Last night I was at the Beach and Barnicott in Bridport for the 2013 story slam, organised by Frances Colville and Kathy Hallsworth, where I had been invited to be one of the judges.
If, like me, you’ve never been to a story slam before, I’ll explain to you what happens.
The format is very straightforward. Authors register to take part and their names are put into a hat and drawn at random. Each then has five minutes in front of the microphone to read their short story.
The five minutes was strictly enforced and if you are taking part in one of these events I would strongly advise you to make sure your story stays within this time frame. Several over-ran which was a shame because we never heard the ending and, so often with a story this length, ending is everything. You final line is your moment to wow your audience, to leave them with the resonance of what you have just read.
The stories we heard were amazing. We had so many varied themes and wonderful settings. Fabulous characterisation and daring story structures. But in the end one stood out for us all as the clear winner. A delightful story called Denial by Gill Smith. This really was a perfect example of how to write a short story!
The second and third places were harder to choose because we all had our favourites but in the end we selected Ged Duncan in second place for his bold story structure and vivid scene setting, and Maya Pieris in third place for a piece that was almost poetic, every word packing a punch, with sinister undertones!
The venue was cosy and informal, the turnout really good, and it was a sheer delight to see so many people embracing the spoken word.
And of course it was great exposure for Red Rock!
Here are my fellow judges, Julie Musk of Roving Press and short story writer Gail Aldwin, ready to start judging.
And a big thanks to the organisers for making the event such a success.