Jeffrey Archer has announced the three finalists of his Short Story Challenge, sponsored by Kobo. The challenge was to write a short story with a beginning, a middle, an end and a full narrative arc – in only 100 words. Kobo received almost 1000 entries and selected the best 20 semi-finalists. Jeffrey then selected his favourite 3 stories and announced the results to a lively crowd at the Kobo Stand at this week’s international London Book Fair – and on his birthday too!
The three finalists now have the opportunity to send the 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis of their novel-in-progress to the Curtis Brown book literary agents, and will win a detailed written report on their work. Curtis Brown will then choose an overall winner, who will be awarded a free place on the first ever Curtis Brown Creative online novel-writing course, courtesy of Kobo.
And so, without further ado, here for your delectation are the three winning 100-word stories…
Timothy Reynolds, Temper Temper
Leon slammed the spade’s blade into the dirt cellar floor. ‘Hack my Facebook account will she? Bitch! No wonder Dad ran off with the babysitter-slash-cheerleader when I was ten.’
The pile of dirt grew. A car door banged shut. He dug faster, mumbling. ‘I’ll kill her, bury her, hack her Facebook account, and make it look like she’s travelling. ‘The shovel hit something hard. ‘What the hell?’ He brushed off dirt. In the dim light it looked like two skulls and a pompom.
‘Whatcha doing, Honey?’
Leon spun at the sound of his mother’s voice, but not fast enough.
Robert Maslen, Voices
Never date a ventriloquist, I mean never.
Okay, first couple of weeks, there’s a novelty. Soup complains to the waiter, the dog squatting in the park asks for Sports Illustrated. Funny.
And bed, voices from every which way, like banging the Cleveland Browns. I had worse.
But it wears thin. Then at Uncle Arty’s funeral, he does the little voice coming out of the box. And pandemonium. That did it.
Ventriloquists? Trust me, steer clear.
New guy? Fixes high voltage cables wearing chain mail, way up, half a mile or something. Guy like that, you know where you are.
Patsy Collins, Out for Revenge
He dumped her. OK, that happens but he didn’t do it gently, privately. He humiliated her. Publicly, nastily. A mistake.
She’s now a woman scorned: showing her fury. She must have revenge. He must die.
Accident, murder, cancer, volcano, suicide? Nothing is beyond her control. She will watch him ugly with pain, degraded, begging forgiveness.
Or maybe she won’t. Perhaps he’ll just vanish without trace. Will he be missed and mourned, or quickly forgotten as though he’d never existed? It doesn’t matter; he won’t ever be back.
When you’re a soap actor, you must never, never upset the scriptwriter.
If you’d like to read the rest of the 20 stories selected by Kobo, and find out if you agree with Jeffrey Archer as to which 3 are the best, you can download them as a free ebook from Kobo Writing Life.
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