Just click on the icons for more information:

Competitions...

Congratulations to STUART SADLER of Baildon ...

... WINNER of our Supernatural! writing competition, with his beautifully written story "Laid to Rest". Stuart Sadler wins £100, plus a personalised bottle of Champagne, and a free critique.

Read his prize winning entry below ...

Laid to Rest

Laura first appeared to me on a Tuesday. I remember because it was the day Elvis died, or so my newspaper claimed. I almost went the way of the King when I saw her there naked and bleeding. Said she wanted me to help catch her killer. Turned out she'd been butchered in my bathroom. I moved out the next day.

Laura moved with me, but at least I didn't live in an apartment where someone had been murdered. That's just creepy. Guess I should have asked why it was so cheap.

She was a tenacious ghost, though accommodating. I mean she was dead so it wasn't like her thing couldn't wait while I got back on my feet. I'd lost my job, my wife Rachel, and moved half way across the country. But I said I'd help so eventually I turned detective, which wasn't difficult seeing as she knew who'd done it. Benefits of being a restless spirit I suppose. I just needed proof: the killer's ring. For that I had to go back to the scene of the crime, only this time as a plumber which, luckily, was my profession. I found the ring in the u-bend, made an anonymous call about a cold case and they sent the guy down for twenty years.

The next day I took her some roses, her favourite she said. I prefer chrysanthemums, but it's her grave I guess.

Now it's done I'm starting to wonder: is Rachel helping someone catch me?

Ends

Congratulations to our two runners-up. Here are their stories, in alphabetical order.  First ...


"Room for Two"

by Pamela Trudie Hodge ...

I like sitting on this bench in St. Mary’s churchyard. It’s quiet since they built the crem down the road and my Lorna’s here. See that leaning headstone? It’s our anniversary today but it seems like yesterday when I proposed. Christmas Eve and I hadn’t planned it so we made do with a ring from a cracker and she just smiled.

She’s sitting beside me now. I can’t always see her. Something to do with vibrations but she slips her hand into mine and I feel her head on my shoulder.

The blackbird is singing evensong. Its nest is over there among the briars. Lorna’s favourite, a wild rose. She was just as lovely.

There’s that old lady with her bunch of carnations. I wave but she doesn’t see.

I couldn’t cope when Lorna died. All those happy years and then –well – nothing left. It was the pub first and then the streets. I’d search for a newspaper in the litter bins in the park. Not a tabloid. Too small. One of the big ones and with a sheet of plastic it was as good as a duvet.

Lorna’s tugging at my hand. It’s time to go. She doesn’t like being on her own at night. Never did. We drift over to the leaning headstone. It’s quite a knack sliding into the soil but it’s warm down there and we’ve got each other.

I’ll be back on the bench tomorrow so, if you can see me, give me a wave.

THE END

 

And ...

"Coming Home"

by John Maskey

It was 3am and safe to come out.

Frank kept a low profile during the day. He was too old for the abuse doled out to the homeless on the city’s streets.

Weekends were the best. There were always a few half-full bottles of beer left abandoned, forgotten takeaways and dropped kebabs. His one-man party.

Sometimes there was money, or phones, bus passes, umbrellas, anything that could be sold.

Outside a restaurant a bunch of roses were strewn on the pavement. Frank chuckled. He pictured a romantic gesture had been badly misjudged, or an intended apology had ended disastrously.

Roses were June’s favourite. How long had it been? Frank couldn’t remember. When he lost her he spiralled into drink, lost his job, lost his home, everything. Now home was a ledge in a disused warehouse, a newspaper wrapped around his legs for warmth, filthy blankets, and a pillow of old clothes.

Something amid the roses caught Frank’s eye. It was gold. His heart beat faster. This could mean big money. It was a ring.

But it was June’s. There was no doubt. He felt faint.

Then he heard a voice.

“Hello Frank.”

It was June, holding a red rose. She was as lovely as the day they met. Joy spread through him.

“Come home with me,” she said, her hand outstretched. Frank couldn’t speak. He took her hand and basked in her radiance.

He glanced over his shoulder and wondered who the dishevelled man was lying among the flowers.

 

ENDS

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

OUR SPRING 2017 COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED ...

"Lights, camera ... action!"

OPENED: 1 FEBRUARY 2017

CLOSED: 1 JUNE 2017

Thank you everyone for your fantastic entries - please see our home page for our shortlist, as of 23 June 2017.

PRIZE: £100, plus a bottle of personalised champagne, plus a free critique of up to 1,000 words of your work.

ENTRY FEE: £3.50 per entry - £1 goes to literacy charity Children in Crisis.

RULES: See below. Please read the rules carefully.

**********************************

We try to make our competitions an exercise in writerly skills, and this is what our latest competition was all about ...

 

Why did we call our competition "Lights, camera ... action!"?

It's nothing to do with screenplays, though we'd be perfectly happy if you wanted to put your entry in that form. Just as we were finishing our latest WriteStars critique for a client, James Patterson was interviewed on the BBC. This ultra best-selling thriller writer talked about "turning on the film projector in people's heads", and this is exactly what our latest competition is about.

In 250 words, tell us a story. Hook, beginning, middle and end.

It's a competition designed to test your sharpest writing skills. Can you edit a short story down to 250 words? Can you hone your prose to cut out unnecessary words? Can you paint a picture with words?

Here's a quick tip ...

Our personal bugbear is adverbs. As many of you will know, these "ly" words can really slow the action down.

For example: --- "I don't know," he said, angrily. ---

Do you really need that "angrily"? Why not contract it and make the words work so much better. What about ...

"I don't know," he snapped.

Or even ... "I don't know!" He sat down abruptly. "All right," said Jane, "there's no need to snap."

These examples do exactly the same job as the original, but allow the reader to picture the scene themselves, in their own head, rather than be told what to think by you, the writer. They will thank you for this. Remember that old adage - "show, don't tell". We all know what someone looks like when they snap - angry face! So the reader can picture it, they don't need to be told with an "angrily". This is just one example. You'll find it cropping up even in experienced writers' work - we have to catch ourselves, too!

So, back to the competition. In 250 words, tell us a story. Let your words paint a picture.

Handwritten entries are welcome. We don't mind how you lay out your entry, as long as we can read it.

HOW TO ENTER: Enter all our competitions via email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and pay for your entry via PayPal on our payment page, or by post to WriteStars Ltd, 43 Berkeley Square, London. W1J 5FJ, including a cheque for the entry fee.

Winning entries will be published on this website, with the winner's permission, though sometimes we'll hold back the text if the winner wants to work on it with a view to publication.

RULES: Entries must be original, the writer's own work, and must not have been previously published in any form - so please don't precis an existing, published, piece of work.

If entering via email, please include your entry within the email and not as an attachment. This will be much appreciated!

This competition is open to all writers - published and unpublished.

WriteStars' decision is final. If you want to know why your own entry was not successful, let us know - we're happy to offer a quick bit of feedback. We will do our best to acknowledge your entry's arrival, if it comes via email. We regret we cannot acknowledge postal entries, unless you include an email address.

If this is the first writing competition you have entered, please let us know!

Please note: WriteStars cannot accept responsibility for entries delayed or lost, either in the post or through technical problems, however this may arise.

WriteStars cannot take responsibility for any viruses transferred by whatever means to entrants' computers.

WriteStars cannot take responsibility for breaches in computer security and/or any consequences of hacking, however these may arise and whatever these may be. If you are concerned about this, please send your entry hard copy to us at WriteStars Ltd, 43 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5FJ.

Please note you enter this competition at your own risk.

Hard copy of rules is available, just ask. Handwritten entries welcome.

Entries (and any queries): via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by post to The Final Word, WriteStars Ltd, c/o 43 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5FJ. Or call us on 020 3078 7825. Good luck!

 

************************************************************************

CONGRATULATIONS TO CELINE DOMENECH AND ELLEN EVERS - JOINT WINNERS OF HOLIDAY!

Scroll down for their fantastic winning entries ...

AND NOW ... WE ARE ABOUT TO ANNOUNCE THE LONG-LIST OF OUR "FINAL WORD" COMPETITION.

Entrants had to write the final 100 words or so of a story - and leave us guessing what happens to lead up to their intriguing/shocking/moving/beguiling ending!

PRIZE: £100, plus a bottle of personalised champagne, plus a free critique of up to 1,000 words of your work.

ENTRY FEE: £3.50 per entry - £1 goes to literacy charity Children in Crisis.

Rules: Enter all our competitions via email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and pay for your entry via PayPal on our payment page, or by post to WriteStars Ltd, 'Holiday', 43 Berkeley Square, London. W1J 5FJ, including a cheque for the entry fee. Winning entries will be published on this website, with the winner's permission, though sometimes we'll hold back the text if the winner wants to work on it with a view to publication.

This competition is open to all writers - published and unpublished. WriteStars' decision is final.

Please note: WriteStars does not accept responsibility for entries delayed or lost, either in the post or through technical problems, however they may arise.

WriteStars cannot take responsibility for any viruses transferred by whatever means to entrants' computers.

ANY QUERIES?

Please write to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or to our registered address, as above. Good luck!

Entries (and any queries): via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by post to The Final Word, WriteStars Ltd, c/o 43 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5FJ. Or call us on 020 3078 7825. Good luck!

 

And here are Ellen Evers' and Celine Domenech's winning Holiday! entries ...

 

"THANKS!"

By Ellen Evers

 

Dear Mum & Dad

Just a quick note to say thanks again for the fabulous holiday. It was so generous of you to foot the bill for everything; we will pay you back - promise!

We had a really relaxing time; it was bliss to catch up on our sleep. Julie was very grateful that you took care of the sprogs especially as you also shopped and cooked for every meal Mum. Respect!

You are both marvellous with the twins; doing the night feeds too. I don't know where you get your patience, Julie and I lost ours long ago!

That couple we met in the next villa - what a laugh they were. Thanks for babysitting every night so that we could meet them. Haven't had such late nights (or hangovers!) in ages. It helped when you did the driving Dad even though you couldn't have a drink but I'm sure you think driving your family safely is more important than a pint!

Our Tommy always has been an early riser and it was great of you to entertain him even at 5am! What a good thing we banned him from his iPad so that you had quality time with him and no distractions. He's such a bright little fellow and he kept asking me what NA means as you kept whispering it to Mum. Let me know so I can tell him.

Fancy doing it again next year? I'll have paid you back by then.

Love S & j x

*******************************************************

(Brilliant. It took us a while to work out what "NA" means - we won't spoil it for you ...)

*******************************************************

And here is Celine's moving and original entry ...

"WISH YOU WERE HERE"

by Celine Domenech

 

Another take off,
Marilyn’s hands on the belt
Clutched for dear life.

How one could enjoy
Sitting in a metal bird
Was a mystery.

Earl, beloved man
of forty years, disagreed.
He just adored planes.

He saw them as friends
Who take one around the world,
New destinations.

Below, the blue sea
Ahead, a sunny island
They’ve never been to.

Above, the sign flashed.
Obediently Marilyn
Pushed the tablet back.

Landed, passport checked,
And her luggage collected,
Marilyn was set.

The very same day
Saw her lying on the beach,
The sun on her back.

The blue waves ahead,
Were everything Earl had dreamed
Of seeing with her.

She picked a postcard
On the way back to her room,
One with the blue waves,

Tacky golden font,
Odd writing, ‘Wish U were here’,
Across the picture.

‘My Earl, my darling,
You’d love it here with me.
I followed your dream.

I took the first plane.
You’d want to stay! I miss you. 
Please stop being dead.’

The sun-tanned widow
Put the pen down, not sure what
Earl’s new address was.

 

***************************************************************************************************************

It was impossible to put one story first - we tried, but they were both so different. Celine's story, "Wish You Were Here", made our eyes prickle; and Ellen Evers' "Thanks!" brought a wry smile - we've met people like her characters!

Celine and Ellen each win £50, a bottle of champagne, and an hour's free writing tuition - if they'd like it. (This is the second time Ellen has won!)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here's our shortlist for Holiday!: Congratulations to:

Rachel Mills: Sara Roberts; Ann Wright; Celine Domenech; Ellen Evers and Carol Tooley.

The winner will be announced this Sunday (17 July 2016).

************

AT LAST! We have some results for our Holiday! competition. We're doing things slightly differently this time. It's been so hard to decide an outright winner that we are publishing here a "long-list" today (Friday 8 July) of 11 entrants who sent in stories that we particularly like. (Though we do of course like all our entries!)

In no particular order, these are ...

MARION RABY, who writes of a road trip with a neat twist; RACHEL MILLS, whose tale gives us goosebumps; SARA ROBERTS, who delivers a real shocker of an ending; SUSANNAH STEEL, a story for all of us who long to switch off our computers and head on out; and ANN WRIGHT, who has readers cheering at her smart ending.

Then there's ...

CELINE DOMENECH, whose refreshing format holds a tender love story; former WriteStars winner ELLEN EVERS, whose family scenes have a clever sting in the tail; LIZ MINISTER, who sets her moving tale of redemption in an unexpected place; ANNE MARIE MADDEN, who gives us a timely reminder of the importance of nature and nostalgia; TONY FOSTER, who sets a lovely evocative scene of family and of freedoms past; and CAROL TOOLEY, whose Uncle Michael we love - and we can practically taste that cherryade!

We'll produce a shortlist of five next week and announce the winner shortly after that. This is the hardest competition we've ever had to judge! Mainly because the entries are so different from each other, and each good in their own way.

The prize is a personalised bottle of CHAMPAGNE; £100 and a FREE CRITIQUE.

Entry fee: £3.50, and, as usual, £1 of this goes to the literacy charity Children in Crisis.

 

(Updated 2 May 2016)

OUR NEXT COMPETITION WILL BE 'THE FINAL WORD", closing date 30 November 2016. It will involve writing the last 100 words of a story - and making the reader really, really want to know not what happened next, but what happened before.

Watch out for details here.

Enter all our competitions via email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and pay for your entry via PayPal on our payment page, or by post to WriteStars Ltd, 'Holiday', 43 Berkeley Square, London. W1J 5FJ, including a cheque for the entry fee. Winning entries will be published on this website, with the winner's permission, though sometimes we'll hold back the text if the winner wants to work on it with a view to publication.

This competition is open to all writers - published and unpublished. WriteStars' decision is final.

Please note: WriteStars does not accept responsibility for entries delayed or lost, either in the post or through technical problems, however they may arise.

WriteStars cannot take responsibility for any viruses transferred by whatever means to entrants' computers.

ANY QUERIES?

Please write to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or to our registered address, as above. Good luck!

 

Past competitions ...

"IT'S A MYSTERY!" CLOSED AT MIDNIGHT ON 31 OCTOBER 2015. STILL TIME TO ENTER - JUST 250 WORDS, SEE BELOW ...

WRITESTARS' LOVE IT! COMPETITION, CLOSED AT MIDNIGHT ON 1 SEPTEMBER 2015 - AND WE HAVE HAD THE GREATEST NUMBER OF ENTRIES EVER FOR ONE OF OUR COMPETITIONS.

FANTASTIC ENTRIES TOO, THANK YOU ALL!

AS LOVE IT! IS A JOINT VENTURE WITH 'ROMANCE MATTERS', THE BRILLIANT MEMBERSHIP MAGAZINE FOR THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS' ASSOCIATION, WE WILL BE GETTING TOGETHER WITH THE MAGAZINE'S EDITOR TO GO THROUGH THE WINNERS' SHORTLIST AND DECIDE ON AN OVERALL WINNER, AS WELL AS THE TWO RUNNERS UP - TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER THIS MONTH (OCTOBER 2015).

NB: Entry to all our competitions is by post to our registered address, see below, or by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please read rules, terms and conditions below. Please note rule change from 'entrants must not be published authors' to 'entrants must not be traditionally published fiction authors'. So if you are self-published in either fiction or non-fiction, or have published non-fiction work, you can still enter. Entries must be original.

 

... IT'S EASY TO ENTER ...

 

'IT'S A MYSTERY!'

 

(with apologies to ToyahWilcox)

 

Write a mystery in 250* words. That's it! Closes at midnight on 31 October so feel free to make it a ghostly tale, but we love all puzzlers/strange happenings/ghouls and ghosties, though they are not obligatory. Multi-prize of an hour's time with one of our professional writers to discuss your work and writing ambitions, £50 Waterstone's voucher, and a bottle of Champagne - essential fuel for creativity we think! Two runners up will receive a £25 Waterstone's voucher each. Entry fee £3.50. £1 goes to the literary charity Children in Crisis, who do brilliant work in West African countries recently hit by Ebola.. Please read the rules and terms and conditions for our competitions below. Good luck!

* Apologies. For a while, this read '750 words'. If you have submitted an entry of 750 words, or have written one with the intention of sending it in, please do, and we'll arrange a separate prize for these. Mea culpa!

 

LOVE IT! NOW CLOSED...

 

Write a love story - in 250 words! This can be the whole story from A to B, or a snippet of conversation, a romantic meeting that leaves us desperate to know what happens next, a happy ending or a tantalising beginning. Anything you like, as long as it's to do with love - in any or all of its forms, with characters of any age. And at 250 words, perhaps you'll have time to enter more than once? We look forward to reading every entry - and are happy to accept your entry/ies in any form - handwritten or typed, even spoken, as long as we can read/hear them.

Original entries only please. But please note, Love It!, unlike our other competitions, is open to all writers, published and unpublished alike.

 

Entries to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or WriteStars Ltd, 43 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5FJ. Editor's decision final. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Prize: £75 cash, a bottle of Champagne, and a free edit/critique of up to 1,000 words of your romantic fiction.

Deadline: Midnight on 1 September 2015 - so lots of time, but don't do what we do and leave things to the last minute!!

 

The entry fee is £3.50 per entry for all our competitions – with £1 from every entry going to the literacy charity Children in Crisis. Please read rules and conditions below.

(All entrants to all competitions will be deemed to have read the latest updates of these rules and conditions, which may change without notice.

**************************

Enter via email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and pay for your entry via PayPal on our payment page, or by post to WriteStars Ltd, 'Name of competition', 43 Berkeley Square, London. W1J 5FJ, including a cheque for the entry fee. Winning entries will be published on this website.

Please scroll down and read the full rules and conditions.

Good luck!

 

Competition Rules

HOW TO ENTER:

Please send your entry, clearly marked with the title of the competition, along with the entry fee, made payable to WriteStars Ltd, to our registered office at: WriteStars, 43 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5FJ, or pay by PayPal and send your entry by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Or pay direct into our bank account - details on request. You can email your entry and pop a cheque in the post, if you prefer. Just let us know that's what you've d one in your email. Please keep a copy of your entry.

Please include your full name and address, and telephone number and email address with your entry. We do accept handwritten entries, as long as they are legible.

COMPETITION RULES:

All entries must be original and unpublished.

Entrants must not be traditionally published fiction authors - please check with us if you are in any doubt.

WriteStars reserves the right to change competition rules without notice; entrants will be deemed to have accepted the latest version of the rules. By entering the competition entrants agree to abide by its rules.

WriteStars cannot accept responsibility for entries delayed or lost, either in the post or through technical problems, however they may arise.

By entering WriteStars competitions, entrants give permission for their names and entries to be published on the WriteStars website and in any relevant publications.

WriteStars cannot take responsibility for any viruses transferred by whatever means to entrants' computers.

The judges' decision is final in all cases, and no correspondence relating to competition results will be entered into.

ANY QUERIES?

Please write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or to our registered address, as above. Good luck!