Epistolary Rom-Coms – May 2022 Meeting Competition Results, adjudicated by Della Galton

Creative Writing Tutor and Author of over 2,000 short stories and 15 novels, Della Galton donated her time to us this month to adjudicate our May competition with the competition brief of:

Write an epistolary rom-com in 300 words

I loved judging this competition. There was a fine selection of entries, several of which made me laugh. This made it tricky to narrow it down to just three.

Here is what I was looking for?

Does it work as a story and fit the criteria?
Does it make me laugh – as this was a romcom.
Did it have a great ending? Stories this short need to have a great ending in my opinion. Some of the ones that didn’t make it into the top three, fell down on the ending.
Was it well-structured and well written?
Stories this short also benefit from a great structure.
Does it fit the length, plot wise or is it too complicated and/or has too many characters? Stories this short can’t be too complicated.
And of course, does it have the X factor?

I think the top 3 definitely had the X Factor. But congratulations to everyone on a great bunch of stories.

And the winners are

First Place: Brenda Sedgwick with Complicated Love by Email

Second Place: Damon L. Wakes with An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Third Place: Sam Christie with The Misunderstanding

Highly Commended: John Quinn with Cue Swooning Music


First Place: Complicated Love by Email – Brenda Sedgwick

I did enjoy this. A well plotted story, written with a beautifully light touch. The last line made me laugh out loud. Thank you and congratulations.

Dear Paula, So sorry I didn’t make it for your birthday. Please forgive me. You know I love you and would have done anything to have been there. Don’t be mad at me, I am so busy at work. Let’s meet at your place next week. I’ll bring a special bottle. I’d come tomorrow, if I could. I’d do anything to be with you. Please reply asap.

Missing you so much, Harry xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Dear Elizabeth, Are you free tonight. I’ve had a meeting cancelled. I’m so looking forward to our second date and wonder if we have the beginning of something very special? We met only yesterday but I can’t stop thinking about you. Please tell me we can meet. Your place perhaps? I’ll bring a special bottle. Do reply asap.

Missing you, Harry xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Harry, Where were you Saturday night, I waited and waited for you and I haven’t heard from you since. My friends said I looked hot and you would have been totally captivated, just like you said you would be. Please tell me you didn’t forget?

Missing you Deborah xx


Dear Deborah, I would have called you. I’ve been sick and I left my phone at a friend’s house. I would have rung you if I could. I can’t stop thinking about you. I am so happy you want to meet up again. When I’ve caught up with my work load I want to see you. How about next week at your place? I’ll bring a special bottle.

Reply asap.

Harry xxxxx


Harry, I am not Elizabeth. I will not forgive you this time. Paula


Harry, Who the hell is Deborah. You love cheat. Elizabeth


Harry, Get the hell out of my life and take Paula and Elizabeth with you. Deborah

Second Place: An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Damon L. Wakes

This one really needs to be read on the page. I’m not sure it will translate as well when read aloud. But I thought it was very clever, very topical and very amusing.

From: b1gd1ckp1llz@b1gd1ckp1llz.com 

To: shannleo68@gmail.com 

Subject: 🍆🍆🍆3nl4rge you’re p33n!🍆🍆🍆 

Dear recipeint, 

Do you want make p33n b1g for extra special s3xyt1mes with many baeutiful womens? B1gd1ckp1llz.com have potent pr0duct for you at low low pr1ce deliverd discrete! Yuo won’t believe how huge it make it! 🍆🍆🍆🍆😜 

Buy now – satisfcation guaarnteed! 

From: shannleo68@gmail.com 

To: b1gd1ckp1llz@b1gd1ckp1llz.com 

Subject: RE: 🍆🍆🍆3nl4rge you’re p33n!🍆🍆🍆 

Dear sir, 

Alas, I am a widow, and thus I have no p33n to 3nl4rge. All my husband left me is an inheritance, and though that is already huge I am beset with troubles: at present I have no money to cover the wealth transfer tax. If you could be my Saint and cover that, I can redeem the funds and would be grateful to place the sum of $150,000,000,000USD into your account as thanks. All you need do is wire $400USD by Western Union. 

Or, you know, if this is B1gd1ckp1llz.com on the third floor of Unit 3, I’d settle for a box of donuts sent upstairs. 😉 

Shannon
 

From: b1gd1ckp1llz@b1gd1ckp1llz.com 

To: shannleo68@gmail.com 

Subject: RE: RE: 🍆🍆🍆3nl4rge you’re p33n!🍆🍆🍆 

Wait, same building? No way! What are the odds? 

Dave 

From: shannleo68@gmail.com 

To: b1gd1ckp1llz@b1gd1ckp1llz.com 

Subject: RE: RE: RE: 🍆🍆🍆3nl4rge you’re p33n!🍆🍆🍆 

Sending a bajillion of these things a day? Eventually, I figure 100%. 

Shannon
 

From: b1gd1ckp1llz@b1gd1ckp1llz.com 

To: shannleo68@gmail.com 

Subject: RE: RE: 🍆🍆🍆3nl4rge you’re p33n!🍆🍆🍆 

Seems like destiny, doesn’t it? 😉 

Dave 

From: shannleo68@gmail.com 

To: b1gd1ckp1llz@b1gd1ckp1llz.com 

Subject: RE: RE: RE: 🍆🍆🍆3nl4rge you’re p33n!🍆🍆🍆 

Well I’m not sure about extra special s3xyt1mes, but why don’t we grab a coffee and see where it goes? 

Shannon 

Third Place: The Misunderstanding by Sam Christie

This tongue in cheek story was very amusing. A series of misunderstandings. Great imagery made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

The Misunderstanding  

Dear Miss Harris, 

I am, of course, writing to apologise for what can at best be described as an error of judgement, but at worst a catastrophic and shameful incident. 

You see, I am indeed a heating engineer and plumber, however, I am also the man that fixes the boiler. I lead a complex life negotiating euphemisms and nuanced turns of phrase that on occasion can rather tie me in knots. Largely I navigate this well, but on this occasion my compass was awry (which I suppose could equally be read euphemistically).  

I beg you to give thought to my quandary and the reason this terrible event transpired. Your voice, you see, with its forty a day husk, coupled with that half-amused delivery, meant that I misunderstood the context behind your saying, “make your way to the rear entrance and put some heat back into my life”.   

You may be able to see that the way you put this instruction was somewhat unconventional and could hardly be considered particularly technical or even professional; so as a result I became confused. What, I thought feverishly, is my purpose here? 

And I do understand how distressing it must have been to be confronted by a man in your kitchen wearing PVC overalls, especially given their see through design; but the trouble is that many of my customers like this outfit and have come to expect it. 

Anyway, now we have got the apology out of the way, I wondered if it would be at all possible to call round to pick up my tool bag that I dropped shortly before jumping out of the back window to avoid your rather excitable dog? I will be wearing standard plumbing attire this time around.  

Yours sincerely, 

John 

Highly Commended: Cue Swooning Music by John Quinn

A great idea to base a romcom on the original romcom, Bridget Jones. Yet you’ve also got an original slant. I loved the Helen Fielding references. ‘Tara and Mr Salata’ was funny. I also thought the PS was brilliant. Fab story. Well done.

Dear Ada, 

How’s the lotus-eating life in the South of France? Do I envy you the gorgeous weather, wonderful wine and outdoor pool? Of course, I bloody do! But you must be missing all the juicy gossip, so here goes. 

Well, OMG (if that’s still written), the last few months could have fizzed directly from the pages of a Helen Fielding novel! 

You recall Tara, that lovely teacher at the boys’ nursery? You must remember; dark hair, always too nice to keep a man for long… And Yiannis, the Greek geologist who gave up his career to nurse his wife before she died of breast cancer, what, four years ago?  

So, my always helpful hubby drags Yiannis along to the nursery’s fund-raising fete, where Tara is running the ‘hire a metal detector and find buried treasure’ stall and helpfully let slip where she’s hidden the coppers. Yiannis has a go and finds some coins. But not the staff-hidden variety, no! Bloody real bronze Roman coins that have sat undisturbed in the ground since, well, Nero was fiddling. 

Not only are the coins worth a small fortune but Tara and Yiannis instantly get along like gin and Fever-Tree – or, as helpful hubby said, ‘Tara and Mr Salata’. But he’s always been an idiot. 

Anyway, a court rules that the coins aren’t treasure trove: Tara insists the nursery should benefit but Yiannis demands the coins go to Breast Cancer Now. The pair have a shocking row and that’s the end of their burgeoning relationship. 

Until last week…  

Helpful hubby remembers an old school chum who’s made it BIG in Silicon Valley and whose kids actually went to the nursery. Mr BIG pays twice the coins’ value, so both school and charity will enjoy massive paydays! Unsurprisingly, the couple reunite; cue swooning music, energetic romantic clinch, weddings bells and thrown bouquet… 

Love 

Stacey & HH 

P.S. Might just send a copy of this to Ms Fielding for her next plot! 

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