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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