Copyright © 2017 Tim Bancroft. How to Enter | Entrant Eligibility

Shipton Shorts 2017 Shipton Bellinger Short Story Competition

You can enter the competition either online or by post.  The following can be used as a useful guide.

How to enter

The judges will be looking for submissions that match the theme, are engaging and interesting and which have a recognisable story. They will also be concerned that entries are well-written, by which we mean are coherent, have good characterisation, fluidity and structure (e.g. make sure it tells a wholel story) and use sound grammar and spelling - in short, submissions that are readily comprehensible. Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of writing are really good guidance.


We strongly advise you use a spell-checker and have someone proof-read your work. Writers of any experience are often amazed at what they miss.

What are the judges looking for?

Hints & Tips

Quick Links

Check out the Rules & Guidelines to make sure you are using a layout that is easy for the judges to read.  This sort of layout is standard for litarary competitions as some writers think (erroneously) that they might get an advantage by using strange fonts, layouts or colours.  All that such strange formatting does it make it difficult for the judges to read your short story.


We have provided a Microsoft Word template to make things easy for you, but you do not have to use this template.

Before you write your story….

Your submission should be between 1500 and 2000 words long, excluding the title. That’s shorter than you might think, but long enough to develop characters and plot. Make sure that your story is based on the theme (for 2016, that is ‘From the Village’).


Some writers start with a title and an idea and develop the story from there; others devise a title from their story.  Whichever way you do it, make sure your title is put on your entry form (postal or online) as it is the only way we have of identifying your submission - the competition is judged anonymously.  Do not use the  theme as a title!

Write your story

Use a spell checker to correct basic spelling mistakes, then ask someone else to read your story and highlight the spelling mistakes that remain. Ask them to point out any grammatical errors and any strange-sounding sentences.  


Ask for honest feedback. It’s difficult to get, as almost everyone you know will not want to hurt your feelings, but it is important.  Key to accepting such feedback, though, is being aware that the feedback or criticism is about your story, not you. What’s more, you don’t have to act on the criticism, just listen to it as only you can decide whether the feedback is applicable to what you want to achieve.


After several such read-throughs, leave the story alone for a week then come back to it and read it again. It’s amazing what a new perspective you gain from stepping away from your creation in such a fashion.

After your have written your story

Can I Enter?

This short story competition is primarily intended to promote the talent and writing skills of this corner of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Salisbury Plain. As such, submissions are invited - and are free - for those within the local area.


To find out if you are within the local area, use the map on the page below.

Locality - Who can enter?