Announcing the shortlist for the 2018 OWT Short Fiction Prize Reply

First there were over 600, then there were 70, and now there remain just twelve. Twelve good people and true. Our dirty dozen. Choosing just 12 finalists from our 70 favourite entries has been hard. We were tempted to publish another list of all the pieces we wanted to squeeze onto the shortlist and couldn’t, but it would have been pretty much the same as the longlist.

The 2018 shortlist includes established names and emerging talents. It features two people who were shortlisted for the 2017 prize, which is a pretty amazing achievement on their part. One of those authors, Nathan Alling Long, was last year’s eventual winner. Can anyone dethrone the reigning champion? Find out, here, on Monday 16th.

  1. Pax Chmara
  2. Bari Lynn Hein
  3. Amarachi Iheanyichukwu
  4. Jen Knox
  5. Monique Lennon
  6. Nathan Alling Long
  7. Jennifer Moore
  8. Hillard Morley
  9. Yong Takahashi
  10. Alexander Xavier Urpí
  11. Hannah Whiteoak
  12. Grace Wynter

story-prize-poster-2018

Story structure example: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (tip 81) 1

Some years ago, former-US President George W. Bush named The Very Hungry Caterpillar as his favourite childhood book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t published until he was 23 and fresh out of Yale. Still, while it’s not advanced post-graduate reading, it does have a perfect structure, from which we can learn a lot.

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Ian McEwan’s ‘Psychopolis’: Imagery, subject, theme (tip 80) Reply

In this video, D.D. Johnston discusses how imagery is often the connecting point between subject and theme (for a reminder about subject and theme, see writing tip 71). He looks at Ian McEwan’s short story ‘Psychopolis’ and presents a weird theory about Magpies. Psychopolis is available here, starting on page 52.

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Flannery O’Connor and the magic gesture: how literary short stories work (tip 79) Reply

In our last video, we considered the similarities between short stories and jokes. We said that, just like the punchline of a joke, whatever happens at the climax of a story is unexpected, but in retrospect seems obvious and inevitable. In this video, DD Johnston develops that idea and think about what it is that happens at the climax of most successful literary short stories. (We say ‘literary’ short stories, since in other genres the endings of stories can sometimes be more about plot resolution than character transition.)


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Short stories are a joke! (tip 78) Reply

In the run up to this year’s Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Competition, we’re doing a series of posts on short fiction. Previous videos have looked at beginning a short story. Today, D.D. Johnston begins to reflect on the importance of endings, and why short stories are like jokes.

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