A couple of weeks ago, we blogged about The Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge – the writing competition that Curtis Brown Creative is running in association with Kobo. If, like us, you’re struggling to squeeze a story with a full narrative arc – ie, a beginning, middle and end – into the 100 words (excluding title) required, then here’s some inspiration from the man who’ll be judging your entries.
Unique – by Jeffrey Archer
Paris, March 14, 1921
The collector relit his cigar, picked up the magnifying glass, and studied the triangular 1874 Cape of Good Hope.
‘I did warn you there were two,’ said the dealer, ‘so yours is not unique.’
‘Ten thousand francs.’
The collector wrote out a cheque, before taking a puff on his cigar, but it was no longer alight. He picked up a match, struck it, and set light to the stamp.
The dealer stared in disbelief as the stamp went up in smoke.
The collector smiled.
‘You were wrong, my friend,’ he said, ‘mine IS unique.’
As you’d expect from a master storyteller such as Jeffrey Archer (an author who has sold more than 250 million copies of his books in 97 countries), writing economically is something of a strength. Our winner – who will be awarded a free place on a forthcoming Curtis Brown Creative online novel-writing course – will need not only to stay within Jeffrey’s chosen wordcount, but also pen a similar stand-alone tale that doesn’t stray into character-sketch or description territory.
To enter The Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge, please send your mini-stories to Kobo. The Kobo team will select the best 20 stories for publication in a free digital anthology available from the Kobo website. The competition is open to any writer at work on a novel (not including those who currently have a book deal with a publisher), and able to provide the opening 3,000 words and a synopsis if selected as a winner.
Please note that The Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge is only open to those in the UK, USA and Canada (excluding Quebec).
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.