Writing is its own reward, but it’s good to submit to contests to see how your work rates. It can give energy and focus to your writing, and if your submission wins, you might catch the eye of an editor or agent.
See the list below for several upcoming contests. For a more detailed list, visit Poets & Writers online.
Deadline: August 31, 2013
Entry Fee: $4 ($3 for each additional entry)
Gemini Magazine, Flash Fiction Contest, David Bright, Editor. P.O. Box 1485, Onset, MA 02558. (339) 309-9757, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gemini Magazine awards a prize of $1,000 and publication annually for a short short story. Submit a story of up to 1,000 words. Call, e-mail, or visit the website for complete instructions. Read more
A few days ago, I had a flash of insight about a story I wanted to write. I quickly wrote out a draft and after making some changes, I looked at it and decided I was missing some of the deeper meaning.
I’m going to rely on my subconscious self to delve into the deeper meaning. I have a strategy to do this. If you’re also looking for ways to build out a piece of your writing, you may want to try it.
1. Print a poem, short story, or a few pages of a manuscript you’re working on and read it right before you go to sleep. If you have any outstanding questions about its direction, write them in the margins of your page and think about them as you drift off to sleep. As you sleep, your story will be simmering in your subconscious. Read more
In literary agent April Eberhardt‘s short story workshop at the recent Pacific Northwest Writer’s Contest, she gave us a list of six elements to look for in stories.
Eberhardt suggests that we write our story first and then overlay these six elements on it to help polish our work.
Six elements of short stories:
Setting. Set the stage close to the beginning of the story. In my earlier post, I quote poet Nelson Bentley, “Give the readers a place to stand, and then you can take them anywhere.” Read more
Part of being a writer is getting your writing out into the world. Entering your stories, poems or screenplays gives you the opportunity for publication and recognition.
Entries for these four contests are due at the end of December or early next year. For information about other upcoming contests, check out writing magazines, including Writer’s Digest, The Writer and Writer’s and Poets.
Meridian’s 2012 Editors’ Prize Contests – poetry and short story
Fiction writers may submit one story of 10,000 words or fewer. Poets may submit up to four poems totaling 10 pages or fewer. Entrants receive a subscription to Meridian’s electronic edition. Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in the Spring/Summer issue of Meridian are given annually for a poem and a short story.
Deadline: December 30, 2011
Entry Fee: $8
For more information and contest rules, check out the website. Read more
From the beginning of his writing career, Anton Chekhov was recognized for his originality. Writer Leo Tolstoy called Chekhov, “an incomparable artist…an artist of life.”
Chekhov wrote about ordinary events and the relationships of people in small towns and villages. He employed a variety of techniques, including pacing and word choices that paint imagery, create his characters and reveal their changing moods. His style, in stories such as, “The Lady with the Little Dog,” and “The Huntsman,” built a new literary form that was described as impressionistic by other writers of his time.
In letters Chekhov sent to his writing contemporaries, as well as his family, Chekhov often discussed his work and ideas about story craft. His advice is as relevant now as it was in the 1800s. In a May 10, 1886, letter to his brother Alexander, also a writer, Chekhov noted six principles of a good story.
- Absence of lengthy verbiage of a political-social-economic nature Read more
As much as writing is a solitary pursuit, most writers improve their craft by brainstorming ideas and learning the perspectives of other authors, editors, and mentors.
One of my favorite writers, Anton Chekhov, frequently corresponded with other writers to offer guidance and inspiration.
Here are a few pieces of encouragement and advice Chekhov wrote in letters to Russian writer Maxim Gorky in the late 1800s.
“You ask what is my opinion of your stories. My opinion? The talent is unmistakable and it is a real, great talent. For instance, in the story “In the Steppe,” it is expressed with extraordinary vigour, and I actually felt a pang of envy that it was not I who had written it. You are an artist, a clever man, you feel superbly, you are plastic—that is, when you describe a thing, you see it and you touch it with your hands. That is real art.
There is my opinion for you, and I am very glad I can express it to you. I am, I repeat, very glad, and if we could meet and talk for an hour or two you would be convinced of my high appreciation of you and of the hopes I am building on your gifts. Read more