Friday, 29 September 2017

5th November 2017 Event - 10 Stories and Authors Selected + Ticket Info + Judge's Statement

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted stories for our 15th event 'All you need is love. Or is it?'. We received easily the highest number of stories we have ever received for a themed event - 75 Gloucestershire authors submitted 101 stories! The quality of submission was also tremendous, so the task of selection was made very difficult.

I am indebted to my co-judge Debbie Young for her wisdom, energy and conscientiousness in the task of selecting ten stories from such an outstanding field.

These are the ten stories we have chosen to be read at our event. (They are in librarians' alphabetical order).

Ashes and knee pins - Tais Brias Avila (Stonehouse)
Baby love - Mary Flood (Cheltenham)
From Newcastle with love - Nastasya Parker (Dursley)
Goodnight Irene - Simon Piney (Eastcombe)
I've lost my child - Lania Knight (Cheltenham)
The One - Martin Spice (Nailsworth)
Show me what you're made of - Chloe Turner (Stroud)
Still for sale - Emma Kernahan (Stroud)
The Wassailers' Wedding - Kim Lakin-Smith (Stroud)
When the night comes - Mel Golding (Stroud)

Congratulations to these authors. These are beautifully-crafted, memorable tales which will make a brilliant evening of short stories.

'All you need is love.Or is it?' takes place on Sunday 5 November at 8pm (doors 7.30) at the SVA in John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. This event is part of the Stroud Book Festival.

Debbie has kindly provided this judge's statement -

'It has been a pleasure to work with John Holland again to curate the content for what promises to be another terrific evening of Stroud Short Stories on 5th November.

To read and digest over 100 stories requires mental gymnastics on the part of the judges, plunging us into so many worlds for a few minutes in quick succession. As I finished the last one, I felt as if I'd just watched the complete adventures of Dr Who, with all 13 doctors, played on fast forward, except with slightly fewer monsters. It's a tribute to the writers of the submissions that I landed safely in one piece.

Alongside clusters of stories with familiar themes - and familiarity is no failing when a tale is well executed - were some startlingly original outside-the-box submissions. Two particular features leapt out at me this time: the number of references to local landmarks and the quantity of genitals. Don't take this as hint to make for your next submission a tale of group sex with Daleks on Hetty Pegler's Tump, but I've got first dibs on Rodborough's Tingle Stone with the Cybermen.

The variety in the length of submission was interesting. SSS allows a range from 500 to 1500 and that's what we received. Top tip; if you're paring a story down to match the rules, don't stop just because you've reached the maximum. Keep editing till you've eliminated all surplus words, and your story will be stronger. Succinct shorter stories will impress us more than flabby full-length ones, so to speak.

SSS has a track record of discovering gifted novices, and putting them on stage with familiar faces already on the circuit. But when we judge the stories, we have no idea who has submitted. Whatever your level of experience, if your story's made the final ten, you can be sure it's there on merit. And if it didn't make it, take heart - because it may well have been a near miss, and unlike the ten chosen authors, you'll be very welcome to submit again for the spring SSS. (Authors who read can only appear at alternate events, to give more writers a chance to share the spotlight.)

However you interpreted the theme 'All you need is love. Or is it?', it has been gratifying for me as a judge to see the outpouring of affection and respect for SSS in the form of so many carefully honed submissions, and I am proud to have been able to play a part in sharing the SSS love.'

Sunday, 24 September 2017

We are now closed for submissions for our 5 November 2017 event entitled 'All you need is love. Or is it?'

Thank you for everyone who sent us their stories. We're having a great time reading them. More news will follow soon.