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Great Writing Competition Experiment

The Great Writing Competition Experiment.

What is it all about?

We receive thousands of writing competitions throughout the year and many submissions are very similar. Our aim is to highlight these similarities to help you increase your chances of winning any writing competition in the future.

Sounds fun, how do I sign up?

All you need to do to participate is to subscribe to our free newsletter  which is sent out each week.  Read the writing project provided in the newsletters starting from 19th December ’10 and then submit your completed project when ready.   You do not have to participate in each project but the more you complete, the more you will be able to improve your individual competition entries going forward.

Here are the results from Project 1

The House at Midnight

We had a great response to our first project in this series and it made for an interesting read, there were quite a few unique interpretations of the given title which was fantastic, but not surprisingly lots of summaries similar to the theme below:

An old house that had seen better days and that has a shoddy unloved feel to it. It has an eerie feel but people assume the eeriness is to do with the emptiness and size of the property as only one person – an old man lives there. Each night at midnight the old grandfather clock chimes and as it does, the spirit of a woman appears and the haunting begins.

Variations include:

Bodies found in the house and the mystery surrounding their murders
A dare to stay in the haunted house overnight.
Disappearing children who visit the house

We loved the following submission from Anne Doherty and her idea really stood out :

A man sits in the dark at the kitchen table with a torch and a row of clocks and a pile of batteries in front of him. The clocks have been stopped at seven minutes to 12, six minutes to 12, five minutes to 12. The unmoving clock on the wall says 23.59, but that is no longer true.

He goes and looks into the bedroom where his pregnant wife waits asleep, her packed case by the bed. He treads silently past the door to the new nursery. He climbs to the attic and stares at the boxes of his books, papers, box files, which had been taken away from the nursery just a few days ago. In the morning he must take his wife to the hospital for the Caesarian, now she is so late. His house is quiet, holding its breath. It is his house still – how could it not be? Even after she came and occupied it with all her things. But it won’t survive this. He doesn’t want tomorrow to come. He returns to the kitchen to look at the clocks, to live for a while in the space after yesterday ended and before tomorrow begins. This space at least is his, and need not end until he decides – remembers – why he is afraid.

It is hard to take a given theme and to turn it into something original. The title ‘The House at Midnight’ lends itself to a spooky or murderous theme so we were not suprised when we read numerous summaries about missing people or detective stories around the murders that occurred. We received some well-thought out ideas though and a special mention should go to :

Dave Clark
Stephanie Percival
Tracy Davidson

Project 2 Results

Barnaby Street

More fantastic interpretations this week including:
 It’s DCI Tom Barnaby’s last day before he retires. Life in Midsomer has kept him busy and happy for the last 20 years, but now it’s time for him and wife Joyce to move somewhere a little quieter and more relaxing. 
Tom knows that his colleagues are throwing a party for him, but he suspects from the grin on his sergeant’s face and the whispered mutterings in the canteen, that there’s a surprise in store. Indeed, a gold watch is not the only gift he receives. In honour of his unmatched 100% crimesolving rate, and in recognition of the many lives he’s saved over the years in the seemingly sleepy UK murder capital, the council have decided to memorialise him permanently by naming a local road after him – Barnaby Street. 
But during Tom’s leaving party someone is christening the new street with blood…

Special mention to Lol Barnes who also supplied a great interpretation of the title with Barnaby Street being a reporter who is fed up with sharing his name with a local street that is always in the news, eventually Barnaby decides to investigate the history of the street.

Lots of submissions about a character called Barnaby Street – many were about how he came from a poor background and made good. Others included Barnaby Street being a poor part of the neighbourhood with lots of crime and being looked down on by others. Lots of similarities, but 

the winning idea came from Tracy Davidson which although is an interpretation of the hit tv series Midsomer Murders, stood out:

Project 3

The House Guest

We received a fantastic submission from Stephanie Percival who wins this free challenge, here is her entry:

The House Guest is a humorous story, narrated by Joan; a ghost.

When alive, Joan ran a guest house on the Cornish coast with husband Bill. Bill tended to the garden and Joan managed the administration and catering for the guests. It has been a tough way of making a living and with Joan’s leadership absent, the Guest House is falling into disrepair and may have to close, which would leave Bill destitute. Bill struggles, especially as some of the guests are rather eccentric and have ulterior motives for being there. One couple in particular is trying to find smuggled treasure supposedly buried near the building centuries ago. So Joan decides she must move in as a ghost guest and look after Bill.
Of course, as a ghost Joan can see and hear everything going on but has to try and communicate this to Bill as a spirit. Bill is a down to earth character who doesn’t believe in ghosts, so Joan has her work cut out. Will she be able to stop Bill’s guests taking advantage of him, and perhaps lead him to the buried treasure?

We received numerous submissions on subjects such as:

The teenager invites a friend over to the family home and who essentially moves in. Follows tales of eccentric behaviour and family crisis.

The mother-in law comes to visit and after a couple of weeks declares that she is homeless as her husband threw her out because of her nagging.

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