Thanks to a fellow blogger, Mr Pootler, I recently entered a short horror story competition called Twisted50. It’s a brilliant idea (and one that has turned out to be more than just a writing comp) where writers who enter are additionally encouraged to leave feedback on other stories in the competition. The minimum commitment they ask of you is to read and comment on three stories for every one story you enter; I entered two stories so therefore I was obliged to leave feedback on six others. In the end I read and left feedback on nearly 60 stories – and some people way more than that. In truth, I found myself a little caught up in the whole process, which was not only enjoyable and entertaining, but also provided some really useful experience in both giving and receiving feedback, be it good… or not so good.
The upshot of this whole process is that the 50 best stories will make it into a compendium of short horror stories called Twisted (Volume One). From the stuff I’ve read so far, this will be a wonderful book, full of some truly disturbing short stories.
For me personally the goal is not to win this competition — although that would be lovely — but to get one of my stories into the final book.
Having said that, I am happy to announce that I have both of my stories in the final. Of course, when I say ‘final’ I mean the final shortlist of 247 stories. I know this sounds like a lot for a final, but if you consider 50 stories are going into the book, I have a 1-in-5 chance of either story making it into print. Exciting.
There is a second Twisted50 competition coming up, and I wholeheartedly recommend any writer to have a go. I had never written horror before, so it pushed me regarding my genre, and I uncovered a rather dark place in my brain where these stories have been festering. The biggest benefit, however, is feeling part of a community of writers who are all contributing to a larger project.
I will post my stories on the blog in the future, or if you’d like to read them now you can do so here. In the meantime, I shall wait and see what happens as the competition progresses.
Wish me luck.
Thanks for reading.