A 100-word story – Minotaur

Beach. Photo by Khurt Williams on UnsplashIf you subscribe to Mslexia magazine, you may be aware that in addition to the print magazine, subscribers receive a regular e-newsletter titled Little Ms. This includes news, inspirations, story prompts and opportunities to submit ideas and fiction.

My favourite bit is always the Flash Card, which offers up an often fairly strange image for you to interpret in 100 words of less.

The inspiration for submissions to the October Little Ms showed a man with his head down a hole in a beach.I’m happy to say that my response, below, was selected for publication in the October newsletter.

He had to admit it was a short-term solution at best. But there was something lovely about the dark, cool quiet of the hole he’d stuck his head down. It calmed his urge to snort and paw his feet against the sand. The aim of the holiday had been to escape work stress. It was an unfortunate coincidence that Jan from accounting had booked the same Cretan resort. Off-duty, his natural minotaur head reasserted its dominance. That the hole his daughter had dug into the beach kept this from view could be his saving grace.

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Mslexia’s 2019 Fiction Awards

Mum's eye view cr Judy DarleyThis year, Mslexia Fiction Awards include their Short StoryAdult Novel and Flash Fiction competitions. The deadline for each is 30th September 2019.

Entry fees are £10 per short story, £25 per novel extract and £5 per flash fiction entry.

The winner of the Short Story competition will receive £3,000, plus the optional extras of a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor, and mentoring by an editor at Virago Press.

Three other finalists will each receive £100. All four winning stories will be published in the March 2020 issue of Mslexia.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by award-winning short story author, novelist and performer Irenosen Okojie.

The winner of the Adult Novel competition will receive £5,000 and the option of representatlon by agent Charlotte Robertson. Judges are novelist Louise Doughty, Nicola Holloway from BBC Radio 4, and Literary agent Charlotte Robertson.

The winner and four finalists will receive manuscript feedback and introductions to agents and editors at a special event held in London.

The first prize in the Flash Fiction competition is £500. The winner will be picked by Katy Fish.

Three other flash fiction finalists will each receive £50. All four winning stories will be published in the March 2020 issue of Mslexia.

Find full details at www.mslexia.co.uk. Good luck!

Enter Mslexia’s short story competition

Button on Kilve Beach cr Judy DarleyMslexia’s annual short story competition for women writers is open for entries, so now’s the time to search out and polish up your plots!

The first prize is £2,000 – one of the biggest prizes available in the genre – and includes two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Gladstone Library, and a day with a Virago editor. Not too shabby!

Three other finalists will each receive £100. The winning stories will be published in the June 2017 issue of Mslexia.

Stories must be between 300 and 3,000 words in length, not including the title. The shortlisted entries will be judged by novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy. Entires cost £10 each.

The closing date for the competition is 20th March 2017, so there’s just time to get your entry together.

You can find full details of how to enter at www.mslexia.co.uk.

Distant storms

I’ve been subscribing to Mslexia for many years, and have been relishing the little ms newsletter that goes out to subscribers ever since its launch. It’s full of ideas, inspiration and quirky nuggets of information. Each one includes a flash card – an image you’re invited to turn into a 100-word story.

IMAGE © GABCZI and SHUTTERSTOCK via Mslexia

Image © Gabczi and Shutterstock via Mslexia

They’re fantastic writing prompts, and when I saw the one shown to the left, a story crept into my mind. I wrote a version that was twice as long as it needed to be, cut it down, polished the sentences, rearranged a few, replaced some with others and finally had a piece I liked, so sent it in.

When I opened the October little miss, I discovered to my pleasure and surprise that my tale had been chosen to appear! Such a joy.

Here is the first sentence for all those none subscribers (and I urge you to subscribe at once!).

Distant storms

It’s almost a decade since anyone came by our flooded city, so when the smoke went up, a bruised tower against the sky, my heart jumped in my chest…

Write a monologue in the voice of a life model

Nude cr Judy Darley

Nude © Judy Darley

In my student days I spent many hours posing as a life model to earn a little extra beer money.

Mslexia‘s latest call for monologues caught my nostalgic eye for this reason. This section of the magazine is aimed particularly towards writers of script, but anyone is welcome to submit.

The biggest challenge is the brief word count, just 200 words. The next issue’s is specifically for a piece in the voice of a life model. It’s a great opportunity to put yourself in the, well, I want to say shoes, but more accurately, under the skin of a life model, whether you’ve experienced this for yourself or not. How do they feel about being naked in a room full of clothed strangers? Are they chilly? Uncomfortable? Or are they to busy thinking about their lives to feel anything beyond the importance of staying still until the art tutor releases them?

The deadline for submissions is 12th January 2015. Send your monologue either to submissions@mslexia.co.uk (with ‘monologue’ in the subject line) or by post to Mslexia, PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1PZ.

The writer of the published monologue will receive £20.

Mslexia magazine review

Mslexia Cover issue 56I first reviewed this long-running quarterly magazine for EssentialWriters in December 2008 when the magazine launched by Debbie Taylor had just benefited from a fresh redesign.

At the beginning of April 2011 a more radical revamp was unveiled, revealing a classy matte white cover to a magazine that now boasts a spine (a physical one – it already had a metaphysical one), and a reintroduction of illustrative rather than photography cover art.

Today, the magazine maintains its strong outlook and valuable content, with in-depth interviews with notable writers working in a variety of mediums and genres, an analysis of a bestselling novel, and a gentle picking-apart-and-putting-back-together contemplation of a poem, as well as features aimed at helping you assess, improve and target your own writing. Continue reading