Good things come in threes this week with newcomer David R Ford entering a trial by fire with NiTH heavyweights Ash Warren and Lydia Trethewey. After his win last week, Ash is edging closer to the top of the Leaderboard, with Lydia sitting pretty among the NiTH elite.
‘She’s Funny That Way‘ is everything we have come to expect from Lydia, bringing together multiple ideas into tidy, meaningful story that is exciting to read. Gwen, a fan of music from the era of the Great Depression, is less a fan of the depression itself. Not wanting to see another financial crisis, Gwen does what any concerned citizen would do, and starts making use of her basement.
And while Gwen might be acutely aware of what she is doing, the protagonist, or should I say protagonists in Ash Warren’s Confessions of Thomas Knell find themselves at split motivations.
Dual occupancy seems to be a problem for Simon, and his alter-ego has done some very bad things. Thomas Knell might have a brilliant mind, but it’s anything but beautiful.
Lastly, David R Ford’s Conscious Nightmare has the black heart of a great horror story. Lying in bed, our protagonist waits for the effects of the sleeping pill to take hold, unaware that retribution lies in wait just outside the window…
It’s not easy writing from the point of view of the antagonist. The hero is the one we admire, and an antihero is often just a hero with a bad attitude. True antagonists aren’t good people. They are hard to cheer for and, without the skilled hand of a good author, hard to read about.
All three authors this week stepped up to the challenge of writing and bad people. But how did our judges fare in reading them?
While I won’t reveal exact scores, there was only 3.5 points separating first from third. With competitions so tightly contested, every win counts.
Our winner this week has worked hard to get where they are, submitting stories just about every week and openly taking on feedback to improve where they can. Celebrating his second win in a row, please congratulate Ash Warren for another outstanding victory.
This win sees Ash progress up the ladder to stand among the elite of NiTH’s short fiction writers. For anyone thinking or entering a NiTH competition, Ash and Lydia both only started entering contests a few months ago, so even if you’re not making the short list straight away, practice and perseverance pays off.
And from this week onwards we are offering judges feedback to all participants, regardless of their standing. Feedback is by request only, so make sure you drop us an email at needleinthehaywritingcomp(@)gmail.com if you want to hear what the judges have to say.
There’s a new contest up right now in the form of the ‘Woolf’s Peak‘ Award and last but not least there will be a new shortlist up tomorrow for the Lemonade Carbonade Award, where a few of NiTHs heavy hitters will pitch us stories in the ultimate writerly showdown.
Stay tuned for that one.
Thanks to all the writers, readers and judges who participated in this week’s contest. NiTH wouldn’t exist without a vibrant community to keep it going. And a special thanks to Madeline Pettet who has been toiling away behind the scenes judging every story in the last dozen contests. Madeline’s commitment to helping others improve is the soul of what NiTH is about, and we wouldn’t exist without hp from people like her.
We are two months away from our third birthday. So don’t forget about our Major Contest, and we’ll be back tomorrow with another short list!