Under the Bonnet of Your Story

photo by Chris Knight on

One week to go before our £1750 prize fund contest, Bath Short Story Award, 2022 closes at midnight BST Monday 11th April.

For those last minute writers thinking of entering our 9th award, I’m going to stretch metaphor to its limits and ask you to get under the bonnet of your story.
Yes, if your story was a car, you need to undertake some maintenance before it sets off on its extensive journey via our BSSA readers and hopefully to a winning destination.

1. Check the water reservoir. Is there enough windscreen washer fluid to give a clear view ahead? Clarity is a good thing in a story. You want our readers to see where they are going.
2. Brake fluid. You need to be able to stop the story properly and in the right place, without fear of crashing.
3. Is the battery of your story well charged? You want it to turn over pretty quickly to get going. That first paragraph, combined with a good title is crucial. So for example, perhaps call your story ‘Under the Bonnet of my Chevy Malibu Coup’ rather than ‘Under the Bonnet of my Car.’
4. What about the oil level? The engine of your story needs to run smoothly even if it’s travelling along a bumpy road with many twists and turns.

Finally, shut the lid and take a look around the outside. Are the tyres worn or flat? is there anything about your story that needs pumping up? You don’t want it to go flat in the middle. Do you need to change anything lacking traction? It’s not too late to make your story more gripping.

And a very last thing, give your story a good polish all over. So our readers can see it coming.

Thank you for making the journey!

BSSA team
Monday 4th April.