Best short stories for 2017
It is with great pleasure that the team behind the Mirror Lakes and Central Otago Short Story competition announce the winners in the inaugural competition.
We were stunned and a little overwhelmed by the large number of entries (near 200) and exceptional quality. It has been a delight to read your work and we hope to see more of it in the future.
We owe a special thank you to our sponsors, New World, Paper Plus and Grey Ridge Wines for supplying the generous prizes and supporting us in developing the next generation of creative talent in this region.
Founding sponsor of the competition Michael Laws, of The Message, praised the talent unearthed by this inaugural competition.
‘‘It was my hope that I could provide an outlet for, and a recognition of, the writing talent in our region. I’ve been blown away by the potential that this competition has unearthed.’’
The junior writers, in particular, were outstanding and he intended developing an under13 section next year and compiling an anthology for publication.
In preparation for next year, chief judge in the adult competition Diane Brown offered some tips for aspiring short story writers.
She was looking for a story, that was utterly complete in itself, and wanted language that flowed and carried the reader through the story.
‘‘Some entries, though well written, seemed more akin to reminiscence and memoir and lacked a sense of story and thus were left aside.
‘‘As the wonderful short story writer Lorrie Moore says, ‘A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.’ ‘‘
Chief junior competition judge Jane Bloomfield was keen to see young writers tackle unexpected subjects with a fresh approach and a positive outcome.
‘‘Leave me, the reader, still thinking at the end.
‘‘Make me laugh, and never write ‘and then I woke up!’ If it was me entering I’d avoid really really sad topics. Not that they shouldn’t be written about, but because they are overused in competitions.’’
She found some of the more elegantly written, darker themed pieces by older teens lacked story, whereas younger entries from 11 -13 year olds had more original plot ideas and injected some humour.
Starting next week the Mirror will share the winning stories over the summer months with Mirror readers and on our digital platforms Stuff.co.nz and Neighbourly.