Submit to 2020 Shooter Short Story Competition

Shooter Literary Magazine’s 2020 Short Story Competition is now open to stories of any style, subject or genre, up to a max of 5,000 words. The contest spotlights the best emerging literary talent, with £500 in cash prizes and publication both in the magazine and online.

Shooter seeks imaginative, absorbing and beautifully written work that brings characters to life and elicits an emotional response from the reader. In short, we want well written tales that appeal to both the head and the heart.

In return for the £7 entry fee (or £10 for two), all entrants receive an e-copy of Shooter’s winter 2021 issue, which will feature the winning story.

  • The winner of the 2020 Shooter Short Story Competition will receive £400, publication in the winter issue and on the website, and promotion on Shooter’s social media.
  • The runner-up will receive £100, publication on Shooter’s website, and promotion on social media.
  • All entrants will receive an e-copy of Shooter’s winter issue.
  • Stories may be any theme or genre, up to a max of 5,000 words.
  • The competition is open to entries through May 31st, 2020.
  • Winners will be announced in July 2020
  • All proceeds from entry fees go toward prizes, contributor payments and Shooter’s production costs, supporting our mission to promote the best new writing and encourage the principle of paying writers for their work.

To enter, please email your story (as a Word or PDF file) to competition.shooterlitmag@gmail.com by the deadline of May 31st, 2020. Include your name, title of story and word count in the body of the email, with no identifying information on the story itself. Multiple entries are accepted. Payment can be made via Shooter’s website at https://shooterlitmag.com/competition.

Other information can be found at https://shooterlitmag.com. We look forward to reading your work – good luck!

Stroud Short Stories is Open for Submissions until 8 March 2020

Stroud Short Stories is currently open for submissions for its special 20th event which is dedicated to Stroud writer Rick Vick who sadly died at the end of November. There were obituaries for Rick in The Times and The GuardianHere is the latter.
 
The event is for all Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire writers. The theme this time is DISRUPTION. Submissions are free and you may submit unpublished or published stories. Ten stories will be selected and their authors will read/perform them at our event.
The deadline is the end of Sunday 8 March and the event is on Sunday 19 April at the 150-seater Cotswold Playhouse. Tickets will go on sale on 20 March.
 
All information about submitting is on the Stroud Short Stories website.

Short Fiction Prize now open

The editorial team at Short Fiction journal are excited to announce the relaunch of our internationally-renowned Prize, now the Short Fiction/University of Essex Prize. It offers £500 for the winner and £250 for the runner-up, and will be judged by acclaimed author Jon McGregor.

Submissions are open now! The deadline is 31 March 2020, but if you enter in January or February, you’ll benefit from a discounted entry fee of £7 instead of £9. We are also offering 25 free entries for writers for whom the fee would be a barrier to entry – but hurry, as these are offered first-come, first-served.

It’s the start of a new and exciting time for us, as we’re affiliating with the University of Essex LiFTS department – not just through their sponsorship of the Prize, but also to support our publishing excellent short fiction as we head into the new decade. In the coming year we’ll be getting into a position to handle submissions through Submittable, reduce our response times and – best of all – significantly increase our payments to writers.

But, for now, the Prize! All details are on the Competition page of our website, but the headlines are: it’s open internationally, judged blind, with a maximum length of 5,000 words. A shortlist will be announced in May, with the winner and runner-up chosen by Jon McGregor and announced in June.

We can’t wait to start reading your entries – and we’d really appreciate it if you could spread the word about the Prize through your own networks. Thanks!

Ruby, Agri, Liam, Maria, Emma, Naush and Jon

Is Your Work Too Intense?

deadline 10 janIf it is, we’d like to see it. The A3 Review and Press is seeking flash fiction or short stories that overshare, are deeply lyrical, and say something about what it’s like to be alive at this point in time. Deadline is 10th January 2020.

For examples of the kind of prose The A3 Press publishes, check out MASH by Lena Ziegler, Jason Jackson’s The Unit, and My New Car by Alan Sincic.

Selected titles receive £200 and 10 copies of the published work.

For more details and how to submit, visit their Submittable page here.

Story Friday LEAP! Call for submissions

Story Friday in February has the theme LEAP! in celebration of 2020 as a leap year. Story Friday is on 28th February, the day before the leaping day, and we want to revel in the glory of this springing theme! Whether your stories feature proposals or boxing hares, Christmas lords or death defying jumps, we are so looking forward to reading what you come up with!

Story Friday LEAP! will be on 28th February, deadline for submissions is 17th February. We’re looking for stories that are 2,000 words or fewer.  (Full submission details are here).  Writers must be available to come to Bath for the event.  If you’d rather not read, we have wonderful actors who can read your story for you.

For more information about Story Friday, to listen to stories that we have recorded at our events over the years, and/or to submit your story please visit A Word In Your Ear.

Writing Short Stories with Cynan Jones

Write and edit a complete short story and learn essential fiction-writing techniques on Curtis Brown Creative’s brand new six-week online course, Writing Short Stories led by award-winning short story writer Cynan Jones. Cynan won the Betty Trask award for his novel The Long Dry and he won BBC National Short Story Award in 2017, for which he was on the 2019 judging panel . His short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies and in journals and magazines including Granta and the New Yorker.

We interviewed Cynan to find out more about his love of short fiction…

You won the BBC National Short Story Prize for your story The Edge of the Shoal in 2017 and now you’re on this year’s judging panel for the prize. How does it feel to come full circle? And what do you look for when reading short stories for competitions?

Judging the competition has certainly pointed out what an extraordinary thing it was to win. Ultimately, all a writer can do is write as strongly as he or she can, and work on a story until it’s the best possible piece they can produce. What happens to that story is a product of the work and attention put in. If nothing else, I know I’ve really worked hard to write strongly. In many ways then, it feels less of a circle and more of a starting point! What next? I’m always aiming to challenge myself.

The sense a writer has challenged him or herself is in the best stories too. You read great pieces and think, ‘How!? How did they write that?’ Such stories feel both totally impossible to write, but as if they couldn’t be written better.

When reading stories for competitions I look for that. Stories that take narrative risks and show the technical ability to make those risks pay off. That’s much rarer than you think.

What initially inspired you to start writing in short fiction?

I think several elements led me to shorter forms. Firstly, the thing of reading a story from start to finish in one sitting. I loved that as a reader and – as most of us are copyists when we first start writing – wanted to replicate that experience.

I also think that, even in my initial attempts at serious writing, the way my prose hit the page lent itself to shorter form. I aimed always to put a picture down as simply and powerfully as I could and relied on the reader to think and feel in response. That meant I didn’t write a great deal of explanation or back story, or direct a reader how to react. In itself, that makes for fewer words.

In retrospect, perhaps too there were constraints as to how long I could really dedicate to the process of writing when I first started. I usually had about three months for writing at the beginning of the year before the freelance work I did at the time really got going. Perhaps that made me feel I needed to write something I could start and finish in one block. (Which loops back to the first thing I mentioned here, about the immersive experience of starting and finishing something in one go.)

We’re thrilled to have you on board as the teacher of our brand-new Writing Short Stories course. What’s your favourite part of teaching?

Probably how teaching makes you dig into your own process and really work to understand it so you can pass what you know on.

Other than the help of the world-class authors I read, I taught myself to write. Because of that, it’s only since teaching that I’ve really dissected exactly what it is I do, and that’s helped me take things further.

Could you share your top three tips for writers who want to start writing short stories?

Read.

Work at the craft.

Don’t write to be published.

Read the full interview with Cynan over on the Curtis Brown Creative blog.

Curtis Brown Creative’s brand new Writing Short Stories course led by Cynan Jones is open now for enrolment. It starts on October 17th 2019.

Short Stops readers can get an exclusive 10% off by using code: SHORTSTOPSCBC

 

Story Friday Chemistry – we want your stories!

After a lovely long summer and story walks in the sun, Story Fridays is back inside, at Burdall’s Yard in Bath.  Our next event in November has the theme Chemistry. Are you thinking of bunsen burners, or eyes meeting across a crowded room? Whatever you choose, chemistry is all about reactions, explosive or otherwise. We can’t wait to see where our latest theme takes you!

Story Friday Chemistry will be on 8th November, deadline for submissions is 28th October. We’re looking for stories that are 2,000 words or fewer.  (Full submission details are here).  Writers must be available to come to Bath for the event.  If you’d rather not read, we have wonderful actors who can read your story for you.

For more information about Story Friday, to listen to stories that we have recorded at our events over the years, and/or to submit your story please visit A Word In Your Ear.