The Crystal Decanter Competition 2015

Set me up for a journey, then take me somewhere else. Give me a genius, then turn him into a crook. Show me a visionary, then reveal he's only a politician.

If you really want, offer me wine, then turn it into squash.

But however you do it, make it believable. I want a good pace and tight writing, and those little details that take us with you - those little tics of character, those scientific plausibilities, historical counterfactuals or a setting we can almost see and smell... Any genre is equally acceptable. Just surprise me.

We are looking for stories of no more than 1500 words, written by paid-up members of VWC. The closing date for entries is Wednesday May 27th for manual hand-in. Earlier entries are welcome (remembering that May 27th is during school holidays), by post to Ben Bergonzi, 53 Beechwood Close, Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, HP6 6QU. All entries should be submitted under an imaginary pseudonym, which should be printed at the top of the story.

Your entry should be typed, doubled-spaced, and submitted in an A4 or A5 envelope. Within the envelope there should also be a smaller envelope, sealed securely to ensure anonymity, containing a slip of paper stating both your real name and your pseudonym, and the entry fee of £2.50. Cheques should be made payable to Verulam Writers Circle. The inclusion of this inner envelope, as described, is a condition of entry to the competition.

Words counted towards the 1500 maximum will include the title, the pseudonym and any stated figure for the length of the story.

The competition will be adjudicated on Wednesday 24th June, when I will announce the names of the winners and runners up, prizes will be given, and the inventor of the most ingenious pseudonym will receive the Gnome de Plume award.