October: Theme - Pay Day

Winning Entry:

Pay-day meant nothing. The next day there wouldn't be anything left. Life was just responsibility, demands. With each worker paid, bankruptcy loomed.

By Chris Tattersall 


The October writing competition had the theme of "Pay Day", and was won with this entry from  Chris Tattersall. An NHS Research Manager (and kayaker, cyclist, fisherman) living in the far West of Wales Chris has numerous publications in academic journals but in the last few years he has discovered a love for flash fiction and had some competition success. As Chris's twitter profile states, he enjoys: 'story telling by concise wordsmithery'. He is particulalry fond of really short writing with limitations such as our Txtlit competitions. His tactics, as he did with this story, is to start with the twist and then find a way to get there.

We had a surprisingly low response for our October competition. We thought that there was plenty of scope and oppportunity to use the theme of Pay Day creatively, and as you can see we had some interesting entries; but perhaps the theme wasn't quite inspiring enough for you. Chris Tattersall clearly didn't have any problems and now has a pay day from Txtlit.co.uk to look forward to. We particulalry liked the way he twisted the theme around. Pay day is usually something we eagerly anticipate; the reward that comes at the end of the month or the week for our efforts at work. Chris has taken the perspective of the employer who, as he fulfills his duty of paying his employees, sees his business moving closer to going bust. The opening line is a great hook which sets a scene of gloom and we are taken further into dispair as the story unfolds. How can pay-day mean nothing? And why is life distilled down to just responsibility and demands? The final sentence reveals the situation of a business owner facing bankruptcy. Pay day for him could mean disaster. This story is an insight into the trials and stresses of running a business.


Other shortlisted entries:

An in-out job was meant to be 5 minutes, the out could be 20 years because of the gun, 'til a kindheartd, foolhardy, average Joe Public stepped in. Blast.

By Nick George 

It never changed. He'd buy wine, meals, gifts. She'd thank him with her body then be "too busy" til next month. Was this love? He'd begun to hate pay-day.

By Victoria Walklate 

Pumpkin pie, bats fly. Ghosts appear, pure fear. Too scared to speak, open door for a peak. Children shout, 'Trick or treat!' Pay them off with a sweet.

By Gail Warrick Cox 




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