BSSA 2021

Ten Tiny Tweaks with Two Weeks to Go!

With two weeks to go until the £1750 prize fund 2021 Bath Short Story Award, judged by Norah Perkins, from Curtis Brown, closes at midnight on Monday April 19th, try these ten tiny tweaks to your story before you enter.

1. Find and remove all your favourite ‘tic’ filler words. Could be ‘just’ or ‘really’.
2. Find and remove all your favourite ‘tic’ action verbs, eg do all your characters get the shakes? ‘he trembled’ ‘he shook’, ‘he shivered’.
3. Similar to the above. Stop your characters shrugging or sighing or arching their eyebrows or winking.
4. Scalpel out double adjectives. Or even most adjectives.
5. Scalpel out all unnecessary ‘ly’ adverbs.
6. Get the cliche police out and search for sneaky cliches eg, ‘gnarled fingers’, ‘tears welled’.
7. Chop off your last sentence. Or last paragraph.
8. Begin with your second sentence or paragraph.
9. If your character is going to dispatch their partner/husband/boyfriend by poison or any other murderous means, change the ending and let them live (not such a tiny tweak). Such murderous stories are very common among our entries. A change of heart is umusual.
10. Change the title to something that draws in the reader. Titles such as ‘The Gift’, ‘Flight’, ‘Dust’ are very common. Try making your title long and arresting (as long as that fits with the story).

Good luck everyone!
The reading team is busy at work. And as a final reminder, they read blind, so don’t add any identifying details on your document. And remember the word count is 2200.
Thanks.
Jude at BSSA Team

A Compilation of Writing Advice

Photo by Ryan Jones at Unsplash

It’s five weeks today until our 2021 Award closes on Monday April 19th, 2021.

To help you edit and shape your short story before submitting it, we’ve compiled a selection of tips from some writers we’ve interviewed over the years. We first posted this advice back in 2016 and there’s some really useful comments on beginnings, endings, themes, creating a stand-out story, titles and that all-important fine-editing. Continue reading

New Critique Service

BSSA team member Alison Woodhouse offers mentoring and critique services via her website and is giving a 20% discount for 2021 Bath Short Story Entries.

    Alison is an experienced teacher and tutor, as well as a writer, and her flash fiction and short stories have won prizes in many competitions. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Distinction), has taught writing workshops, reviewed fiction, been a reader for several competitions and this year is one of the judges of the NFFD micro competition.
    The critiques will be sent out AFTER the shortlist is announced. If you are shortlisted in the award and published in our yearly anthology, your fee will be refunded.