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Short Story Extremes

February 17th, 2017

people's-friend-bloggyFirst, thanks to Mary for last week’s blog. It really is important that you proof your work thoroughly before you send it out to an editor or a publisher. If you’ve not bothered to correct silly typing mistakes then they might wonder just how carefully you’ve checked your facts. I’ve done a lot of proofreading in my time and I actually find it quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in knowing more about what’s involved – either to check your own work, or to take it up as a freelance career – then you might want to consider our Proofreading and Copy Editing Course.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our 2017 Short Story Competition is now open for entries until 31st March. If you’re thinking about sending in your work, why not have a look at how some of the modern masters write their stories. Every year the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition is held with a prize of £30,000. As you can imagine, with prize money at that level, the standard of entries is pretty high.

Even if you don’t feel confident enough to enter, they have a wonderful website where you can read interviews with the judges and get an insight into their thought processes. Also, you can listen to winning stories from previous years, read aloud by well-known actors. It really will give you a feel for what makes a competition winner, and how much more experimental they can be.

Entry for the 2017 competition has now closed, the longlist has been announced and the shortlist will follow soon. But if you do decide that this is one for you they’ll be accepting entries for the 2018 prize from 25th June.

At the other end of the spectrum – but still as valid – are the stories that are published in women’s magazines. I notice that The People’s Friend magazine is currently looking for new writers. They publish seven stories a week, two serials and fortnightly pocket novels – so there’s plenty of scope. The magazine is published by D C Thomson which has a good reputation for working with, and developing, new writing talent. But they do stress that stories should reflect the readership’s interests and be entertaining, optimistic and reflect traditional family values.

Other big pluses include the fact that they pay on acceptance rather than publication, and they have a great section on their website with detailed writing guidelines and the fiction editor’s blog. Payment apparently starts at £80 per story.

So, if you don’t feel that highbrow literary stories are for you, then you might want to consider this market, but make sure you do your research properly (as always) and know what the readers are looking for. It’s not an easier option – just a very different one.

Next week, my guest will be Kym Mason who won second prize in last year’s flash fiction competition with her story Final Destination. I think you’ll be impressed with her dedication in finding her own personal writing space!



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