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Complete and Compete

November 10, 2010

or…..Dust off the Drafts ….and Submit!

We write for all sorts of reasons and over the last few years, our columnists have offered their insights and shared their own journeys. I love the challenge, the chase and the ‘kill’ of capturing a story and getting it down. It certainly shows in the amount of polished pieces of work I have when compared to first drafts.

This is a feather duster, dusting a table.

I’ve been writing Fiction Friday for nearly THREE years and can count on one hand the times I missed a prompt. Even with my lack of mathematical skills I can  work out that I have a great deal of first drafts.. just sitting there.  There is a good array of complete rubbish through to downright brilliant ( if I say so myself!) flash fiction lounging lazily around on my blog.  Early on, I had the foresight to categorise them into genre, word count and a self rating; which if it ever struck me, I could quickly find a specific story to fit a need.

But I’ve done NOTHING with them.

So, one of my goals set for the time others are busy with NaNo is for me to collate and polish a selection of my best stories and seek places to submit either for competitions or for anthologies. I thought I’d share some of these links with you.

Before you get excited about doing multiple submissions, I also collated a few tips to assist you on your journey.

  1. Read the rules. It might sound elementary, but you would be surprised at how many rejections some competitions are forced to do, purely on the first ‘sweep’ and simply because writers have not followed the instructions.
  2. Most competitions will specify the font and spacing they want your submission in.. If not,   ensure its in something ubiquitous such as Times or Arial, is double spaced with a wide margin.
  3. Read and plan for the submission due date.  Most competitions require you to physically post a copy of your stories. Always allow double the postage time for it to get there – just to be safe!
  4. Most places specify that they will only accept unpublished works. Clarify this rule with every competition or submission.  Many will accept work which has been posted to as first drafts to your personal blog – as this is not seen – in most circles – as being ‘published’. ( so for many Friday Fiction first drafts are fine to use as a basis for a submission)  As a courtesy take that first draft down from your site when you submit. However, check details and specifics for every submission as the rules and definitions vary greatly.
  5. As a courtesy, don’t send the same copy of a short story to a multitude of competitions or for submission. Wait until you have heard its been rejected before either submitting it again – or going back to your slush pile and redrafting another story.
  6. Carefully choose your stories to submit. Research the publication or previous anthologies or winners as to the style and genre which the editors or publishers have favoured in the past. Although this is not fool safe, it gives an indication to what may be palatable or acceptable to the audiences they will appeal to. I would suggest that your feminist, left wing horror story may be better suited to a different publication rather than to send it to The “Christian Womens Fellowship Weekly”
  7. Always include a cover letter. Make it polite, professional and genuine.
  8. Get at least two beta readers (who are not related to you or live with you) to read your submission.  Then get a fellow writer to get their red pen out and edit mercilessly.
  9. Re-write it at least three times before you get your beta readers to look at it.

So – have a wee look at some of the below and see if you’d like to dust off some of your drafts, spruce them up and submit them…

The first one is for a Charity Anthology I have only just discovered. They like the unusual, flash fiction, slightly off centre stories.  So if you have something that is under 2000 words and is Experimental fiction, literary fiction, metafiction, meta-meta fiction, magical realism, absurdist fiction, surreal fiction, K-Mart realism, or minimalist fiction and would like the opportunity for it to be published (with proceeds going to Charity for Christmas) then head over to Metazen and check out the submission guidelines. Due date is very very soon.

Creative Writing Institution – Short Story Contest

1. Short Story Contest, any genre

(Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Drama, Children, Adult)

2.  1,000 – 1,500 words

3.  No entry fee! No reading fee!

4. All rights to the story remain the

property of the author

5.  Entries must be G-rated and received

by Nov. 20, 2010

6.  Mail to deborahowen@cwinst.com

7.  Put WRITING CONTEST in subject line

8.  Entries will be judged on originality,

creativity, style and technique

9.  NOT following instructions may lead to disqualification

10. Up to two entries per person

Short and Twisted call for submissions.

Closing: 30 November.
This anthology of short stories and poetry – with a twist at the end – is seeking submissions of stories, super short stories and poetry, for the 2011 issue. For submission guidelines email shortandtwisted@celapenepress.com.au

Fish Publishing International Short Story Contest 2010/2011.
Closing: 30 November.
Best 10 stories as chosen by author Simon Mawer will be published in the 2011 Anthology.
Word limit 5,000. First prize $3,000.

Albedo One.

Closing: 30 November.

Ireland’s magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror is accepting submissions for the fifth International Aeon Award short fiction contest. Grand prize is 1000 euro and publication in Albedo One. Second and third place stories win 200 and 100 euro respectively, alongside publication in Albedo One.

Stringybark Short Story Award 2010.
Closing: 14 December.
For the best short story (1400 words) relating to Australia or Australians. 1st prize is $500 and publication. There is an entry fee $8.50 (discounts for additional stories).

Hal Porter Short Story comp are accepting submissions of short stories up to  2500 words – The entry fee is  $6 and is due in on 17th Dec.

The Global Short Story Competition

This competition is conducted monthly on the internet and is open to writers worldwide. Prize money is £100 for the winner and £25 for the runner-up.

Best of luck with your submissions.. I’d love to hear how you went.

Feather Duster Image via Wikipedia

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Annie Evett need to take her own advice. She has a blog FULL of first drafts and many more half ready pieces to submit. But its so much easier to tell others what to do isn’t it? Follow Annie’s shameless self promotions here on Twitter  or here on Audio Boo and start your escape into her world  here
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