The Winner Takes It All

6ws400A few weeks ago, one Saturday night, I read about Magic Oxygen’s six word competition on Twitter. The guidance on their website was, “your six-word story should present the reader with a snapshot of an event with a pertinent happening and offer a suitable enough conclusion to deliver a sense of completeness within its brevity. In other words, make it short and great! The best ones should leave the reader pondering an array of side-shoot possibilities for why it occurred and for what happens next”.

downloadI love flash fiction and as the telly was rubbish as usual, I thought I might as well have a go in collaboration with my old pal Pierre Smirnoff. And then I forgot all about submitting my entry (often the way of things after spending the night with Pierre).

So it was a lovely surprise to be told that I’d made the final nine on a shortlist, drawn up from 1,722 entries from 38 countries. Also, my entry would be read out with the other shortlisted stories and the winner would be announced live on radio.  I’m off chocolate right now (too many Weight Watchers Pro Points!) and all this unexpected excitement replaced the usual sugar rush I experience over the Easter weekend.

Appropriately, ‘The Winner Takes it All’ by ABBA was played just before the result was announced. Hubby and I paused unpacking the shopping to hear that Dan Micklethwaite’s very clever story scooped the £100 prize. You can read Dan’s winning story and the others shortlisted here.

Of course it would’ve been great to win, I’ve managed a 2nd prize in a writing competition but never a first. But it wasn’t to be, not this time… Hubby is a sore loser and looked more gutted than me and he was surprised that I wasn’t more upset by the result. Maybe it’s because I know that rejection is more common than success in the writing game and as I’ve had plenty of experience of knock backs over the years, I honestly didn’t expect to win (and the other entries were really impressive).


And although this will sound cheesy, I did win and here’s why: the competition was free to enter, it was a fun challenge, getting the email that I was shortlisted was exciting, hearing my story read aloud and discussed on radio was weird in a good way, listening to the other entries was inspiring. What’s not to like about that little list?

The word ‘winner’ has six letters in the word but my story has 6 words.

Cash withdrawn. Profile selected. Sperm deposited.

My story lost out on winning by a bawhair (recognised unit of measurement in Scotland) but there’s always next time…

Have  you tried to write a story in six words?

8 thoughts on “The Winner Takes It All

  1. Hey Helen – what a lovely blogpost! We’re delighted you’ve taken the news with good spirits and believe me, wielding the powerful Yes/No vote is indeed a burden. That said, sitting this side of the fence and reading all the entries was a ride and a half of full cream milk (yes, that was a chocolate reference) and it was an honour too.

    You are clearly a writer of skill, good humour and bounce and we hope you’ll keep an eye on what we’ve got coming up next…

    Here’s to even more suspense and excitement – keep loving the writing process lady, you’re going to make it past the flag first sometime soon I suspect!

    Tracey x

  2. Congrats, Mrs. I never use one word where six (or more) will do, so I do admire you. Your story is intriguing. And I reckon you only missed first place by half a bawhair at the most. 🙂

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