A post by Naomi Wood, Goldsmiths, University of London

Writing is something of a lawless place. Lawless, because there’s no clear indication that your effort will bring success; or that an answer will ever emerge from the mud; or that the most insane, most unpromising idea won’t reward you eventually.

Writing, especially in the drafting stage, can get very swampy indeed. In the first drafts I write to see what’s going to happen. I don’t know anything until I’ve begun to probe the life of the character. Is there someone at the door? A piece of unexpected news in the post? Weevils in the flour which means the cake is ruined?

I find first drafts scary and hard to do. I will do lots of other things instead of writing this draft. Scrubbing mould from the bathroom’s grouting. My laundry. My marking. Even my tax return, with its eminently calculable results …

What I do to get it done is lie to myself. I tell myself I’m writing short-stories, not a novel. If I take baby-steps I know I can get there, but if I knew it was a marathon, I’d never begin.

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Applications Now Open for the $35,000 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2015

Recent films written by Nicholl Fellows

Applications for the prestigious and lucrative Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting are now open for 2016.

This international screenwriting competition awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. Since 1986, 154 fellowships totaling $3,915,000 have been awarded.

Who Can Enter

The competition is open to writers based anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenship. All entrants must be aged over 18. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Translated scripts are not eligible.

The fellowships are intended for new and/or amateur screenwriters. In order to be eligible, an entrant’s total earnings for motion picture and television writing may not exceed US$25,000 before the end of the competition.

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Mistakes Writers Make When Submitting to Literary Magazines
In this guest post Eva Langston from Carve Magazine shares ten of the most common mistakes writers make when submitting their work.

1. Not reading literary magazines

This seems obvious, but if you want to get published in a journal, it’s helpful to read the types of pieces they publish. Most literary magazines suggest you read a few back issues first to get a sense of their aesthetic. In an ideal world, you should do this, but chances are you don’t have time to read multiple back issues of every single journal you’re going to submit to. Instead, make it your goal to simply read more literary magazines than you currently do. Subscribe to a few each year. Get your friends to subscribe to different publications and then trade. And of course, take advantage of free online journals, such as Carve. Read a story whenever you have a spare moment, even if it’s on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store.

2. Not submitting your best work

Instead of finishing a story and submitting it immediately, let your piece rest for a few months then go back and revise. Workshop it, or let a trusted writer friend read it and give feedback. Print it out and triple-check for grammatical and spelling errors. Read your piece out loud at least once. Only submit when you think the piece is the best it can possibly be.

3. Not following guidelines

Double check all guidelines before submitting to a magazine. Is there a word count requirement? Should your name be removed from the piece? Should your document be in Word, PDF, or rich text format? If it’s an email submission, do they want the document attached, or pasted into the body of the email? Do they accept simultaneous submissions? Don’t risk getting your piece being tossed out because you didn’t follow the rules.

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The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest 2016

Kenyon Review was founded by John Crowe Ransom in 1939. It prides itself on publishing talented emerging writers, especially from diverse communities, alongside many distinguished, established writers. Kenyon Review’s short stories have won more O. Henry Awards than any other non-profit journal and it frequently appears on lists ranking America’s best literary magazines.

The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest is only open to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. To enter writers must provide a story of up to 1200 words.

The judge of the 2016 contest is Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, winner of the  National Book Award for Fiction in 2010. An entry fee of US$20 is payable with each entry; in exchange each entrant receives a one year subscription to the magazine (normally $30).

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Residencies for Writers in 2016

We will be adding to this list throughout the year, so please check back for updates. For more regular updates about residencies for writers, as well as other opportunities for writers, follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

 

American Library in Paris Visiting Fellowship
Found in 1920, the American Library is Paris is a private, non-profit English-language library. It’s fellowship program is open to writers worldwide. Fellows receive a stipend of US$5000 to assist with travel and housing costs. Applications close 12 February.

Danish Centre for Writers and Translators
Since 1999 the Danish Centre for Writers and Translators has offered writers, translators and illustrators free working residencies at the old manor Hald Hovedgaard, situated 10 kilometres from the town of Viborg, in the middle of Denmark.The Centre is offering four-week residencies in June 2016 to international authors who have had at least two books of fiction or poetry published. Applications close on 21 February.

Norton Island Residency
Located in Maine, halfway between Mount Desert National Park and Campobello Island, Norton Island  is a remote, rustic wilderness with facilities to accommodate writers and artists. A committee of independent jurors will selected 16 writers (from fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction) for inclusion in the program which runs from 26 June to 5 July 2016. If accepted, a $125 residency fee is payable, though a small number of scholarships are available. Applications close on 1 March.

Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence Project
The Kerouac Project provides four residencies a year to writers living anywhere in the world. Each residency consists of approximately a three-month stay in Orlando, Florida, in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote his novel Dharma Bums. Utilities and a food stipend of US$800 are included. The Project also offers opportunities for residents to participate in readings, workshops and to interact with the central Florida writing community. Applications for the 2016-2017 residencies close on 13 March and results will be announced in May.


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James Jones Fellowship 2016

The James Jones Fellowship Contest is now in its 25th year. It awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2016. Two runners-up will each receive $1000.

Entrants are asked to supply a two-page outline of their entire novel, plus the first 50 pages of the work.

The fellowship is only for unpublished first novels: collections of short stories, memoirs and self-published novels are not eligible. To enter this contest, writers must be United States citizens.

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Opportunities for Writers February and March 2016

Each month we aim provide a helpful round-up of writing competitions, fellowships, publication opportunities and more for writers at all stages of their careers. 

For new writers, or for anyone seeking a refresher, we highly recommend reading How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines.

Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest details. For more opportunities and regular updates follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing
at Bucknell University offers up to four months of unfettered writing time for a writer working on a first or second book. The residency provides lodging in Bucknell’s “Poets’ Cottage” and a stipend of $5000. The application deadline is 1 February.

Bustle
is seeking to a appoint a new Books Editor. Bustle.com caters to millennial women aged 18 to 35. Experience in and passion for books coverage is essential. The role is based in New York City.

Bellevue Literary Review
is seeking submissions of previously unpublished fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for an upcoming special issue on memory. Submission are needed by 1 February.

Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency
is an eight-day residency (7 – 15 June, 2016) for fiction and non-fiction writers on Cuttyhunk Island, seven nautical miles off the coast of southeastern Massachusetts, USA. The program’s writer-in-residence and workshop leader is Pulitzer-prize winning author, Paul Harding. Dedicated writers at all stages in their careers are invited to apply and two merit-based scholarships are available. Applications close 1 February.

Creative Nonfiction
is seeking new essays about learning from nature from an upcoming issue. The Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University will award US$5000 to the best essay and the Creative Nonfiction editors will award $1000 to the runner-up. All essays will be considered for publication. Closes 1 February.

Close Approximations
is a contest for emerging translators, offered by Asymptote literary magazine. There are three category, ooetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction, and the winner and runner-up of each category receive US$1000 and $500 respectively. The entry deadline is now extended to 1 February.

Lamplight
is a quarterly magazine of dark fiction. The editors are accepting submissions until 1 February and contributors receive US$150 for short stories and $50 for flash fiction.

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