I’ve had a couple of ‘near misses’ this month, competition wise, but as they say, a shortlisting is still an achievement, and I’m certainly clinging on to that at the moment…
My Write Invite story (written in half an hour) placed 2nd last week and I also made the shortlist of the latest Flash 500 fiction competition too. It’s lovely to do well in Write Invite, but Flash 500 seems ‘bigger’ somehow as apparently they get several hundred entries each quarter. Am I disappointed not to have won? Well, yes, a bit, but as many judges point out, a lot of it is personal taste and opinion, plus at least I know I was along the right lines.
I’ve noticed recently that I tend to do a lot better in flash fiction (usually 500 words or under) competitions than short story contests which have a longer word limit and have been wondering why this is… I think it’s probably that my longer short stories just aren’t ‘edgy’ or perhaps ‘literary’ enough for writing competitions. They tend to be much better suited to the womens’ magazine markets and whilst I’ve still only sold a very modest number to fiction editors, I’ve certainly done better with them than I have with competitions… Now, I’m not complaining! It’s hard to write for womens’ magazines, much harder than many people realise, plus if they like your story, you get paid a good rate (in my opinion) and don’t need to worry about any dodgy rules that may be lurking in the small print (some competitions are known for publishing runner up stories but not paying the writer anything or awarding a prize…). Still, I continue entering competitions I trust in the hope that one day I’ll pen a prize winning story.
If you’re interested, here are a few opportunities I’ve come across recently and two of them are FREE!
Helen Yendall is running a free to enter 100 word competition on her excellent and very friendly blog, here. There are five random words that must be included though so make sure you have a good read of her blog post, which has all the details.
You can win a book by womag and crime writer, Maggie Cobbett in this free to enter flash fiction competition too. It’s run by Erewash Writers.
And lastly, for a longer short story, I’ve just spotted this competition too. It’s called The Brighton Prize. I like what I’ve read so far – it’s £6 to enter but with a prize of £400 for the winner and two runner up prizes of £50 too. Plus, the writers of shortlisted stories will be ‘offered’ publication in their anthology. It’s good that they will be asked first, rather than just having their stories published (and therefore disqualified from almost all other writing opportunities everywhere) without giving their agreement.
I think these three are well worth a go!