Welcome to the LWB writing competition page. Currently I run two competitions a year:
Page 100 competition which is open for entries from June to September each year.
Favourite Paragraph competition which is open for entries from December to March.
Page 100 competition results!
I'm pleased to announce I have decided on my winning Page 100s. I read and re-read the short listed Pages, and read and re-read the first three chapters. And what a task. In the end there was, for me, one clear winner... but it was much harder to come up with the runners up. The quality of the writing was fantastic. There is a wealth of writing talent out there.
My next job will be to provide a bit of feedback for all the 21 long listed Page 100s, and also to provide the winner with the critique of their first three chapters.
Without further ado, I'm delighted to announce that the winner of the LWB Page 100 competition is Debra Hills with Monkeyflower.
The runners up are Claire Allen with Eva's Shadow and Tina deBellegarde with Winter Witness.
Here are all three winning Page 100s with a few words about why they stood out for me...
‘Dad, you’ve got a job!’ I knew he’d find something before his redundancy ran out. Mam’s penny-pinching was all for nothing.
‘Not a job, pet, a brainwave! What do you say to Bobby’s Dazzlers - South Tyneside’s very first talent agency?’
Excitement fizzes through me. Talent agencies make people famous.
‘I say South Tyneside doesn’t need its own talent agency.’ Nana reaches for a Woodbine and Dad lights it, then takes one for himself.
‘Trust me, Ma, this town is teeming with talent.’
‘Can me and Gail be on your books?’ I ask. ‘We want to win the Eurovision Song Contest and live in a castle with remote control curtains.’
‘Of course, pet. What about you, Hel? South Shields’ answer to Hazel O’Connor.’
Hel plays another round of Ghost Town as if she hasn’t heard. She’s such a misery-guts, not wanting to be famous. But Dad doesn’t mind. He pulls a can out of his jacket, cracks it open and raises it in the air.
‘To my first million!’
‘They say unemployment causes depression,’ Nana laughs. ‘You’re as breezy as a walk along the pier.’
‘I’m here to sign you up, Ma. How about I make you the new Mrs Mills?’
Nana’s face freezes. Mrs Mills is the fat granny who used to play piano on telly.
This page was enchanting from the first read. Warm, funny, working class... excellent dialogue skipping right off the page. I could see and hear these characters...
The first three chapters are excellent too, and I can't wait to critique them, which is Debra's prize.
“I’m here, Mum.” It was a plea not to have my efforts dismissed. A clawing effort all this time, long before she was ill, to keep showing up. To keep being her daughter even if the accolade didn’t reward me with a typical mother; a motherly love. I pulled my hand from the book, sweat tracing my palm, and zipped the bag closed. “If you really feel this decision has nothing to do with me then why am I here?”
“Because you are my daughter.” The one-sided black and white of it all was blinding.
“You can’t have it both ways! You can’t tell me it’s nothing to do with me and in the next breath tell me to be here because I am your daughter! If I am your daughter, be my mother!” The words rang through the air like they had cleaned it into a sharp, crisp gas that chilled the mugginess and brought us to a clarity of thought.
“I fought to have you.”
“You fought to have a child.”
“Yes, and that child was you.”
“But you don’t know me! You have no idea. This relationship is all for you. What do I get? And what about being a mother? When do you actually take an interest in me beyond getting me to give you attention or run errands?”
She pulled at her loose trouser leg. There were ridges of excess fabric that used to be a good fit. I waited for an answer. There must have been a thought, something she was mulling over without wanting to say but all she could offer was, “What about it?”
“Did you fight for that? Did you think about what it meant to be a mother before, before you had a child? About what you would do and say and think and feel and how you would protect us and provide for us? Because to me, Mum, it looks like a lazy inheritance. You inherited the title when you gave birth to me. You did not work for the title and you didn’t earn it.”
On the first reading of this page, I was drawn in by the dramatic dialogue... what has gone so drastically wrong between this mother and daughter...? Who can resist the pure drama of "If I am your daughter, be my mother!" Ooff... thrilling stuff. Well deserved runner up.
Mike stood on the stoop waiting for Bianca to answer.
He assumed she was home. The light was on, and he could smell the logs in the fire.
The smoke mingled with the snowy crispness and transported him to his childhood days at his grandparent’s farm in Illinois. As a boy he looked forward to the snow covering their vast fields, the smell of the fire, and the lights on the enormous trees he and his grandfather would cut down every year at Christmas.
He had a wood-burning stove now, a new model he had taken great pains to pick out. It was the centerpiece of his living room, but Maggie made such a fuss about the mess that he rarely used it.
When the door opened, the warmth engulfed him. Not just the heat from the fire, but the coziness of the room. The house was reminiscent of an earlier age, comfortably worn and faded, but inviting. Snapshots of quiet evenings in the Illinois farmhouse slipped through his memory. Reading in front of the fire, or playing silent games of chess with his grandfather while his grandmother’s gentle clanging in the kitchen foretold of pot roast and dumplings or meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Mike still had his grandfather’s worn copy of Moby Dick on his night table.
Bianca’s front door opened directly into the kitchen. A golden glow from the sun setting on the yellow cabinets illuminated it. The fire danced, and steam rose from a mug perched on the edge of the old stove.
He suddenly had an overwhelming desire to settle into the rocking chair by the stove and sip tea late into the evening with this woman.
But she remained standing and didn't offer him a seat.
“Good afternoon, Sheriff. What can I do for you?”
This one also stood out from the very first reading. The descriptions are vivid, the setting seems to be quiet, calm... but what is going on? Why is the sheriff calling on the occupant of this cozy, worn and faded home...? A fabulous runner up!
Thank you to all who entered, each and every one of you has made this competition a great success. Fingers crossed for the Favourite Paragraph competition; entries are now open!
Good luck with your writing x