Archive for category Competitions

Nottingham Writers’ Club National Short Story Competition 2018

I’ve rather neglected the short story scene of late – my head has been stuck in the clouds, dreaming of becoming a bestselling novelist!

Last week Mars Hill from Nottingham Writers’ Club kindly sent me an email about the Club’s 2018 competition and I’m sure that some of you more down to earth people will be interested in having a go. My one dismal attempt at the RNA NWS came back with a comment indicating that it was easier to earn money with short stories than novels. So maybe I should get my head out of the clouds and have a go at this.

The prompt for the Nottingham Writers’ Competition is ‘Choose a Season’. It can be any kind of story in any genre, as long as your chosen season plays an important part. Maximum word count is 2,000.

The three main prizes are £200, £100 and £50. There will be five runners up prizes.
Entry fee is £6 online or £5 by post.

Entries can only be submitted between 1st February and 28th February 2018. But that means you need to start planning and writing now!

Visit the Nottingham Writers’ Club website to register your interest and get full details.

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Two Free Short Story Competitions

Need something to gee you up and encourage the writing muse? Try one (or both!) of these free, themed short story competitions.

Vanda ‘n’ Linda’s Write Space Competition

Vanda Inman and Linda Lewis are looking for 500 word stories inspired by the photo on their website.
First prize is your choice of module from Vanda’s Short Story Success writing course. Second prize is either a critique of a short story of up to 2000 words or a copy of Linda’s book, The Writer’s Treasury Of Ideas (UK only).
Closing date is 31st August.

Words Magazine Short Story Competition

Words Magazine wants up to 2,000 words on the theme of ‘Murder’.
First prize is £50. Second prize is £25.
Closing date is 31st December.

Good Luck!

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Two Competitions

I’ve been busy novelling for the last eight months or so and haven’t had time for competitions. However, a couple have popped into my inbox lately and, since I can’t use them, I thought I’d share them with you lovely people. Fingers crossed, one (or more) of you might have what it takes to be a winner!

Travel Writing Competition run by Travel for Seniors
This is free to enter and offers a first prize of £100 plus internet publication. They want 750 words on the theme ‘Travel for Seniors’ and the closing date is 31st July 2017. Entries can be fact or fiction.
Details are on the Senior Travel Expert website.

The Fiction Desk Newcomer Prize for Short Stories
This is aimed at ‘new and emerging writers who haven’t already been published by us, and have yet to publish a novel or full-length collection of short stories on paper‘. There is an entry fee of £8 and a first prize of £500 and second prize of £250. Closing date is 31st May 2017. Full details are on the Fiction Desk website.

Good Luck!

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Milton Keynes Short Story Competition

Ever been to Milton Keynes? It’s famous for its concrete cows and the urban myth that it was named after the two economists Milton Friedman and Maynard Keynes. The town’s name actually came from the old village of Milton Keynes which was in the centre of the area designated for development as a ‘new town’ in 1967.

2017 is Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday and, to help the town celebrate its half-centenary, a short story competition has been organised. Hooray!

The competition is asking for stories in any genre but they must be set in Milton Keynes. Maximum number of words is 1050 and the closing date is 21st April 2017.
£100 goes to the winner, £50 to second place and £25 to third place. Fifty of the best stories will be selected for publication in a limited edition anthology.
Entry is FREE and judges include local Milton Keynes authors Carole Matthews, Karen Guyler and Scott Dorward.

Full information is available on Carole Matthew’s website.

And, by the way, Milton Keynes gets a brief mention in my psychological thriller Bedsit Three

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Benefits of Writing Competitions

At the end of January Morton S. Gray celebrated the publication, by Choc Lit, of her first novel, The Girl on the Beach. The Girl on the Beach by Morton S GrayMorton’s success was the result of dogged perseverance and the culmination of a series of competition successes. Not surprisingly, she is now a great advocate of writing competitions and she’s here today to tell us how they helped her on the road to success:

Innocently entering a writing competition caused me to take my writing seriously! In 2006, a friend started a fledgling publishing business (sadly no longer trading) and she held a short story writing competition to raise the profile of the company. I entered, primarily to support her, and unbelievably won with my story “Human Nature versus the Spirit Guide”.
It was a wake-up call for me. I’d had a baby and not been well for a couple of years, so I was looking for a new direction. The competition win made me look at writing as a serious option for the future and it was relatively easy to combine with a small child still taking naps in the afternoon. I started to take courses to learn to polish my work. I entered several competitions and began to get shortlisted.

In 2008, I entered a Mills and Boon novel competition, the forerunner of their SYTYCW competitions. I quickly decided I wasn’t a Mills and Boon writer, as it is a particular way of writing and much harder than people might think to keep the focus on the main protagonists throughout a novel. However, the competition introduced me to several people with whom I’m still in contact.

Competitions give you a framework within which to work. They give you the discipline of a deadline and a word count. Not as many people enter these competitions as you may imagine, especially the smaller local ones. I’ve been involved in running a local competition and I was surprised not only by the relatively few number of entries, but by the fact that sixty percent of the entries were essentially the same story. Tip – think around the set theme for a while and don’t go for the obvious. Your entry will stand out if it is different.

Morton S. Gray

Morton S. Gray

I continued to get shortlisted for flash fiction, poetry, short story and novel competitions. In 2013, I came second in the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference competition for the first chapter of a novel and that resulted in an appearance on the Tammy Gooding show at BBC Hereford and Worcester Radio. All good experience. Later that year, I shortlisted in the New Talent Award at the then Festival of Romance, with another first chapter. I met a different group of writers, many of whom I’m still in contact with in real life and online.

These encouraging signs for my writing kept me going. It is easy to get despondent when writing, as it can be a very solitary occupation. Don’t spend your life thinking no one will want to read your work, imagining that it’s rubbish, not up to scratch, not worthy of anything but the bin. Been there, done that! Keep going, keep writing and get your work out to competitions, send it to magazines, publishers, agents. Writing is a constant learning process and is generally about persistence. You need an imaginative spark, yes, but you also need to be willing to check your work over time and again to make it the best it can be. What is the point of a manuscript in a drawer?

I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme and made sure I submitted a novel for critique every year. I also made a promise to myself to take part in the annual novel writing challenge NaNoWriMo and I’ve managed seven years running to write 50,000 words in November. One of these novels, when edited and passed through the RNA NWS critique service, I sent off to the Search for a Star competition run by a publisher I’d admired for many years, Choc Lit and I won! My debut novel, The Girl on the Beach was published on 24 January 2017.

I suppose the messages here are keep writing, learn your craft, polish your work and get it out into the world. My novel could so easily still be in that drawer under the bed. Competitions are a way of assessing how you are progressing, hopefully you’ll meet friends along the way and who knows, you might win a publishing contract like me.

I love Morton’s encouraging message and I love the blurb for The Girl on the Beach – the novel is now sitting on my Kindle hankering to be read. I think it might tempt some of you too:

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.
For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …
But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

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50 Word Story Competition

If the 50,000 word marathon of NaNoWriMo is too much for you, have a go at this 50 word story competition organised by Just Write.

It’s free to enter and an open theme but the story must be exactly 50 words – not as easy as it sounds!

There are prizes of books and ‘literary goodies’ plus the winner will be published on tyjustwrite.com.

Closing date is 30th November 2016 and entry is by email or post.

This competition could be a useful exercise in focusing the mind and creating an elevator pitch for your NaNoWriMo work-in-progress.

Also, there was a wordpress glitch when I published my last post and I don’t think notification emails were sent out. In case you missed it, it was 200 Powerful Words to Use Instead of Good .

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Win a Just Write Tote Bag and Goodies

Just Write, the Hodder creative writing community, are offering one lucky person a Just Write Tote Bag from the Creative Writing Competition party of the 18th August. Just Write Tote Bag
It will be filled with the following goodies: a copy of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, a proof copy of The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan,  Masterclass: Write a Bestseller by Jacq Burns, plus literary maps, discount cards and notebooks.

All you have to do is tell @JustWriteGroup, via Twitter, what made you start writing.

‘What made you start writing?’ was one of the questions asked in video interviews of the six shortlisted writers at the party. These videos (including me being a little too vociferous with my hands!) are now available to view on the Writing Magazine website. In the interviews each of us also offers the piece of writing advice that we’ve found the most useful – and amazingly we nearly all say the same thing!

The Just Write competition closes at 17:00 on September 23rd 2016 and the full competition rules are here.

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