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Saturday 26 November 2022

The Glencairn Glass Crime Short Story Competition

With The Glencairn Glass Crime Short Story Competiton deadline fast approaching (you've got until just Saturday 31st December 2022, folks!), we thought we'd take the time to chat to Bloody Scotland board member and competition judge, Gordon Brown to find out more about the prestigious short story contest.

Why was the competition set up?
"The Glencairn Glass sponsors both the McIlvanney Prize and the Scottish Crime Debut of the Year and were looking for ways to enhance the sponsorship. Short stories are such a great format, but they're often seen as the poor cousin to the full novel and we wanted to change that. The Glencairn Glass is sold around the planet, so it made sense to launch a truly global short story competition. By partnering with Scottish Field and Bloody Scotland, and using the reach of Glencairn Crystal (the company that makes The Glencairn Glass), the competition was launched last year to a great reception. That first contest attracted over 130 entries from every corner of the globe - with the winner coming from Australia."

This year Gordon is one of the judges alongside fellow crime writers: Tariq Ashkanani and Sharon Bairden. I ask Gordon what the judges are looking for.
"Each year we have a theme - this year it's simple - ‘A Crime Story Set in Scotland.’ In the first instance the story must reflect this theme. From there, the judges are looking for a number of things - engagement, enjoyment, skill in writing, the ability for the story to surprise and delight. Short stories are not an easy format, I should know I’ve had to write quite a few! It takes real talent to tell a complete story in two thousand words."

Do you have any top tips for entering the competition?
"There are a few obvious but sometimes overlooked tips, that I would suggest...

Are you able to sum up the story in a single powerful sentence? A really tight, intriguing idea is the best base to build a story upon.

Grab the reader from the get go. A great opening line and paragraph is a must. Although not a necessity, a twist at the end of the story can often pay dividends.

Think hard about the title. Does it sum up that killer idea?

Don’t stray from your story - short stories cut to the chase and stay there.

On a more practical basis thoroughly check the entry for typos and grammatical errors. Ensure the layout looks neat and professional. Get a few other people to read it (not friends - ask people who will give you unfiltered, honest feedback).

Read the story out loud to someone - it’s amazing how much you can improve a story when you do this. Once you’re happy with the story put it away for a week or so, then come back to it with a fresh eye – you are often able to make the story better with some time away.

And last, but certainly not least - have fun!"This competition can really give authors a publicity boost. The winning entry will be published on the Scottish Field website, on The Glencairn Glass website and will receive a lot of publicity - so it's a great opportunity. There's also a wonderful cash prize of £1,000 to the winner. So, I'd definitely encourage people to get writing."

For more information on how to enter, visit:

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