September: Theme - The Final Straw

Winning Entry:

She called my house! That was it. I'd played the clueless wife role long enough. Shaking with rage, I threw all his stuff out the window. Time to move on.

By  Victoria Walklate

 

For September, the competition theme was "The Final Straw" and was won with   this entry by Victoria Walklate from Norfolk, where she lives with her husband and two kids. Victoria writes in her spare time and published a historical fiction novel a few years ago. She's currently working on the sequel along with a fantasy novel and some short stories. Victoria loves the challenge of Txtlit competitions and has been runner up twice. She is thrilled with this, her first win.  

As a writing competition theme, we thought that "The Final Straw" would be a little different and present a new challenge. Whilst there was scope to not only explain what the final straw was within your stories, there was also the opportunity to describe the effect of it. This was a tough ask for a Txtlit story where just 154 characters exist but was accomplished by Victoria Walklate with her winning story. Where many entries tried to keep the final straw element of their story until the end to use it a twist, Victoria chooses to start her story with it, the phone call from 'her' to the house. Actually not just the house but my house. We can feel the indignation already. We also understand very simply how that act was the final straw with a straightforward "That was it".  The story plays out with simple but succinct narration explaining the situation, how our protagonist now feels and what she does about it. Throwing stuff out the window is a good use of cliche that covers a lot of ground. We also liked the way the story concludes with an unambiguous statement that gives a sense of closure.

Other shortlisted entries:

As Ron and his colleague approached the house that contained the new, unaware widow, they drew straws. For PC Ron, it was the shortest, and final, straw.

By  Helen Keeling-Marston   


He runs after me. A puzzled expression on his face. He shouts "Why now?" I hold up his mobile. The photo of her says it all. "Enough is enough" I say.

By Maxine Burton    


Jan was trapped. She felt the stares, heard the sniggers. Tearily, she heaved herself off the ride. She made a decision; must call weightwatchers..

By Alison Nuorto   

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