Posts Tagged Short Stories

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 From Erewash Writers

Debbie from Erewash Writers has been in touch with information about their latest short story competitions:

The first one is FREE to enter. It has a theme of ‘Summer Loving’  and there is a maximum of 1,200 words in which to tell the story. The closing date is 27th August 2015 and the judge is Andrew Campbell-Kearsey, author of more than 100 published short stories. The winner will receive Andrew’s book ‘Centurionman‘, one free entry to the Erewash Open Short Story Competition 2016 plus online publication of the story on their website and Facebook page. Full competition details can be found here.

The second competition is the Erewash Open Short Story Competition, closing September 24th 2015. Entry fees are a reasonable £3 per entry or £2.50 if entering two or more stories. The competition has an open theme and 2,000 words limit.  The judge is Simon Whaley. There are two categories to this competition: New Writer and Open.
Prizes are: £100 First, £50 Second, £25 Third, £25 Fourth plus two ‘Highly Commended’ each win 2016 comp free entry.
Full competition details can be found here.

So, no reason not to pick up your pen and get busy this weekend!

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Alfie Dog Fiction International Short Story Competition

Many of you will already be aware of Alfie Dog Fiction. They are one of the biggest short story download sites on the internet and they have just announced their first short story competition.

First prize is £200 and publication of a 35 – 40,000 word short story collection (e-book and paperback).

Second prize is a critique of short stories up to a total of 10,000 words.

The entry fee is rather unusual. It is the download of five paid short stories by different authors. Prices for stories start at 39p so you may be able to get five stories for £2.00.

In my opinion £2.00 to enter a competition with a £200 prize and book publication is very good value (plus you get the stories as well!).

Stories must be between 1,000 and 2,000 words and in any genre normally carried by Alfie Dog (which gives you a lot of scope).

The closing date is 30th September 2014 – so plenty of time to get you’re thinking caps on!

The full competition details are here.

 

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Cremona Hotel Romance Writing Competition

Many thanks to my friend Nick for bringing this competition to my attention.

Earlier this year the Cremona Hotel in Bournemouth held a crime writing short story competition (I entered but never heard a thing, so I guess I didn’t win …). It must have been a success because now they are holding a romance writing short story competition.

Entry is FREE and you must write a romantic story of up to 1,200 words with a seaside background.

First prize is a weekend for two at the Cremona and there are runners up prizes of £25 and £15.

Closing date is 14th Feb 2014. Full details can be found here.

Talking of competitions – has anyone discovered where, on the Best magazine website, the weekly ‘stories’ are, one of which contains the name of a famous writer? Entrants to the Best short story competition need to include this writer’s name as part of their entry. All I’ve found are three interviews with writers – any of which could be classed as ‘famous’.

Finally, as you read this, I am up in Leeds on a ‘How to Write the Mystery Novel’ weekend, run by ‘Relax and Write’. I’ll let you know how I got on next week, along with announcing the winner of the Book Review Competition (you’ve got until midnight Sat 26th to enter).

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Short Story Competition Advice by Iain Pattison

Iain Pattison is a successful short story writer, frequent competition judge and a writing tutor.Iain Pattison

He has kindly agreed to share some of his wisdom with us today. He is pleading for more humour and less heartbreak in your competition entries:

You know, sometimes I think judging short story competitions should come with a health warning. Not that it’s dangerous – well, not if you can run fast enough from those who haven’t won – but more because of the awful things it can do to your state of mind.

It’s always the same. Each time a big envelope of entries drops through my letter box I grin insanely knowing I’m in for a reading feast. But then, moments later, I remember that  95% of them will be stories of angst, despair, betrayal, abuse, regret, anger and disappointment and I gulp and wonder if my poor ragged nerves will stand the trauma.

It’s not that I’m a delicate flower or have a soulful, artistic disposition (I make Frankie Boyle look like Pollyanna on a particularly upbeat day), it’s just that no one can take hour after hour, page after page, tale after tale of gloom, doom, depravity and darkness without it leaving them so down in the dumps it would take a JCB to effect a rescue.

In some larger comps the pile of entries stand four feet high – that’s a tower of tears, a soaring spire of sorrow, a mountain with pique at the top! And the only thing that gets me through the relentless emotional pounding is the rare treasured tale that provides a chuckle.

For a few precious smile-filled minutes I escape the plight of characters being diagnosed with cancer, discovering their spouses are having affairs, fretting over putting elderly relatives into care homes or dealing with their drug/alcohol/Facebook addictions , and just have a good laugh.  Bliss. Sheer bliss.

So it won’t come as a surprise that I always urge writers to go for humour if they want to stand out in comps. Funny stories don’t have to be trite, lacking in compassion or silly. They can make the same telling points about how people behave, about the madness of modern life, and reveal real truths about the human condition – but do it with a few welcome giggles along the way.

Nor do they need to gag-packed or slapstick. Some of the funniest stories I’ve ever judged have been deadpan all the way through until springing an unexpected and ironic twist.

Is That A Pun In Your PocketOther adjudicators feel the same – we all call for comedy. And if you take a look at my eBook Is That A Pun In Your Pocket? 21 Short Stories To Tickle Your Fancy you’ll see that many of my satirical tales did indeed catch the eye of jaded judges.

So please – more funnies. It’ll boost your chances, make judges love you, and mean that The Samaritans can lift the bar they’ve put on my overwrought phone calls!

Many thanks to Iain for his advice! And if you want to see how Iain injects humour into his own stories do take  a look at  Is That A Pun In Your Pocket? 21 Short Stories To Tickle Your Fancy. I particularly liked Iain’s modernised version of A Christmas Carol and his take on Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

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Something for Nothing

Who doesn’t like something for nothing?

So here are a few bits and pieces that won’t cost you a penny:

 

  • Nick Daws is running a competition on his blog to win a copy of his new course ‘Blogging for Writers’. All you have to do is send him a guest post of between 500 to 1000 words for his writing blog. The winning entry will be published on his (high-traffic) blog along with any others that he feels are of sufficient interest to his readers. The closing date is Sunday 31st March at 5pm.

 

  • Ideas Tap are running a competition for stories on any theme between 1,200 and 5,000 words in length. Up to 12 stories will be chosen to receive expert feedback plus publication in an e-anthology. The closing date is 28th May and full details are here.

 

 

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Carole Matthews’ Winter Warmers

Romantic novelist Carole Matthews has produced a collection of 3 short stories available for free (possibly for a limited time only!) download. The collection is called ‘Winter Warmers’ and is available from Amazon here.

It will be published on the 26th November but you can pre-order it now for free and it will be automatically delivered to your Kindle on the 26th.

Enjoy!

 

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Snapshots of History – Stories from the Past

Do you enjoy reading or writing historical short stories?

If so, it might be worth having a look at Snapshots of History. It’s a small magazine that appears twice a year and each issue offers the chance to win £25 (first prize) or £15 (second prize). I won second prize in the latest edition and have been asking the editor, Sally Bland, all about the magazine.

Here’s what she had to say in answer to my questions:

What made you start the magazine?
I have always enjoyed history and also creative writing.  I particularly like the idea of capturing a moment or event from a previous period and bringing it back to life.  There are quite a few short story publications around, but hardly any which are dedicated to historical writing.  Those that are, are often either military history or specifically historical romance.  My aim has always been to take a wider range of stories with different themes.
How did you build a following?
I put some adverts in writing magazines, offering free copies of the introductory issue.  We got a good response, better than expected, and ran out quite quickly!
Are you a writer?
I wrote the serial in Snapshots (Secrets & Scandals: The Life and Times of Annabella Beaumont) which concluded in the summer issue.  I am an aspiring writer so understand the difficulties which other writers face in such a tough industry.  I recently finished a part-time undergraduate degree in English and American Literature with the University of Kent, which has been quite a time commitment over six years.  I hope now to have more time to dedicate to creative writing.
Is there one particular period in history that receives most submissions?
WWII – I think because it’s such a huge subject and also because it is in living memory (either directly or through stories passed down from parents and grandparents).
Is there a period that isn’t covered that you’d like to receive stories for?
Generally we get quite a good range of stories, though we only occasionally get anything Medieval or from the English Civil War.  I don’t know why that is, they are just not popular periods.

 

So if you fancy dabbling in the past and creating a fictional view of a particular character, event or time period (my story was based around the marriage of Wallis Simpson to Edward VIII) – here is your chance.

Details of how to get hold of the magazine and/or enter the twice yearly competitions are available on the Snapshots of History website.

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Multi-Story Increases Prize Pot

Helen from Multi-Story.co.uk has been in touch to tell me that for their latest short story competition, the prize pot has been increased to £500 for the first prize. Second prize is £100 and third prize £50.

The competition has an open theme and a word limit of 2,500. So there’s lots of scope there for writing something new or maybe you’ve got a favourite story which hasn’t got a home yet…

The judge is Amelia Farrell who has written short stories and serials for over 30 years, under various pen names. Have a look at the website to see what she’ll be looking for in the winning entry. But be warned, she says, “… don’t mistake me for some old girl who’s only interested in romance and cosy crime!” So this might not be the place to send a Womag story.

Entry is £5 and closing date is 30th June 2012. See the website for full details. The website also has a page giving pointers on how to improve your chances when entering competitions. Much of it has been said before but it’s always useful to have it drummed home again – especially the ‘Dare to be Different’ motto. Judges have a lot of stories to read and are looking for something that stands out from the rest.

Talking of competitions, I was pleased recently to make the longlist of the Flashbang Crime Story competition. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the shortlist but it was good to know that I’d been in the top 25% of entries.

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Two American Short Story Markets

The western front of the United States Capitol...

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The beauty of the internet is that it brings the world into our living-rooms. We can target markets across the globe without worrying about the cost of international postage and how to include a stamped addressed envelope for a reply.

Here are two American websites to which I’ve submitted work: 

  • Long and Short Reviews specialises in romantic fiction. Their main function is to review full-length novels, however every Thursday they publish a short story. Stories must be between 1000 and 1500 words and contain a strong romantic element and a ‘happy ever after’ or at least ‘hopefully happy ever after’ ending. Payment is minimal ($5 plus a free 1 month advert if you have a book that you want to promote) but they include a short biography with each story in which you can include your website/blog.  Full submission details are here. I submitted a story originally written for the UK women’s magazine market. It had done the rounds here without success but I didn’t want to consign it indefinitely to my desk drawer. The story is available to read here on the Long and Short Reviews site. By the way Long and Short Reviews has a sister site, Whipped Cream, that deals with erotic fiction – so don’t be shocked if you see that mentioned in the submission guidelines on the site!

 

  • The second market is a regular competition organised on the Readingwriters site.  Each competition has a different theme and varying word count so you need to check the current requirements. I like these competitions because they are free to enter but offer a $100 prize and the judging procedure allows you to see how near (or otherwise) you were to winning. The stories that got through the first round of judging are listed on the website, then a bit later those that got through the second round of judging and finally the winner’s name plus ‘honourable mentions’ are published. The winning story is posted on the site along with a critique by the judge.

So why not send your work across the pond and see if you can make it big in the US!

Failing that, sign up for email updates to this blog and enter the prize draw for a set of Stieg Larsson books. For details, click  here.

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