Perhaps I only read the theme in the overview of competitions that arrived in January, though I think I read it a few times in the magazine when the competition was open, too, as I remember rewriting some of it to fit the brief. So perhaps I just misunderstood.
The details mentioned an untraditional family, and being a bit of a plank that day, I didn't interpret that as a stepfamily. I wrote a story I was proud of, as it's not a genre I'm keen on, nor drawn to, but I worked hard on it, and it made my eight year old laugh. It probably wasn't very original; it was about a little boy, Jack, whose stay-at-home mum returned to work with glee, leaving Dad in charge - just before Jack's birthday. Not impressed that Dad was in charge of the party, he and his little sister started a campaign to sack Dad and reinstate Mum.
As soon as I saw the winning entry in the magazine, I could have kicked myself - my story was never on the right lines. I'm so disappointed in myself, but it's a reminder to read carefully before you write. I've just completed the October and November's stories, (leaving me with only one to go!) but before I send them, I'm going study the details one more time.
I never thought I'd say it, but there is something worse than failing because you're not good enough: failing because you weren't careful enough. Grr!