I managed to get a very dark and emotional story based on a true life experience (not mine) on the shortlist of a magazine competition. https://www.eyriepress.co.uk/2021/12/03/2021-short-story-competition-results/ As you can see, I didn’t win it. I did receive two emails which hinted it was a clear personal favourite, which elicited a really powerful emotional response. The other two people I have tested it on have cried, saying they have never read anything as powerful. I do hope I can find the right place for it to be published, as it is really important to tell this story. For this magazine, going into every home with children, I guess it was just too dark; too real. It’s a funny thing, but I rarely win things, although I am constantly told it is ‘clearly the best’ but would be too dark, serious or emotional for the reader! Surely if something is the best…? I’m not suggesting the winner of this competition isn’t a good story, but that overall, but from what I understand the winners of competitions usually seem to write about animals, relationships or children. These are relatable. Difficult topics, like the perspectives of men who have suffered abuse, PTSD, death, trauma – well they are just not NICE! Isn’t it time we faced up to gritty realism on occasion? I don’t enjoy reading ‘heartwarming’ things, so I simply can’t write them. But hey ho. I’ll try to get this one placed somewhere, or in my second book of stories. And I will take heart from the fact that all the very best writers that I enjoy reading and analysing made people feel uncomfortable. I hold up mirrors to the society we live in. And sometimes, you may not like what you see.