Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Debbie Young on Judging our sold-out 11 November event 'What Makes a Monster & Other Stories'

I was delighted to be asked back by SSS organiser John Holland this autumn to co-judge the latest Stroud Short Stories submissions. John's well-honed system, underpinned by Christiane Holland's efficiency, makes the process a pleasure, allowing the judges to focus entirely on the stories rather than the admin. It is exactly how a good short story event or competition should be run.

With no set theme this time, it was anyone's guess as to what kind of stories might come in. Tantalising titles whetted my appetite to the unfolding array. When we opened the envelope containing the names of the authors, after choosing our Final Ten, there were plenty of surprises, including the appearance of a number of names new to SSS. That respected authors whose stories had previously been chosen did not make the final cut demonstrates the high standard of the submissions.

I'm always pleased when we select entries from writers still learning their craft. That SSS welcomes all-comers (and is free to enter) is part of its charm - and part of its power in nurturing local writing talent.

I particularly like the fact that SSS does not rely on the opinion of one judge, as having two results in more balanced decisions. If either John or I - or anyone else - had been sole judge, the final list may have looked quite different.

So if you submitted but your story wasn't chosen, keep going - because at the end of the day what matters most is that you keep writing, that you keep refining your craft and keep putting your best stories out into the world.

Debbie Young