This week, I have been working on a few short stories ready to submit to competitions before I leave on my holidays next week. I've re-worked, edited, changed word order, then changed it back again in some cases and generally polished the writing to make it the best I possibly can. I've read the stories out loud and spotted words left out, checked the rules and noted who the judges are. At last came the moment when the stories and cover sheets went into the respective envelopes along with the cheques for the appropriate entry fees and I dropped them into the post box. Others I submitted on-line with fees paid via PayPal. I can now forget about them and wait.
Here is another reminder that there is still time to enter The Alfie Dog Fiction International Short Story Competition. The closing date is 30th September and there two great prizes:
£200 AND Publication of a short story collection of 35,000 – 40,000 words with editorial support for completion
full critique of stories to a total maximum word count of 10,000 words
Entry fees are the download of 5 short stories (different authors) so it has the added benefit of generating royalties for other authors. Stories are submitted online. Please click here for full details, Competition rules and entry form.
For those of you who still haven't entered, this is what Editor, Rosemary Kind, said in her review of last year's competition which you may find helpful:
'In the initial stages every story was assessed looking for how well they met key points. These included in no particular order: the title, opening, story arc, ending, the depth of the characters, speech, layout, emotion, originality, grammar etc, readability and reader satisfaction. Each story was scored in all of these areas.
While scoring them makes it sound like an objective process, clearly what constitutes a good opening is a subjective matter. You may also think there are some obvious things missing, such as whether the story was written from the right point of view and whether the writer had handled things such as point of view effectively, but the consideration of these came within the heading of reader satisfaction.
In later rounds stories were reread with more emphasis on originality, reader satisfaction and emotion and less on the basic components, which by this stage had been established. In purely statistical terms, endings were the weakest area and one many writers would benefit from looking at this aspect more closely. This was followed by the depth of characters and perhaps unsurprisingly openings. In contrast the mechanics of layout and grammar, punctuation, spelling etc were handled very well in almost all entries.
What set the better stories apart, more than anything, was the originality of their story ideas and the high level of reader satisfaction. Ideas were not contrived, but enabled the reader to suspend reality for a few minutes and enter a different world. Their characters were convincing and believable with a greater depth of emotion that touched the reader.'
Good luck to everyone!
Have you judged any writing competitions? Perhaps you'd like to tell us what you think makes a winning story.
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