An exciting competition this week with four authors giving us their take on the hardboiled detective noir genre, with two interesting diversions, the stories should be set in an alternative or failed future, and it should include a ‘Lemonade Stand’.
Yuki Iwama, a student at RMIT university in Melbourne, joined NiTH for the first time with the surrealist wonder of 2N5E. Stretching the reader’s imagination, Yuki’s story is a breathlessly original take on the noir fiction genre, demonstrating a willingness to take on taboo subjects and eschew traditional fiction tropes as a detective attends the funeral of a man who tried to swallow god.
Returning from a long hiatus, NiTH darling Amber Fernie brings us Sweet Release, a gritty vice story about a new drug and a pusher who is more than meets the eye. It’s a welcome return for Amber, who always delivers on the promise of the brief.
Dead bodies are often frigid. But compared to the seven others logged and filed this shift, this one’s another level of stone cold.
That’s how Ted Inver starts Lemonshade, a murder mystery that mixes some of the best genre tropes with modern motifs. Lemonshade is Ted’s first story for the NiTH Writing Contest, but it is clearly not his first rodeo. A well paced, detailed and excellently plotted story that has us dying for more from Ted.
Finally the unstoppable Lydia Trethewey delivers the goods with the Vomit Trail, a detective thriller about the human cost of drug trafficking. While it might be set in the near future, the themes are modern and timely.
Only 2.5 points separated the four stories this week, with our judges split as to which tale they thought was the best. Each author was rated top by at least one Judge, making it almost impossible to separate them.
However, a favourite has emerged. Taking first place by a mere half point, please congratulate Ted Inver for his story, Lemonshade!
This is Ted’s first win at NiTH, and continues the pattern we’ve seen in 2015 of many first time shortlisters taking out their first win. All in all, Lemonshade is a welcome addition to the winners circle.
Thanks to our writers this week for a great competition, and to our judges for their valuable time reading and scoring the stories. Coming up tomorrow, we’ll see the short list for the Woolf’s Peak Award, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, we also have interesting interviews with Sarah Henry and Sarah Al-saad about their writing process from late last week.
As always we’ll have more interviews, writing tips and Prompts throughout the week. So thanks for supporting NiTH and keep on writing!