1st: The Song of the Eastern Wind, by Wendy Greeff
2nd: The Bus-stop off Bleecker Street, by Candice Wedermann
3rd: To Be, or Not to Be, by Derek Griffin
I loved the stories received for the Mystery Romance category. I think the writers did an exceptional job of grabbing my attention as the reader. Many of the stories were also very well thought out. I found that judging them was incredibly difficult. The calibre of writing received was so high I really had a hard time picking out the winners.
The brief included adding as much dialog as possible to the story. And, with many of the stories, this was done seamlessly. It’s incredibly difficult to make sure that your reader can follow your train of thought when you are using an extended amount of dialog in your story. By adding so much dialog you can easily risk losing your reader, who is caught up following a conversation as opposed to reading what the story is about.
Many of the writers were very accurately able to turn their dialog into descriptive storytelling, this made a world of difference to me as a reader. Having said this I still believe that all the writers did an excellent job of incorporating extended dialogs into their written pieces.
In the last few years, Mystery Romance has become popular with a new generation of reader and we have several authors to thank for this. It is no longer a genre kept for book clubs (wine meetings) and lonely housewives. I think the writers for the competition did a wonderful job of being able to tap into that market.
I do however believe that some of the stories submitted could have been better developed. Having a limit to the number of words used makes this even more difficult. But taking a little extra time to develop your characters and storyline could mean the world’s difference to your reader. I felt that the three winners put much thought not only into their character development but also into the overall development of the story.
Assistant Editor at Caxton Community Newspapers