Tag Archives: Norah Perkins

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

Judge 2021

We’re delighted that Norah Perkins from Curtis Brown has agreed to be our 2021 judge. She will select the winning entries from our 20 shortlisted stories.Norah’s interviewed below by BSSA team member, Alison Woodhouse and tells us more about her wide experience in publishing, judging awards and developing opportunities for writers. She likes simplicity in stories and also offers a very useful quote from writer George Saunders which indicates what she is looking for in winning entries: “A work of fiction can be understood as a three-beat movement: a juggler gathers bowling pins; throws them in the air; catches them.”
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