Writing a novel or full-length play is a long and slow process (unless you’re involved with NaNoWriMo) and that’s just the first draft.
So, I’ve found that writing competitions can be a welcome distraction/addition whilst I’ve been involved in the ‘main project’, and they can also provide a number of benefits:
- Improve your profile – stating that you’ve won a writing competition(s) looks great on your covering letter
- Get feedback on the quality of your writing – getting some independent feedback can be welcome. However, it’s also important to remember that like any competition, there could be hundreds or even thousands of other entrants, so don’t become disheartened if, like me, you don’t actually win (note-to-self, be sure to update this blog just as soon as that changes)
- Overcome writers’ block – sometimes putting a piece of work aside and focusing on another can help to stimulate ideas and bring us back into the flow of writing
- You could win stuff – as well as the kudos, there’s often money and the promise of appearing in print for the victor.
Type “writing competition” into Google and you’ll see a wide range of competitions from local to national, from 50 word flash fiction to full length novels, screenplays and scripts. I’ve entered a few, not many, but chose them based on whether I had pieces of writing already lying dormant on my PC or if they sparked ideas in my head to write something new.
Anyway, here’s a few competitions that have caught my attention, there are many more, but I hope you find these useful:
- 713 Science Fiction Fantasy Flash stories: A monthly competition, with a stated theme each month, entries must be within 713 to 1000 words. Run by indi publisher Kazka Press.
- Flash 500: Open theme competition, run quarterly.
- Paragraph Planet: Website which publishes a different 75 word competition entry each day
- Cazart Flash Fiction: Run monthly. Any theme, up to 400 words.
- Short Stories for Bedtime: a cash prize competition sponsored by Herbal Remedy company A.Vogel.
- Science Fiction Fantasy Short Stories: Run by indi publisher Kazka Press, stories of 2000 – 3500 words.
- The Word Hut: 1000 word stories, any theme or genre. Accepts previously blogged work.
- International Short Story Competition: Annual competition run by Chapter One Promotions, up to 2500 words, 1st prize is £2500. Many other competitions on the website too.
- Cazart short story: Monthly competition. Any story between 400 – 3000 words.
- Writers’ Village: Unusually, everyone, winner or not, gets back a terse appraisal of their story.
Novels and scripts
- Undiscovered Voices: an opportunity for unpublished UK writers of children’s fiction to have an excert of their work printed within an anthology which is then sent to editors and agents.
- BBC Writersroom: a number of writing opportunities for radio, TV, theatre and film. Regularly updated. Search competitions and opportunities by platform and type.
- Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition: an annual competition with a book publishing deal as the enviable prize. Submission for 2012 has just passed, but keep an eye out for next year’s competition.
There are plenty of other competitions out there, and many websites offering advice and information on how best to enter them.
For me, I’m leaving competitions aside for now and will be focused on writing the play and this blog.