Halloween themed contest winners

Flash Fiction

General Feedback

Thank you again to everyone who entered! We had some fabulous entries and it was really hard to choose a winner.

We wanted to provide some general feedback which we hope will be of some use:

– There were a couple of poems entered. Whilst these were great, we were unfortunately
unable to judge them as they are not classed as flash fiction.
– Many of the entries felt like the beginning of a story. It is fine to leave the story open ended
– particularly as this was a horror theme. However, there should be some sort of a
beginning, middle, end with an arc.
– Some of the stories could have been more subtle. Don’t tell us what’s happening, show us. Eg. (Very rough example not taken from anyone’s story!) Don’t say ‘A zombie followed me home’ but something along the lines of ‘Footsteps dragged behind me. I turned, hairs rising on my arms, as I took in the reaching arms, hollow cheeks and rotten teeth stained with blood.’ Let the reader do some of the work.

Thanks again for trusting us with your words and we hope you’ll enter next time!

Short Story

General Feedback

There were so many brilliant entries, and you made it such a hard decision to pick just one, I could easily have picked more. I’ve been chilled to the core, creeped out by your spooky imagery, and your dark and dangerous characters, and those poor unfortunates in the wrong place at the wrong time. There have been graveyards galore, creepy crypts, Fairgrounds and haunted houses and hotels, terrifying trees and hobgoblins and horrors of the night. So many believable and well-rounded characters in 1000 words and under which is no easy task, so well done to all that entered as I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every entry.

WINNERS (and runners-up!)


Winner: Don’t Open the Box by Emma Bradley

Sally: I ADORE the voice (perfect for MG) and humour in this flash. Whilst the story is open ended, it has an arc which was missing in some of the entries.

Anna: I love the clear and funny voice of this flash, perfect for the age category. It also established two characters and their relationship in a very short space of time. The Pandora’s Box reference was woven into the narrative with skill and clarity, without feeling laboured at all. Very impressive.

Second place: A Tapping Foot Behind Me by Aaron Warren

Sally: I love the depth and heart in this one. It’s a great example of a flash where there’s a lot more to the story then just this excerpt ie. The grandma and her life and relationship with the MC.

Anna: Poignant and evocative, with beautiful description that was still appropriate for MG: a tough thing to pull off.

Third place: All Partied Out by Amy Feest



Winner: Ghost Train by Anna Rollinson

Second place: The Ice House by Catherine Ogston

Third place: The Magpie by Ruth Cooper


Honourable mentions:

The Tree of Unforgiveness by Jane Dudeney

The Exchange by Nicola Rodie

The Cupboard Under the Stairs by Alison Hunt

Winning stories will be published in our forthcoming magazine. Winners will be contacted by Stuart in the next few days.

Our thanks to everyone who entered, and to our 3 judges, Sally Doherty, Anna Orridge and Emma Finlayson-Palmer.

We’ll back in the new year with a new theme…until then, May the Force be with you!


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