This week I’ve been thinking about my entry for the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition.
As I’m sure most of you know, the first prize is £500 and an Arvon writing course. So it’s a prize worth winning and it’s also free entry – which makes it doubly good! But the closing date is 15th February 2014 – so it’s time to start getting my entry together.
Iain judges a lot of competitions. In the book he gives the following reason for why a lot of stories fail in competitions:
The stories were obviously written for a women’s magazine and failed to find a home. Therefore they often have a domestic setting, a female protagonist, a twist ending and the plot is a variation on a theme. The stories lack an individual voice.
As a judge, Iain wants to be taken somewhere he’s never been before. He doesn’t want to read about office life and how the junior is plotting revenge on the boss who passed her over for promotion.
So, it seems there’s no point in me going through my rejected womag stories to find one that might fit a theme of ‘The Visit’.
Incidentally, Iain suggests that this may be why men might seem to do better in writing competitions. Fewer of them write for women’s magazines and therefore they compose a fresh story for a competition without the restrictions of womag writing.
What does anyone else think? Have you ever won/been shortlisted in a competition with a story originally written for a womag?
And talking of competitions, Nick Daws is running a Guest Post Competition over on his blog. First prize is $50 (or the equivalent in UK pounds). The post must be on a topic of interest to writers and be 500 – 1000 words long. Closing date is 31st January 2014 and entry is free. He ran a similar competition last year and then I was lucky enough to be the winner – this time it could be you!
Finally, the first anniversary of the publication of One Day for Me is almost upon us and next week I will be announcing a special offer …