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Yes I was the same, surprised and delighted on 1 January to get a Top Story badge added to my profile here and to my competition story, as the most liked story in December.

I was I confess then totally embarrassed when the results came out as my story was last (or second last) in the competition, lol, so in reality far from being a top story.

Like that you can sort 'top stories' by genre too, interesting to see on both sites what my highest rated genre stories are.

Not sure about this current competition, have done 700 words, but hit pause to write competition elsewhere, which is taking a while to get done. Toddlers are not writer-friendly, but himself is so adorable and I'd have it no other way.

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Quote by verbal

I did spend a night in jail during Mardi Gras, back in the day....

Now I so want to know more about how that came to pass.

As always things are a little different down under, Mardi Gras is synonymous with a celebration of the rainbow community cumulating in the LGBTQI Mardi Gras Parade. A writing well I have drawn from before. But, lol, I suppose I can't just polish this a little and submit:

Finding Pride on Oxford Street

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Quote by verbal

Thank you, Molly, for organizing all this and giving us a fun way to pass the time during winter break.

What's this winter you are talking about?

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Congrats to all, particularly Verbal, Ping and Kat for their wonderful podium stories. Thanks to all who organized, wrote, read, commented and judged. ❤️

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Just 50 minutes left of this year. Happy New Year to you all, looking forward to reading and writing in 2023.💖

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A dozen really good stories. Thanks to those who read and commented on mine.

Eight hours to 2023, Happy New Year.

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Merry Christmas ... keep safe, if the weather is rough where you are. I shall be around after Christmas, not leaving Sydney for the traditional summer holidays period, maybe February when the schools start back, which will certainly be less crowded.

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Quote by JamesPBear


OTOH, Stephen King, in his semi-autobiographical book, On Writing, says that he rips through the first draft of a book, then circles back to slash about 1/3 of everything he's written.

So, he would start with roughly 1333 words, and edit it down to 1000.

Therefore, most of us are within "normal" bounds. Brad is just an outlier!

BTW, I started with about 1,450 words, eventually sweating it down to 1,000.

But that's fairly standard for me because I'm a wordy bastid…

You are a better author than mathematician James:

If Stephen King slashes 1/3 of what he has written, his first draft is 1500 words and he loses 500 which is a third to get down to 1000.

Which goes to show you and Verbal are well within Stephen's limit.

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Nearly all my stories for competitions are right on the word limit. I used to be hopeless and go way over in my early drafts and have to edit hard. But nowadays I'm getting more accurate from the get go; indeed with this story I naturally hit 1000 +/- five words all through the drafting and editing stages. Though I do find Grammarly suggests more hyphens than I instinctively use.

Both Word and Google docs have the same word count I've found. I tend to write in Goggle docs as I'm doing more on my phone nowadays (I'm sure those who know me will know why,) but generally I copy the story into Word and submit from that, as it holds the formatting better than submitting from Google docs.

The word count increased when I submitted my story here, by one word, not sure why. I thought I understood the mechanics as the last time on the other site, the word count went up by the number of words in the one-liner. Not this time.

Quote by verbal
I wrote extra-shaggy

What a great expression, I'm going to borrow that.

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Morning all, I know better that to complain about our cold snap, its 'only' about 21 degrees C, though expecting closer to 30 leading up to Christmas Day.

The jacarandas are gorgeous as usual, though this far into December flowers have mostly fallen. The pic below is a stock one, there are a lot of trees around Sydney, but not to this concentration that I've seen.

Enjoying the competition stories, hope to see more published in the next few days. Thanks to those who have commented and voted on mine.

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Hope those in the north are coping with the cold and snow. Its a little cooler here today, but will get back into the 30's (C of course) apparently in the lead up to Christmas.

My competition story should be with you shortly, once it gets through the approval process. Take care and have a great weekend.

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Congrats to all, the entrants, the top ten and especially the podium placers. So happy for you, WG, your first competition win comes in poetry! Thanks Molly and all those who helped you bring this contest to life, including judges, readers and commentators. For those who read my story, the weekend news is that himself is now officially walking, and having got a taste for it, he's not going to be stopping anytime soon.

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Congratulations to all who’ve entered, good to see so many and such interesting takes on the theme. Well done, Molly, an excellent competition 💋

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Evening all, Happy Easter. I will so have some Easter cookies (or biscuits as I say.)

It is this time of year I most feel like an online alien. Autumn's cool fingers creeping, winter sports five rounds in. For me summer has faded and yet most posts are about spring and baseball.

Oddly (well I do wonder how odd most readers find it) I am so very Australian in my writing, seasonally appropriate, Christmas is summer, Halloween is spring. It is the one time the saying "write what you know" strikes home for me.

Congrats redwriter, 88 is a fabulous not out innings and so auspicious a number. Hope you are coping, writergirl, hugs and much love.

Apologies for not being around as much as I would like. But I have the best ever excuse, he is sitting, almost crawling and is totally into his food. Mind you he doesn't yet know what sugar is. 😇

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Quote by verbal

Wasn't sure where to post this, but I read this today, in an article called Writing Without a Plan, and it helped me.

"For me, the page is all I get, and the page is what makes the soup of the mind into something tangible. If there is no book in my mind, then the only way I can find a book is by writing it. This act of writing is how I get access to the material I might not readily know about. We cannot read each other’s minds, and the truth is, we often cannot really read our own.

There’s something sad in this—that we cannot replicate our idea, our perfect, imagined book in there, our brilliant ideas that seem so full and glorious when walking past the autumn leaves. But the amazing side, the truly amazing side, is that we might write something else, something surprising."

  • Aimee Bender

Here's the whole article.

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”

This has so got me thinking.

It's so true, every thing I have written has gone in its own direction. But the point that it is never as perfect as we imagine it at first strikes home as well. I tend to leap in, first write an opening and then a conclusion. Getting from A to B shouldn't be too hard, but it always is (wading through treacle comes to mind.)

Writing without a plan (the ending for me) is scary in one way, but makes perfect sense in another. But I have never done it.

Thanks for posting, I do like the idea of sharing writing tips and experiences.

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I love the cover, beautifully done; will sign off on my spooky tale tonight and The Godfather's Daughter over the weekend. I love this, the idea of publishing, and funnelling the income back here.

Stylistically, I am not reverting to American spelling and I am keeping Aussie expressions like tradie for tradesman (or tradeswoman for that matter) - let me know if you want a consistent mid-Atlantic style; I confess I will fight this on the beaches, but I accept there may be a need for literary consistency.

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Count me it, the spooky story of mine is a great addition as it is so different from the others and is in my distinctly Australian voice.

The Godfather's Daughter, on the other hand, some found a little confusing, I am kind of reluctant to publish it with that feedback, so if someone could clarify what and where I should edit, I would greatly appreciate it.

I do think all in, it is a great idea to have as many stories as possible, I know of one person new to reading here who might well be encouraged to write knowing there is a diversity of writing styles.

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Quote by Sherzahd

I would like to congratulate all of the entrants. Writing is hard, writing well even more so. And you all did a splendid job with this theme. I applaud and thank all of you for having the courage to enter the competition. This site would be nothing without all of you, always remember that.

Well done Violet, JLA and Ceebees. You deserve to be applauded for your win.

And I would also like to thank Ping for generously donating his prize money from the last competition back to the site so we could run this one. Your love for Stories Space does not go unnoticed.

And cut the drama. This is a time to celebrate another awesome event at Stories Space, the first since the move. Let's not mar it with ugliness.

So true, writing is fun, a joy, a stress relief. There is nothing I enjoy more than see my friends write well (cue applause for for Violet, James and WriterGirl) and being introduced to new wonderful talent (cue applause for JLA and Ceebees and others too.)

And a special shout out to Ping, when I first started publishing around these two nooks of the net three years ago, he was one of my inspirations, a clever clever writer, generous with his advice and support. I love the thought that he has donated prize money to support this site, that is so the Ping I know. That feeling is part of the reason people like Violet and I are here every competition of late, to support a wonderful place that was close to going under.

This was a fabulous competition and in supporting the winner's stunning entry, no-one, certainly not me, nor I am sure Ping and Verbal intended anyone to feel left out. Getting on the podium is hard, I have only done it once and for the three that have this time, lets make a celebration of them and all that have entered.


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Congratulation VV, JLB and Ceebee on the podium, and to the runners-up. And of course congratulations to everyone who entered this competition fine stories inside and outside the top ten. Thanks to Molly and those who enabled this truly excellent competition.

I remember the absolute joy of my competition win, Violet. As I said in my comment on your story "I am a touch speechless about how good this is; the rawness, the emotion, forensically presented. And how the hell did you do this is such a short time, the maturing of your writing blows me away." It has been a total joy seeing the growth in your craft over the last 14 months. Don't let the above take the gloss off the stupendous achievement. Ping is right, this is a writer's victory, simply because you are a fabulous writer.

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Quote by verbal

I've got like 5 stories to read for the comp. and should hit them tonight.

At the old house most of the day today, most of the day tomorrow. Recarpeting and another dumpster. Jeez! One day I will write again. Actually, I did about 3000 words last week, so I shouldn't be complaining. And yet I am.

And for Sara, ambition-shaped cookies, shaped like books! And a coffee!

Happy Monday morning all; a warm weekend so lots of outdoor activities including the garden which is a mess as this summer is unusually wet. Himself is five months today, I have so come to understand the saying: "The days are long and the weeks short."

Lol I envy you the 3000 words in a week, two competition stories in two months was hard enough.

I adore the cookies (or biscuits as we would say in these parts,) already have three of those books in his library which he seems to like - mind you, as he can't move, he cant escape being read to. I am sure he would love the biscuits too, but he knows nothing about sugar yet.

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Quote by Violet_the_Verbose

Hi Kimmi, I'm here and getting to the end game now. Will probably get it in Friday night lol.

Lol, 'Violet has just published a story,' flashed onto my screen. Two and a half hours left, plenty of time. Well done, Violet, though I will have to read later in the weekend.

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Evening all, I am delighted to have actually got back into the groove of competition stories; and to think I was told that new mums can't find the time to write. Well it is actually so true, discipline when I am writing is key. Lol and I am late with my submission here, mind you being good friends with Violet does assure me of knowing I wont be last. Of course my story has to get approved, but, if it is, do check it out if you have a minute.

Hot and humid here, a very wet warm summer, but fortunately no bushfires as a result. Did you know I have hardly ever seen snow and never in Sydney? And some of my online friends have snow blowers.

Quote by Mendalla
It's a quieter, less raucous hangout for us more refined writers😉.

Lol, don't tempt me, I can do raucous, which by the way is a fabulous word, must find more uses for it. Oh and how does one become a refined writer; just asking for a friend.😇

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Quote by Violet_the_Verbose

I have no ragrets 😎

The competition anti-thesis; now if only I could write as well as Edith can sing.

Quote by Mendalla

Congrats, Writergirl on being first in!! Still trying to figure out what the hell to write myself. None of the ideas that are perpetually kicking around in my head are a fit for this one.

Writergirl's story is fabulous. I have a story that has been kicking around in my mind for a while and 1000 words written that might just fit the bill. Now to find the time to redraft those words and add a lot more.

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Quote by Ping

Well, how did that happen?

Like I said before, there is something about this genre that brings out a special creativity in people. I guess we all have our spooky passions.

Thanks to Molly, the judges, and all the others behind the scenes. And thanks to all that entered and read our stories.

Comps are fun!!!

It happened because you wrote a damn fine story, my friend.

Congratulations to Ping, Violet (yay VV) and WriterGirl for your outstandingly tales. And to everyone else who entered.

I echo Ping: thanks to Molly and all those involved in organising and judging this competition.

And indeed competitions are so much fun!!

I am a little sad to report that, though I managed to enter this one, I didn't elsewhere. My competition streak of over 20 consecutive competitions has come to an end. But I have the best ever excuse.

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States I have lived in: New South Wales (only lived outside NSW for one year, in London which isn't a state.)

States visited:




South Australia

And two territories:

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

Oh I know I know, you really want USA states; well I've visited:



New Mexico





(and Seattle airport, which may not really count.)

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Quote by Mendalla

Not just any ghost story, but a Christmas ghost story. I love this genre, stories told by the fire on a winter's night making you shiver from more than just the drafty windows. Might give it a whirl myself

But if its Christmas why would there be a winter's fire? Christmas is all about heat and humidity, July is the time for winter ghost stories 😇