Opening Lines is BBC Radio 4’s annual new writing series. It gives new and emerging short story writers the opportunity to have their work read on radio for the first time. Submissions are now open for the 2015 series.
Three successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to the BBC in London to see their stories being recorded. In addition, the BBC will publish transcripts of the best stories on the Opening Lines website.
To ensure your story is read and doesn’t miss out on this opportunity, the following criteria must be met:
- Writers who have previously had a story/stories broadcast on network radio or have substantial writing credits in other areas of radio (e.g. comedy and drama) are not eligible for this series.
- Only one story per writer will be accepted.
- Do not submit stories that have previously been considered for Opening Lines.
- Stories must be between 1900 and 2000 words in length (the time allotted for each story is up to 14 minutes).
Opening Lines is open to all writers regardless of nationality or residence but all stories must be submitted in English.
The produces advise that they are looking for original short stories which work being read out loud i.e. with a strong emphasis on narrative and avoiding too much dialogue, character description and digression. It is recommended that writers pay particular attention to how the story opens and closes as they will be looking to see whether the beginning of a story successfully links to how it ends. While they are interested in seeing stories which cover a broad range of subject-matter, material which explores particularly dark, harrowing themes is not best suited to Opening Lines.
Transcripts of the stories selected for Opening Lines in 2013 and 2014 can be found here.
For more general advice on getting a short story commissioned for radio, read this article from Paul McVeigh, Director of the London Short Story Festival.