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And the prize goes to…

March 11th, 2016

esther-plus-cat-blogWhen I was a student with The Writers Bureau (far too many years ago than I care to remember!), I loved entering short story competitions. Little did I know back then that I’d become a tutor for The Writers Bureau or that I’d run a series of writing competitions.

You’ll find details of my latest competition below (and on my blog):

https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/writing-competition-2016-open-for-entry-now/ .

The Writers Bureau also has a flash fiction competition open for entries: www.wbcompetition.com

Type ‘writing competitions’ into your search engine and pages and pages of numerous competitions appear before your very eyes. Poetry, article writing, short stories, novellas and flash fiction to name a few; there’s a competition for any and every type of writing. But exactly what is the attraction of competitions and are they worth entering?

One of the attractions of competitions is that they’re great fun to enter and if you are named as a prize winner, there’s no feeling quite like it. Many competitions have cash prizes and of course, there’s the prestige that’s associated with a competition win. It’s something to put at the top of your writing CV and it can lead to other work. The majority of competitions also publish the winning entries in print form, in a magazine or anthology, while others publish on the internet. Some organisers also provide a critique to the entrant in exchange for just a few pounds. This can be invaluable as all too often editors reject our writing with no hint of why our precious piece of work isn’t suitable.

So what advice can I give you if you’re thinking about entering any of these competitions?

Think outside the box. When I ran my last competition, a lot of entries focused on death and an apocalyptic world. Jot down several ideas. The first few will probably be themes a lot of entrants will write about. Ignore these and let your mind push you forward and onto something a little different.

Take me to the scene. A judge wants to find herself completely absorbed in the story and to be transported to the scene. Use the different senses to bring the writing to life.

Make your characters real. It’s often the attention to the little details that brings a character to life – their mannerisms, the way they say things, what they say, how they look etc. Imagine your character in your mind; even write down some characteristics and what they look like. This will help you to make them come to life on the page.

Adhere to the rules. Read through any competition rules carefully e.g. there’s likely to be a word limit. Even if your word count is one word over this limit, your entry will be disqualified. If all the other entrants have kept within the word limit, why should you be allowed extra?

Read through your entry again and again and again. It’s best to set your story aside for a few days and then to read it through a few times. Try reading it aloud. This is an excellent way for seeing if you’ve missed a word out, or if a sentence doesn’t make sense.

Now here are the details of my two short story competitions:

Flash Fiction Competition:

Prizes: 1st £25, 2nd £15, 3rd £10

Entry fee: £2 for up to two stories

Word Limit: Stories of up to 100 words are invited on any theme.

1000 word themed story:

Prizes: 1st £75, 2nd £50, 3rd £25

Entry fee: £2 per story

Word Limit: Stories of up to 1000 words are invited on the theme of TREASURE. How you choose to interpret that theme is up to you. The treasure in question could be pirates’ treasure, treasure at the bottom of the sea or a treasured loved one. Perhaps the treasure is a much loved object from childhood or a treasured memory. Let you imagination go and see where it takes you.

Payment can be made by credit card or Paypal: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/writing-competition-2016-open-for-entry-now/

Cheques should be made payable to Esther Newton.

Entries should be submitted as e-mail attachments in Word or PDF format. In the body of the e-mail, please detail the following: your name, postal address, e-mail address, story title and word count.

For postal entries, please include a cover sheet with the following information: your name, contact details, story title and word count. If you want your story back, please enclose an S.A.E.

The title does not form part of the word count.

Your name should not appear anywhere on the story.

E-mail entries to: esthernewton@virginmedia.com

Postal entries to: Flash Fiction/1000 word Competition, 21 Fuller Close

Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 4GS, England

Closing date: 31st May 2016

Winning entries will be published on the website: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/

Good luck!

 

 

 

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