This post is going to sound like a complaint. But it isn't really.
I've had the Manchester Fiction Prize on my radar - and in my competition database (because, yes, I'm a geek and I have one of those) - almost since it began. I really want to enter it.
But there's something stopping me.
The prize money.
Over the past few years, short stories have become a big thing, and the renowned competitions are getting bigger. I remember the Bridport Prize when the prize money was £1000, and it's now £5000. The Manchester Fiction Prize is £10,000... and the BBC National Short Story Award is £15,000 - although you do have to have a prior record of publication in the UK.
So now here's the complaint that's not a complaint really...
How can my 2500 word short story be worth £10,000? How can any story be worth that much?
Because that's the word count limit. I've got a pool of stories that I can delve into to rewrite for this competition, I've got chapters of an unpublished novel that might work too. I've even got some new ideas! But... but... are they worth TEN THOUSAND POUNDS?
I don't know. I'd like to think they are, but is every the, but, and and said in my story really worth £4?
So I haven't entered yet. I thought this year would be different, but then I look through the stories and ideas I've got, and I'm not so sure. On the other hand, someone has to win...