The August Txtlit writing competition theme was "Poison" and was won by Rosemin Anderson with this entry. Rosemin is a copywriter, journalist and PR consultant based in London/Kent. This was her first entry to a Txtlit competition and she admits to being absolutely thrilled to have won. Rosemin tells us that it was a spur of the moment decision to enter - and found that the words just fell together naturally. The theme made her think of film noir, which she loves, and so she really enjoyed creating a complete story in such short prose. Rosemin goes on to comment that part of being a writer is finding the balance between intuitive writing and diligence, and competitions such as Txlit give writers freedom to create with enough constraint to provide a real challenge. We couldn't agree more!
We didn't expect a huge variety of interpretation for the August competition. Poison is poison after all which makes for quite a prescriptive theme for a writing competition. How you all managed to weave the theme into your stories this month however was very impressive; the number of runner-up stories this month shows how difficult we found the judging. Whilst each story here can easily be associated with poison, the stories themselves are all very different. We finally settled on XXXs entry as the winner. We loved the way it told a full story. The story opens with a misdemeanour, a lie, and "he" is the guilty party. The effect of this lie is to ruin the dreams that had clearly meant everything to the narrator, who we can assume is the wife. The next sentence sets the scene and the mood. Poison in my hand and poison in my heart is an excellent way to sow the seed of what might be coming and the narrator's motivation for doing it. The last three sentences finish the story off beautifully. The wife waits at her husband's lover's place to show him that she knew of his affair, and then kills herself in front of him by taking poison. Not only does this wrap everything up and conclude with a with a twist, the reducing syllable count of 1,2,3,4; 1,2,3; 1,2 creates a beat that counts us down to the final act of defiance. An excellent technique.
Other shortlisted entries:
If only I knew I would die the night I saw her. With queer potions, she leaned over the counter and said as I clutched my car keys, "Pick your poison."
By Mariam Kizilbash
Her eyes sparkled rebellion. The punishment? Liquid death. As poison putrefied muscle, her body lurched. The Emperor grinned. A last, unwilling bow.
By Jane Slemensek
The syringe shakes in my hand, morphine glistening. Can I do this? Weak fingers squeeze mine; eyes plead. An end to the pain. Can I do this? Yes. For you.
By Adam Millward
She lay terrified and motionless as the toxin entered her body. Nerve endings screamed, cells slowed. The veil would reveal a wrinkle-free bride.
By Chris Tattersall
And one that raised a smile...
"What was that?" she asked, her throat burning. "Salade avec French fishy sprinkles." "French?" "Yes - I think their word for fish is 'poison', isn't it?"
By Sim Smailes