Archives For Fiction

Starting in May, Iowa’s acclaimed International Writing Program is offering two new free online courses. Both will explore writing about identities, communities, and social issues.

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is a “unique conduit for the world’s literatures, connecting well-established writers from around the globe”,  Its principal program is its Fall Residency; since 1967 over fourteen hundred writers from more than 150 countries have participated.

In 2014 the International Writing Program offered its first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These courses, funded by the University of Iowa and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, welcome all participants; no application is required and there is no charge for enrollment. In its first year alone, 15,789 readers and writers from around the world participated in these online courses.

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UPCOMING SHORT STORY CONTESTS 

 

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
is open to original short stories and essays on any theme. The winner in each category receives US$1500 and there are a total of 10 minor prizes of $100. Entries should be maximum of 6000 words. Closes 30 April.

Bath Short Story Award
is open to stories up to 2200 words in length. Stories may be in any genre and entries from both published and unpublished writers are encouraged. First Prize is £1000 (US$1250) and a selection of twenty winning, shortlisted and longlisted stories will be published in a print and digital anthology. Entries close on 1 May.

David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction
is only open to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction, either a novel or collection of stories. The winner receives US$1000 and publication in Southwest Review. Stories can be up to 8000 words in length and all entries will be considered for publication. The deadline for entries is 1 May. Continue Reading…

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Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest terms and conditions. For more writing competitions and writing-related news follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

Indiana Review Fiction Prize
This competition is open to short stories up to 8000 words in length. The winner receives US$1000 and publication in Indiana Review. The final judge is author Aimee Bender and all entries will be considered for publication. Entries close on 31 October.

Chris O’Malley Prize in Fiction
is offered annually by The Madison Review. The winning story will be awarded US$1000 and publication. Entries may be up to 30 pages. The Madison Review also runs the Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry. Entries for both prizes close on 1 November.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize
is an annual award for unpublished short fiction open to citizens of the 53 Commonwealth countries. The prize covers the five Commonwealth regions: Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean and Pacific. One winner will be selected from each region, with one regional winner to be selected as the overall winner. The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive £5000 and the remaining four regional winners receive £2500. Entries close 1 November.

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start-writing-fiction

Start Writing Fiction is a free online course offered by The Open University. The eight-week program focuses on a skill which is central to the writing of all stories and novels – creating characters.

Participants will hear from a number of successful authors, including Michele Roberts, Alex Garland, and Louis de Bernieres, as they talk about how they started writing. The rituals of writing and the importance of keeping a journal will also be explored.

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Hollie Overton - Baby Doll Interview

Hollie Overton is a Chicago-born, Texas-raised writer who has worked on a number of television series including Cold Case, The Client List and Shadowhunters, the series based on Cassandra Clare’s international bestseller The Mortal Instruments.

Hollie’s debut novel, Baby Doll, is out this month. We contacted her to find out more about her experience writing both scripts and books.

You didn’t study creative writing or English Literature at college, but instead acting. Do you think this background as a performer impacts your approach to storytelling? 
Acting was my first love and those skills I learned have been invaluable as both as a TV writer and now a novelist.  I fell in love with performing in middle school and high school.  I learned how to tell stories by analyzing plays, breaking down characters and studying structure. I spent years studying acting and all that knowledge informs everything I write. I visual things that I’m writing, how will it look, is it authentic. The same goes for dialogue.  How would it sound if an actor were saying those words? Even though I didn’t continue my acting pursuits, I’m so grateful for the training and that it led me down this career path.

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A post by Rebecca Makkai

You probably knew, when you started writing, that you’d signed on for murder. I was warned well in advance: One of my favorite childhood books was Lois Lowry’s The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline, in which the title character finds the notebook of the man her mother is dating. “Eliminate the kids,” one note says. She and her brother swing into crime-fighting mode, only to discover in the end that this man, a writer, was talking about editing characters out of his work-in-progress.

Later, as I studied writing, I’d hear authors lament the characters they’d had to erase from draft two, the ones who “felt like real people” to them. Or they’d talk about the ones they kept around because, despite the fact that they served no real purpose in the narrative, they’d become old friends.

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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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