Writing Maps’ August Writing Contest & The How to Write a Story Map

How to Write a Story: Writing MapThis month’s Writing Maps Writing Contest coincides with the official launch of How to Write a Story: A Writing Map to Help You Hunt for and Create Stories.

The prompt for August’s Writing Contest is: Make a creative list of red things. Write this list as a list poem, or in the form of a short story, a graphic story or a snippet of memoir. Fiction or autobiography, SF or mis mem, erotic or academic. In 150 words.

For inspiration, you can check out Joe Brainard‘s I Remember or Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book, as well as many of Cole Porter’s lyrics. This is cheating! And this is a simple definition of a list poem.

Please make sure to view our full guidelines here or on the Writing Maps website by clicking here. In brief, the main rules are:

Entry is free. One entry per person. All genres welcome. All writers welcome. 150 words max.

Deadline is 23 August 2014.
The two winning entries will be published in The A3 Review, the Writing Maps Journal. This is the last month to qualify for the journal’s inaugural issue. Winners will also receive 2 copies of the new Writing Map.
Good luck and good writing!
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Writing Maps’ July Writing Contest & The Big Gay Writing Map

The Big Gay Writing MapThis month’s Writing Maps Writing Contest coincides with the official launch of The Big Gay Writing Map: Story Ideas for Anyone Who’s a Little Bit Different.

The prompt for July’s Writing Contest is our toughest challenge yet! Write a sex scene without using gender-specific pronouns and without using any punctuation (except a full stop/period at the end, if you want to). This could be a story, poem, graphic story or snippet of memoir. Fiction or autobiography, SF or mis mem, erotic or academic. In 150 words, gender-neutral and punctuation-free. Enjoy!

Please make sure to view our full guidelines here or on the Writing Maps website by clicking here. In brief, the main rules are:

Entry is free. One entry per person. All genres welcome. All writers welcome. 150 words max.

Deadline is 26 July 2014.
The two winning entries will be published in A3, the Writing Maps Journal, and winners will receive 2 copies of the new Writing Map.
Good luck and good writing!

Writing Maps June Contest and Pack of Notebooks

Writing Maps NotebooksWriting Maps, the illustrated posters with creative writing prompts and story ideas, launches its 4th monthly Writing Contest. The June contest coincides with the official launch of the Writing Maps Pack of 5 Notebooks, and this month’s two winners will receive a complete pack of notebooks, along with publication in A3, a new fold-out literary magazine. The first issue will appear in September 2014.

The challenge is to write a 150-word piece in response to the Prompt of the Month.  June’s Writing Maps Writing Contest opens on 21st June 2014. Deadline is: 28 June 2014. Did you know we’re the quickest contest in town – one week between announcement and deadline!

The prompt for June’s Writing Contest is a title. Write a story, poem, graphic story or snippet of memoir called “Ode to My Notebook”. For some extra inspiration, check out Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to My Suit” or Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. As always, we’re looking for pieces that are quirky and intense, that give us a glimpse into private worlds, and that make us feel nicely awkward. In 150 words, show your notebook (or a character’s notebook) some love!

Please make sure to view our full guidelines here or on the Writing Maps website by clicking here. In brief, the main rules are:

Entry is free. One entry per person.
All genres welcome. All writers welcome.
150 words max.
Deadline is 28 June 2014, which is just a few days from now.
The two winning entries will be published in A3, the Writing Maps Journal.

Writing Maps: May Contest and Box of Maps

Writing Maps Box SetWriting Maps, the illustrated posters with writing inspiration and story ideas, launches its 3rd monthly Writing Contest. The May contest coincides with the launch of the Writing Maps Box Set, and this month’s two winners will receive the box set, along with publication in A3, a new fold-out literary magazine to be published every six months. The first issue will appear in September 2014.

The challenge is to write a 150-word piece in response to the Prompt of the Month.  May’s Writing Maps Writing Contest opens 17 May 2014. Deadline is: 24 May 2014. Yes, we’re the quickest contest in town! Click here to visit the site for submission guidelines and the May prompt.

April’s prompt was inspired by the new Write Up Your Street: A Neighbourhood Writing Map. The prompt was: Write about something someone told you about your neighbourhood: a rumour, an urban myth, an event, a local hero/villain, a landmark or a building that’s no longer there. Tell the story in their voice or your own, or the voice of a fictional narrator. The winning entries were: Mark Bicton’s “Grave Robbers” and Francesca Brooks’ “I Came to Find You”.

A Big Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who entered Brittle Star‘s first open writing competition.

We had a little shy of 700 entries – a good mix of poetry and short fiction – which we thought was a fantastic response! Thank you to everyone who helped us to spread the word – it was massively appreciated.thank-you-flower

The launch of our next issue and the prize giving for the competition will take place at The Barbican Library, Silk St, London, 16 July at 7pm (doors open 6.30). Pencil this date in your diaries – in fact write it in in thick, black biro! There will be readings from contributors to the magazine, as well as the winners of our competition.

Reading the notice above, I’m reminded of our new nudge because it’s full of adjectives – ‘open’, ‘good’, ‘fantastic’, ‘massive’, ‘thick, black’ – if it was a poem or story I was writing then I wouldn’t know where to put my face! It’s a good job it’s a notice! Our new writing nudge is ‘Move away from the adjective…’ go and have a look to find out why!

Adam Foulds, SAND Journal and unknown writers making it

This month is proving a very exciting one for Visual Verse contributors. As well as having Booker Prize nominated author Adam Foulds headlining on the site, we are thrilled to announce a collaboration with the Berlin based literary journal, SAND.

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More of that shortly, though. First, Kristen Harrison (Visual Verse curator) and I want to thank all the contributors who made the March Visual Verse our best month since we launched last November. Our image was by artist and illustrator Denise Nestor: a precariously balanced tower of birds who seemed to be sleeping, or dead. The writers loved it – so much so, we had 80 submissions in one month, which was unprecedented. Each piece was astonishing: carefully observed and written to make every word carry weight. The chapter as a whole is a thing of beauty in itself, it is fascinating to see how one image can bring so many responses.

Some of my favourite lines: ‘What does the sheep think of the sky?’ in Tristan Forster’s elegiac prose poem; Sarah James’ wonderfully  forensic piece, with the line,  ‘the delicacy of coiled intestines and death plucks song’ and of course our lead writer Adam Marek’s short story, with its simple control of voice: ‘The cheese was all prickly. Like battery tops. We fought the cheese was bad, but when we noticed the same taste was in everyfin, we realised it was our mouths.’

This month is lead by another Adam – Adam Foulds, whose Booker nominated ‘The Quickening Maze’ and ‘The Broken Word’ are poetry laced with violence and despair. The perfect choice for this month’s image, by photographer Marcus Bastel. I absolutely love reading all the submissions we get each day, and even more taking part in the conversation about them that is growing on twitter. I read and consider everything  – there are only a couple of rules – it must be 50-500 words, written in the space of one hour in response to the image. It should not have been published anywhere before.

Those who submit find new opportunities opening up for them too. I’m delighted to say that Berlin-based SAND journal will be featuring Visual Verse in their next issue. In consultation with us, they have selected four pieces to publish in SAND Issue 09, both in print and online. SAND exposes fresh literary talent from Berlin and beyond and we are proud to be featured in it.

I can’t wait to read what the month will bring. If you are thinking of submitting, the only thing I would say is  – you won’t regret it. Visual Verse is all about collaboration between what you see and how you write, you, us, our readers: art and words. The image is the starting point, the text is up to you. Enjoy!

Preti Taneja
Editor, Visual Verse