live in the past? Both my life and Ellie’s were bleeding into one. At that moment our connection was strong and I felt her pain as much as I did my own, she had killed to protect as had I but Ellie had paid the price with her own life. The shadow of my guilt was heavy but I still had a chance to forge a good life for myself and bring honour to my family name. Unless, I like Ellie am caught and made to pay for my sins.

Past Love

 

1st Prize: £100 Christine Penny

2nd Prize: £75 Mike Mills

 

The Truth Will Out

By Christine Penny

The rat! The absolute rat! Laura fumed. How could he? She had never felt so humiliated in her whole life. Fighting back the tears, Laura felt a surge of anger so strong that she knew if Luke Adams was stood in front of her now, she would punch him right on the nose.  Emerging from the offices of Holby and Grantham and struggling to hold back the tears, she walked resolutely out into the busy market square.

Throngs of people were already emerging into the sunlight having escaped from the confines of their offices, Laura silently fumed as she stomped across the square desperate to find haven in her friend’s coffee shop. She hated people seeing her cry but the tears threatened to fall and she needed to release the valve. Almost running down the quaint street in her eagerness to get to her destination, Laura finally made it to the Hot Spot coffee house and sighed with relief. Sasha took one look at Laura as she emerged from the office, stopped in her tracks, and carefully handed a tray filled with steaming mugs of coffee to a nearby waitress, ushering Laura in and closing the door behind them for privacy.

“What on earth is wrong?” She queried, pulling a chair out for Laura as she burst into tears “Did the interview not go well?”

“It went brilliantly and it’s my dream job” she sniffed,””They even wanted me to meet the Head of marketing who would be my direct manager”

“Well, that’s not sounding so bad?” Sasha said slowly, “Or am I missing something?”

“Luke happened” Laura sighed, wiping away her mascara streaked tears, “He is the Head of Marketing. I always knew he would do well in life, but I never expected that he would be running the Marketing department over there. “

“Your ex Luke? Oh no” Sasha wrapped her arms around Laura and hugged her. “I’m so sorry”

“That man is determined to ruin my life” Laura cuddled in to Sasha and wept freely wishing with every part of her body that she had never met Luke.

He had been the love of her life. When they had met he had been her Team Manager in a small Marketing and PR firm and although she had tried to resist him, in the end she had succumbed and her life changed in an instant. Their relationship spiralled and intensified until eventually Luke asked her to marry him. The wedding plans gave Laura something to focus on and she handed in her notice so that she could ensure the big day went smoothly. With hindsight, Laura realised that had been her fatal mistake, Luke had fallen in love with her business minded creative energy and not someone who pandered to his every whim and hung on to his every word. How stupid of her to have put her own life on hold and just focussed on him. Bringing her attention back to the present, Laura sighed and smiled weakly “I’m an idiot”

Later that night, Laura padded around her small apartment listlessly. This had been the first place she could find to rent after moving out from Luke’s but it felt like home now, beautifully furnished, it had become her bolthole for the last couple of months. It cost her more than she could afford though and as a result Laura had used up the biggest part of her savings, so her need to start working again was real enough. She had been fortunate to earn a little by freelancing but her heart hadn’t been in work mode for months and now that emotionally, the wounds had been healing, her perfect job had been pulled out from under her by the very same man.

Sitting on the balcony overlooking the bustling side streets, she felt strangely alone. She had never envisaged her life being this empty. Where had she gone wrong? She had been convinced that Luke was the love of her life. Since the breakup, Laura had shut herself away, hardly leaving her apartment, screening her calls in case he rang, but disappointingly he never had. Losing him had been a bitter blow but knowing that he hadn’t even tried to find her was worse somehow, at least to her pride, but maybe it had been a blessing. Feeling the light warm breeze and the last of the summer sun before autumn commenced, Laura turned her face towards the sky and tried to stop thinking about all she had lost.

The sound at her front door was insistent, ominous and she made her way to the door, her heart racing. Laura couldn’t contain her surprise when she saw Luke in the corridor and her heart skipped a beat. His hair, with fetching silver strands looked ash blonde in this light and his perpetual tired features looked strangely appealing.

“May I come in?” She stood back to allow him access and shut the door sombrely behind him. “Nice place”

Her hear was beginning to race again, just being near him was enough to turn her stomach inside out in knots” What do you want?”

“I want you to take the job. You are the perfect person for it, we both know that” He stepped forward and touched her arm, and she shivered” We can turn the clock back Laura, start afresh, we will make a great team again”

“Turn the clock back? You mean with us?” Her breath caught in her throat, wasn’t this just what she had waited to hear?

“It will be fun” He laughed, displaying perfect white teeth, there was even a glint of mischievousness in his eyes, how she had loved that about him. “We will have to be discreet of course, but hell that will just make it more fun”

“Be discreet? Of course but..why?”

“I’m sort of involved with the MD…….but it’s not serious…I just needed to get my foot in the door, you know how it is, where as you and I…”

Laura stepped back sharply, her breath caught beneath her ribs…she couldn’t believe that she was hearing this. She looked up at him, searching his face in amazement, was he so confident of his looks and his power over her that he thought she would accept that romantic crumb? “Was this why you finished with me?”

“I didn’t expect you to move out and disappear, I just wanted us to cancel the wedding and lie low for a bit. Don’t look like that Laura, you are taking this the wrong way, this is business and she is my stepping stone to success”

As if in a blinding sense of realisation, Luke’s smooth veneer dropped and she could see him finally for the man he really was and job or not, he certainly wasn’t worthy of her.

Throwing him out gave her the most satisfaction ever, the pompous, arrogant man. She was too angry to cry over him again, and suddenly she was so glad that he had come to see her as her emotions had finally turned full circle and she now had closure.

Sitting on her balcony overlooking the street, she watched him slope off, his hands in his pockets, head bowed. His ego for once was massively dented she realised and she wanted to laugh out loud. As the sun gave one final burst of warmth, Laura decided she would seriously start job hunting tomorrow as she was ready to commit 100% to the role and get her career back on track, but she would definitely give Holby and Grantham a miss. A lucky escape if ever there was one.