19 Short Story Competitions in 2014

The Sunday Times Short Story Prize
is the world’s richest short story competition with the winner receiving £30,000 (US$47,000). In 2014 the prize was won by Adam Johnson for his story ‘Nirvana’. The longlist for the 2015 Sunday Times Short Story Prize will be announced in February and the winner in April. Entries for the 2016 prize are expected to open in July 2015. The six stories shortlisted for the 2014 prize are available here.

Bristol Short Story Prize
is open to  stories up to 4000 words. Entries can be on any theme or subject and are welcome in any style including graphic, verse or genre-based (crime, science fiction, fantasy, historical, romance, children’s etc). Twenty stories will be shortlisted and published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 8. Entries close 30 April.

Zoetrope All-Story’s Annual Fiction Contest
has the aim of seeking out and encouraging talented writers, with the winning and runners-up’s work being forwarded to leading literary agents. A first prize of US$1000 is also offered. Stories can be up to 5000 words. Entries open on 1 July and are expected to close on 1 October.

A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest
is open to both fiction and creative non-fiction. Stories must be between 1000 and 5000 words and there are no entry fees. Entries are accepted between 1 April and 21 June each year.

PRISM International Short Fiction Contest
offers a CA$2000 (US$1800) first prize for stories up to 6000 words in length. The 2014 prize will be judged by novelist Joseph Boyden. Entries close 23 January. Continue Reading…

15 Ways to Write a Novel

25 November 2014 — 2 Comments
15 Ways to Write a Novel
Max Barry is one of Australia’s most exciting writers. His speculative fiction novel Lexicon was named as one of the 10 best fiction books of 2013 by Time magazine. In this post Max shares some of the methods he and other authors use to write a novel. 

Every year I get asked what I think about NaNoWriMo, and I don’t know how to answer, because I don’t want to say, “I think it makes you write a bad novel.”

This is kind of the point. You’re supposed to churn out 50,000 words in one month, and by the end you have a goddamn novel, one you wouldn’t have otherwise. If it’s not Shakespeare, it’s still a goddamn novel. The NaNoWriMo FAQ says: “Aiming low is the best way to succeed,” where “succeed” means “write a goddamn novel.”

I find it hard to write a goddamn novel. I can do it, but it’s not very fun. The end product is not much fun to read, either. I have different techniques. I thought I should wait until the end of November, when a few alternatives might be of interest to those people who, like me, found it really hard to write a goddamn novel, and those people who found it worked for them could happily ignore me.

Some of these methods I use a lot, some only when I’m stuck. Some I never use, but maybe they’ll work for you. If there were a single method of writing great books, we’d all be doing it.

1. The Word Target

What: You don’t let yourself leave the keyboard each day until you’ve hit 2,000 words.

Why: It gets you started. You stop fretting over whether your words are perfect, which you shouldn’t be doing in a first draft. It captures your initial burst of creative energy. It gets you to the end of a first draft in only two or three months. If you can consistently hit your daily target, you feel awesome and motivated.

Why Not: It can leave you too exhausted to spend any non-writing time thinking about your story. It encourages you to pounce on adequate ideas rather than give them time to turn into great ones. It encourages you to use many words instead of few. If you take a wrong turn, you can go a long way before you realize it. It can make you feel like a failure as a writer when the problem is that you’re trying to animate a corpse. It can make you dread writing.

2. The Word Ceiling

What: You write no more than 500 words per day.

Why: You force yourself to finish before you really want to, which makes you spend the rest of the day thinking about getting back to the story, which often produces good new ideas. You feel good about yourself even if you only produced a few hundred words that day. You don’t beat yourself up about one or two bad writing days. You give yourself time to turn good ideas into great ones. Writing feels less like hard work. (More on this.)

Why Not: It takes longer (six months or more). It can be difficult to work on the same idea for a very long time. It may take so long that you give up. Continue Reading…

New Orleans Review is Accepting Work for a Special Science Fiction Issue

New Orleans Review is currently accepting work for a special science fiction issue to be published in spring 2015. The editors are looking for science or speculative fiction in any genre, including short stories, flash fiction, image/text collisions, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Prose submissions should be no longer than 7500 words. Poetry submissions should be no more than five pages (if you are working in long-form or series, you may send up to fifteen pages of poetry). All work must be previously unpublished but simultaneous submissions are accepted. All contributors will receive two complimentary copies of the issue.

Submissions close on 31 December 2014. For full details see New Orleans Review’s submissions page.

New Orleans Review is also considering work for its web features series. Fiction and nonfiction may be up to 2500 words and poetry can be up to five pages. Book reviews and interviews are also being accepted; see NOR’s website for full details.

Continue Reading…

By Zoë Sadokierski
Lecturer, School of Design at University of Technology, Sydney

How publishing works: a book designer's perspective - Image by Zoe Sadokierski

Publishing is the process of getting the author’s story out of her or his head and into the hands of a reader. Zoe Sadokierski

Authors don’t write books, they write manuscripts. Publishing is the process of getting an author’s manuscript into the hands of a reader, by materialising it – giving it form, as a book. This may be printed (a codex) or digital (an ebook).

I produced the illustrations in this post for a Sydney Writers Festival talk in 2012. All publishing houses have different protocols and cultures; this overview is based on my experience as an in-house book designer at Allen&Unwin (2003-2006), and as a freelance designer for a range of Australian publishers over the past decade.

How publishing works a book designers perspective - Image 2 - Zoe Sadokierski

The author enters a publishing house with a manuscript. Zoe Sadokierski

The author’s manuscript is either solicited (the publisher asks them to write it) or unsolicited (the author writes it, then shops for a publisher). Being rejected is awful and publishing contracts are complicated, so many authors employ an agent to negotiate a deal with a publisher.

Continue Reading…

Cove Park is a Scottish artists’ retreat located on the Rosneath peninsula, an hour’s drive west of Glasgow. In 2015 Cove Park is offering a minimum of three literature residencies. The residencies are open to writers around the world.

Cove Park was founded in 1999 by Peter and Eileen Jacobs. The centre’s residencies “respond to the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in all the art forms, whether performing or visual arts, crafts, literature or music. [Its] interdisciplinary programmes, for both individuals and collaborating groups, offer time, space and freedom to make new work and to find new ways of working.”

Cove Park’s distinguished alumni include Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, Brian Chikwava, Helen Cross, Rachel Cusk, Fred D’Aguiar, Joe Dunthorne, Jennie Erdal, Rodge Glass, John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, Jack Mapanje, Michael Pedersen, Jo Shapcott, Zoe Strachan, Chiew-Siah Tei, Kate Tough, Christos Tsiolkas, Chika Unigwe, Louise Welsh and Nicola White.

The 2015 literature residencies will take place between March and September and last for between one and three months. Applications are invited from established writers of short and long fiction; poetry; creative non-fiction and memoir; work that crosses these genres and also writers who have made their reputation in one field and wish to develop in another. To be eligible for consideration, writers must have published at least one full-length book in their field.

Continue Reading…

Friday Aerogramme: 10 Links for Writers & Readers (7 November 2014)

Friday 7 November 2014

  1. The nominees for the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards were announced this week. There are 15 nominees in each of the 20 categories ranging from fiction to fantasy to young adult fiction to food & cookbooks. The first round of voting closes tomorrow and the semi-finals run until 15 November.
  2. Rolling Stone has published an exclusive excerpt from Stephen King’s forthcoming novel, Revival. This ‘modern-day Frankenstein story’ is out on 11 November.
  3. Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson has shared some news of her plans to grow a start up with Steven Brill. Writers will be paid advances of around $100,000 to produce stories that will be longer than long magazine articles but shorter than books. There will be “one perfect whale of a story” each month and it will be available by subscription.
  4. Weave Magazine is seeking positive, self-motivated individuals to join its team of reviewers. Experience is preferred and reviewers can be based anywhere in the world.
  5. International Business Times has published an interesting article titled What Is Wattpad? The ‘YouTube For Stories’ Is Transforming Book Publishing. For writers wanting advice on using Wattpad, Rowena Wiseman has some fantastic tips.
  6. Australian writer and comedian Catherine Deveny has shared Ten Things No One Ever Tells You About Writing: “Remember, you’re not trying to kill anyone; you’re just trying to write some words, that turn into sentences that turn into stories. This platitude has helped too: ‘It doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’re lapping everyone on the couch’.”
  7. Tin House is accepting submissions for its non-themed Summer 2015 issue. It is looking for fiction, poetry, non-fiction and interviews. Submissions close 15 November. For more calls for submissions see our November and December Opportunities for Writers post.
  8. Writers have just over two weeks to get their entries in for the $20,000 Museum of Words Flash Fiction Contest. The entry process asks for a passport number which has understandably caused a few queries. Silvia from the Museum has explained that they require the passport number or another form of ID to make sure that everyone follows the rule of only one entry per person. The final entry deadline is Sunday 23 November.
  9. Amy Mason has won the Dundee International Book Prize. According to the BBC, the Bournemouth-born writer and performer Ms Mason left school at 16 and said she was a “disaster” throughout her 20s until she was “saved” by an evening writing class aged 25. Entries for the next Dundee Prize, which carries a £10,000 cash award plus publication, are expected to open in February.
  10. Are you looking for a way to write without distractions? If so, the Hemingwrite may be just the answer. This modern day twist on the typewriter helps people craft prose without the risk of being distracted by social media.hemingwrite details.jpg

For book news, writing competition updates, publication opportunities and more follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers

Boulevard is accepting entries for its annual short fiction contest for emerging writers. The winner will receive US$1500 and have their story published in the magazine.

Boulevard is an American literary magazine established in 1985 and based at St. Louis University in Missouri. Boulevard aims to publish the finest in fiction, poetry and non-fiction and was described by Poet Laureate Daniel Hoffman as ‘one of the half-dozen best literary journals’. The magazine has been edited throughout its history by Richard Burgin, a five-time Pushcart Prize winner.

Boulevard’s Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers is open worldwide to people who have not yet published a book of fiction, poetry or creative non-fiction with a nationally distributed press. Stories may be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished.

The 2013 contest was won by Terrance Manning Jr for his story ‘Andretti in El Camino’. The story is available to be read in full here (PDF).

Continue Reading…