After six posts dedicated exclusively to writing advice, I was starting to feel like ‘Lucy Goacher’ had no place in ‘Lucy Goacher’s Blog’ – so I’m reclaiming it. I’ll still be posting my usual weekly/monthly advice guides with Scrabble piece headers, but with extra posts a couple of times a week to document my experiences, accomplishments, and setbacks as an aspiring novelist.
And the first of these, my friends, is an accomplishment!
Amid querying and subbing my mystery novel BEYOND THE CALL OF BEAUTY to agents both in the UK and the US, I had a go at the Mash Stories flash fiction competition. And I got shortlisted! Not bad for someone who sucks at short fiction, eh?
My story Homecoming Queen is live on the site right now, and I’d love to know what you think of it. It won’t win – too much other ridiculous talent – but, as they say, it’s lovely to be included! And you should take a look at the rest of the shortlist, too. What’s your favourite entry? What’s your least favourite? Could you do better?
Mash is a great competition and one I thoroughly recommend to all writers, whether old hats or complete novices. Each quarter writers are invited to submit an original story of less than 500 words for free following just one rule: they must include three randomly selected key words. In the past these have been blow-dryer, honesty, and cockpit, and criminal, fashion, and ankle – but the words for my entry were art, jealousy, and congress.
You can approach the words in whichever way you like, either basing the story around one/all of them or hiding them completely in passing references and unusual phrases. It’s entirely up to you. You can go for emotion or plot; dialogue or monologue; style or substance. But as long as your story’s thought-provoking, enjoyable, and mistake-free, you’re in with a shot of the shortlist.
This quarter’s key words are taxes, vinegar, and carpenter. The competition is free to enter – but if you join the Mash Club for a small fee, you can submit up to three stories and get in-depth feedback on each of them. Whether free or subscribed, it’s all good fun. So what are you waiting for? Get Mashing!
I’m thrilled to be shortlisted – especially since my writing buddy Gareth Hewitt actually won a previous quarter – and it’s given me a real confidence boost amid the flurry of rejection emails. It’s not quite a gushing offer of representation from a literary agent, but it’ll do!
So, have you subbed to Mash to before? Will you this time? What other competitions out there are good for short story writers?
Let me know in the comments!