The 9th Annual Short Story Challenge

A friend just sent me information about a writing competition open to writers around the world — The 9th Annual Short Story Challenge. It’s an interesting concept, one of never encountered before. It’s not my sort of thing, but I’m posting the information in case you are interested.

There are 3 rounds of competition.

In the 1st Round (January 16-24, 2015), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment.  Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words.

The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd Round (March 12-15, 2015) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story.

Judges choose finalists from the 2nd Round to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (April 24-25, 2015).  A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners are selected.

If this sounds like fun to you, it’s easy to register.  First, download and read the Official Rules and Participation Agreement.  Once you have read and understood the terms, you are ready to register by clicking here.  The entry fee is US$45* by the Early Entry Deadline of December 11, 2014 and then US$55* until the Final Entry Deadline of January 15, 2015.

Every writer receives feedback from the judges for every story submitted, and a special review forum is available for the participants to submit their stories for review from fellow writers throughout the competition.  During the Short Story Challenge 2014, there were over 3,300 comments made on the 200+ stories submitted on the forum.  Click here to visit the forums.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

My Publisher Is Sponsoring a Short Story Contest!

Second Wind Publishing invites you to submit an entry to their holiday short story contest.

Entries are to be holiday stories of any genre that mention a food of some kind. (The food item can be a focus of the story or simply a prop.) The winner will be included in Second Helpings, a short story/recipe anthology to be released in time for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Years. So, be thinking of holiday stories with delicious recipes. The story and recipe must be your own original work since the recipe will also be published in the anthology. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. The story must not exist in print form or in any current or upcoming anthology. The story must be no longer than 5,000 words.

The contest is open to anyone in the world, 18 or older, though the entry must be written in English. There is no entry fee. The best entries will be posted on the Second Wind Publishing contest blog for everyone to read and comment. The authors and management of Second Wind Publishing will choose the three finalists, but reader comments will be taken into consideration. Entries will be judged on originality, readability, writing skills, characterization, plot, and how well they fit in with the theme of the anthology. Spelling and grammar count. The decision of the judges is final.

Everyone is welcome to vote for the winner, which is to be chosen from the three finalists. The winner will be the finalist with the most comments.

The winning entry will be published in the upcoming Second Wind anthology, Second Helpings. The winner will also receive a coupon from Smashwords.com for an unlimited number of free downloads of the anthology for one month. The coupon can be sent to as many people as you wish during that month. The winner will be able to purchase an unlimited number of print copies of the anthology at half price plus shipping costs. And the winner will receive a one year free VIP account from Angie’s Diary, the online writing magazine to help you get even more exposure for your writing. ($99 value).

All entries will be deleted once the contest is over.

The contest begins April 1, 2012 and ends June 30, 2012.

Schedule:
June 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm ET: Contest ends.
July 1 — July 15, 2012: Judging of entries by 2W (and 2W authors) to pick top three entries
July 15 — July 31, 2012: Judging of the three finalists by blog readers to pick the winner
August 1, 2012: Winner announced
October 1, 2012 Book published (In an ideal world …)

Please send your entries as a Word .doc or .docx to secondwindpublishing(at)gmail.com Be sure to replace (at) with @ and use “Holiday Contest” for the subject line.

See complete listing of rules at http://secondwindcontests.wordpress.com/

Best of luck to all of you!!

Short Story Contest. No Entry Fee!

Now that you’ve blogged about what you are thankful for and stuffed yourself with Thanksgiving goodies, now that you have finished your NaNoWriMo entry and celebrated your success, now that you have survived your Black Friday shopping and have not yet gotten into the Christmas mood (or have already gotten out of it)…

Think Spring!!

Second Wind Publishing is sponsoring a short story contest. The theme is . . . you guessed it! Spring. Spring and renewal to be exact. Your stories do not have to be light and uplifting (which should be welcome news for all of you writers who pen dark fiction), but they do have to fit the theme. The story should be your own work, no more than 5,000 words, and must not have been published anywhere, not even on your own blog.

There is no entry fee.

The contest is open to anyone in the world, 18 or older, though the entry must be written in English. The deadline is December 31, 2011. The best entries will be posted on the Second Wind Contest Blog for everyone to read and comment.

The winning entry will be published in the upcoming Second Wind anthology, Change is in the Wind. This anthology is a collection of stories by the authors of Second Wind, so the winner will be in good company. (Since I’m a Second Wind author, I will be writing a story for the anthology. Well, I will as soon as I figure out what I want to write.) The winner will also receive a coupon from Smashwords.com for an unlimited number of free downloads of the anthology for one month. The coupon can be sent to as many people as you wish during that month. The winner will also be able to purchase an unlimited number of print copies of the anthology at half price plus shipping costs. And the winner will receive a one year free VIP account from Angie’s Diary, the online writing magazine to help you get even more exposure for your writing. ($99.95 value).

So what are you waiting for? Encouragement? Then here it is: you can write a wonderful short story! I know you can! So please send your story as a Word .doc or .docx to secondwindpublishing@gmail.com.

For more information, click here: Second Wind Contest Blog.

Short Story Contest!!!

Second Wind Publishing invites you to submit an entry to their short story contest.

Stories are to be about spring or renewal, at least, that’s what the contest rules say, though that does not mean the stories have to be upbeat or happy. You can work against the theme — contrasting a disaster that takes place in the spring with the beauty of the season, perhaps. Of course, up beat is good, too, it’s just that most of the writers I know (including me) don’t do upbeat.

My grief book, which will be published early next year, begins: Death came in the spring. And the end of the introduction says: The spring of death gave way to the summer of grief, and grief flowed into the fall and winter of renewal. See? Who says spring has to be about happy upbeat things?

You have until December 31, 2011 to submit an entry.

Go to the Second Wind Contest Blog for rules and how to enter.

Best of luck!!

Inviting You to Enter a Short Story Contest

Second Wind Publishing invites you to submit an entry to their short story contest.

Stories are to be about spring or renewal.

Contest entries must be your own original work. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Self-published stories are acceptable, but the story must not exist in print form or in any other anthology. The story must be no longer than 5,000 words.

The contest is open to anyone in the world, 18 or older, though the entry must be written in English. All entries will be posted on the Second Wind Contest Blog for everyone to read and comment. The authors and management of Second Wind Publishing will choose the three finalists, but reader comments will be taken into consideration. Entries will be judged on originality, readability, writing skills, characterization, and plot. Spelling and grammar count. The decision of the judges is final.

Everyone is welcome to vote for the winner, which is to be chosen from the three finalists.

The winning entry will be published in the upcoming Second Wind anthology, Change is in the Wind. (Title subject to change.) The winner will also receive a coupon from Smashwords.com for an unlimited number of free downloads of the anthology for one month. The coupon can be sent to as many people as you wish during that month. The winner will also be able to purchase an unlimited number of print copies of the anthology at half price plus shipping costs.

All entries will be deleted once the contest is over.

The contest begins today, October 3, 2011 and ends December 31, 2011.

Schedule:
December 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm: Contest ends.
January 1 — January 15, 2012: Judging of entries by 2W (and 2W authors) to pick top three entries
January 15 — January 31, 2012: Judging of the three finalists by blog readers to pick the winner
February 1, 2012: Winner announced
April 1, 2012 Book on Amazon for sale (In an ideal world …)

Please send your entries as a Word .doc or .docx to secondwindpublishing@gmail.com

Best of luck to all of you!!

A Whiff of a Treat and a Bit of a Cheat

One benefit of being published by a new, small independent press, is that you get to wear many hats. Second Wind Publishing is preparing an anthology of mystery/crime short stories to be released in September, and as a pinch-hitting copy editor, I get first look. I enjoyed Lazarus Barnhill’s novels, The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday, so last night I printed out Barnhill’s story, “A Whiff of Murder” for a treat.

It’s been a very long time since I considered reading a treat. I still read prodigiously — it’s more than a habit with me, it’s akin to breathing — but I don’t necessarily enjoy it. (It’s like breathing polluted air, you need it, but it isn’t something you look forward too.) But I was right  –- “A Whiff of Murder” was a treat. It’s a fun story, with great detecting,  a touch of irony, and good characters (Barnhill brought back Robert Vessey from The Medicine People). All in less than 5,000 words.

Now I have to figure out how to write my own story. I have a beginning, though it’s a bit of a cheat. I wrote it for an online writing challenge —  to hook readers with the first 650 words of a novel. Since I had no intention of ever writing the novel, I just tossed out the most preposterous scenario I could think of. It wouldn’t really make a good novel — the humor would wear thin — but it would make a good short story. So now all I need is a middle and an end. And a touch of mystery. Or a crime. And some suspense. Hmmmm. Should be fun.

You’re welcome to join the fun. Second WindPublishing is sponsoring a short story contest, and the winner will be published in the anthology. You can find the information here: Murder in the Wind.

Let me know how you do. Maybe together we can figure out how to write a short mystery worthy of publication.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Tips For Writing a Short Story

Second Wind Publishing is putting together an anthology of mystery/crime stories, and my publisher told me that my fans expect a story from me. My fans? All two of them? I doubt they’d care. Still, I considered writing a handful of 100-word stories, but to be honest, it’s hard to write a mystery in so few words. By the time I kill someone off, drop some clues, create a dectective to figure out who did the dastardly deed and why, I’ll have used up 100 words several times over.

Thinking perhaps it’s time to expand my literary horizons — all I’ve been writing lately are blogs, comments, and emails — I decided to give a short story some thought. But how does one write a short story? I went looking for tips, and found this great list at Happy Woman Magazine:

Never write about what you know, that would be boring. Instead think of an interesting skinny person that you know and try to imagine their life.

Use the word therefore a lot. It gives the impression that you have thought things through and therefore gives you an air of authority. (See what we mean?)

If you have trouble coming up with an ending or tying up loose ends pretend it was all a dream.

Your hero (or heroine) should have an interesting quirk or a dark mysterious past. They should also have blazing eyes when they are angry.

Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, that is what an editor is paid to do. You are an artist.

Though these suggestions are supposed to be funny, it did help me. I don’t want to write a mystery story, but I could write a spoof of one, or if not a spoof, something silly. Should be fun. Still, I’d have to follow the real tips for writing a short story, which are:

Have a clear theme.

Use only a few characters, and give them the characteristics they need to help develop the theme.

Make sure you have an arresting beginning, a solid middle that builds to a crisis, and a plot twist at the end.

Keep focused within a narrow time span, and make every word count.

You can find a good study on how to write short stories here: Short Stories: Ten Tips for Novice Creative Writers.

Now that you know how to write a short story, why don’t you write one and submit it to the Second Wind Publishing Mystery Contest? It could be your chance to get published!

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it: Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook