Accentuate Short Story Contest Winners: Unrequited Love Theme

I want to take a moment at the beginning of the announcement of the winners to remind everyone of a few basic submission guidelines issues. When the submission guidelines ask for things to be a certain way, it’s important that you adhere to those guidelines. While I’ve been lax in requiring them, I guarantee you an editor with a large publisher or an agent will not be lax, and following the guidelines could make the difference between being accepted and even being read at all.

When they say not to put your name on the entry, don’t. When they say use a certain font, use it. When they ask for it in a certain format, put it in that format. I’ve been getting Works documents and Word Perfect documents, and there’s no reason for that, since both programs will save to .doc or .rtf, which is what I’ve asked for the in the guidelines.

The most common mistake I’m seeing is improper dialgoue punctuation and tagging. Search my blog and read about it and learn more. One of the stories that was offered a digital download contract in this round was so close to being chosen as a winner, but lost points for having no commas or proper punctuation for the dialgoue. The tags aren’t capitalized after the punctuation in the dialogue quote. There’s a comma before the tag, unless it’s a question mark or exclamation point.

Another one is the amateur tendency to overuse the character’s names. Pronouns are there for a reason. Don’t repeat the character’s name every instance you refer to him or her — he, she, they, them — these pronouns work.

All right is two words, not one word ‘alright’. Some words, like worthwhile are one word, not two. I wouldn’t mention these specifically, except, on my versions, the grammar check had highlighted those words and told me this, so I know they should have told the writers too.

Remember, before you submit to an editor or publisher, you should be submitting your most polished work. You should agonize over getting it right. You should send in something that, if it were published exactly as-is, you would be proud to have your name on it as a professional writer. I remind myself that I do these contests to help aspiring and up-and-coming writers, so I am much easier on these things than most places would be. My goal is for you to learn, to grow and constantly improve so that you can move on from these contests and wow folks at bigger, better, more lucrative and professional places too. You should constantly be seeking to improve and expand your writing and your portfolio.

Again, the ‘love’ themes were simply not the best themes, and I’ve already been reading some of the other themes people are submitting and the stories are just rocking. But remember, the sign of a really good writer is one who can take any theme and do something unique and special and wonderful with it. Hey, don’t knock love!

Anyway, with all this said, I am very pleased to announce the winners of the Unrequited Love contest. There were some really good stories in this bunch!


First, our poems this time were quite beautiful. We’ll be selecting:

  • Behind Invisibility, Laurie Darroch-Meekis
  • Do We Love?, by Camden Eastman
  • Who Are You?, by Camden Eastman
  • Dalliance, by Lisa Lee Smith
  • Unrequited Love, by Gerri Maynard

These will grace the pages of our stories, separating the tales with poignant bits of prose. Thank you to all the poets who submitted, and congratulations on your inclusion!


The following authors are ones who will receive an offer for a digital download contract to sell their short story on the TTM website. They are, as I’ve said before, under no obligation to accept the contract, but it will be offered to them if they so desire. These are stories that are quality stories that, for whatever reason, simply didn’t beat out the competition to win a spot in the print edition. This doesn’t mean these aren’t worthy stories and that’s why I like this new feature to take those that are quality and give them a clean up and edit and get them out to folks to read, because they deserve to be read!

Congratulations to:

  • Blood Simple, Steven Thor Gunnin,
  • Winter Comes to Wintan, Anthony Prescott
  • The Weekly Date, by Ella A. Eidolon
  • Unrequited Love, Cathy Graham
  • Secret Love, by Robert Arend


Next, we have the winners of a place in the anthology and the cash prizes. This was a tough decision, because a couple of the stories we had were so close in points from the judge’s scorecards and were, in all practicality, equally qualified to be includes. It makes me glad we’re not doing ‘places’ anymore, because sometimes it would be a near-impossible feat to rank things like this! I’m pleased to announce the winners are:

  • The Quietest Girl, Lisa Lee Smith – Excellent job on this touching story. This one is one you will not want to miss when the book comes out.

  • Fish Story, by Jenny Corvette – For the absolute most creative use of the Unrequited Love theme, and it even managed to make me chuckle. Well done!


Not that I’m completely surprised by this, but I am very pleased to see the first place win and name on the cover of the book goes to one of our veteran contest participants. This author has grown with both her writing and her style in the couple of years I’ve been watching her submit and I’m honored I get to continue to see her growing. She recently announced to us that she’s going to get more time to be able to write more, and I think that’s an awesome thing, because she has potential – and untapped potential is such a waste. I’m glad to see she’s getting a real shot at tapping it.

First place, cover billing, and the cash prize of $100 bucks goes to:

Shadow, by Lindsay Maddox

Congratulations, Lindsay!

Congratulations to everyone. We had 28 entries into this theme, more than I had thought we would have, and actually more than I did think we had, so it took me a little longer to go through the entries. I hope everyone who entered knows I consider you a winner just for submitting. Remember, it’s a contest, and things are very subjective. It was a tough theme and it showed in the straining in the storytelling. Don’t let not placing here set you back. Take your story that you submitted, look at it again with fresh eyes, renew it, shake it off, clean it up, and submit that sucker somewhere else.

Best to everyone and as always, keep writing.

Love and stuff,