Posts Tagged Short Stories

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 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

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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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