Saturday, July 21, 2012

Writing Contests

Fellow writers, I'm wondering if you may have any thoughts on short story submissions. I'm interested in submitting a few pieces I've written but am curious to your thoughts on a couple things:

1) What are your thoughts on submitting a short that is a premise and first chapter of a novel you're working on (provided that it also meets the other submission guidelines)?
2) Related to the above question, do all shorts need to have a solid conclusion?
3) Do you have any tips to share?

Thank you in advance!

Apologies to my "regular" blog followers/readers. My muse has been giving me the slip these past few weeks. Writing is so much a part of who I am that when I go through these phases it worries me that I'm becoming someone else...and what a scary thought that is.


  1. I can't think of a single contest that wouldn't expect a short story to have a definitive conclusion. All stories should have a beginning, middle and end unless it's an excerpt.

    As for advice, I only have one suggestion which is my personal rule. I only submit to contests where there is a definite benefit. In other words, the 'prize' is something that is important to me. Such as: paid publication, agent or editor critique, or cash money.

    Cutesy awards, web site recognition, or peer reviews aren't enough. It has to be something that will advance my career in some way.

    1. Maria, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I think you're spot on when it comes to which contests to submit to, and I will definitely keep the "prize" in mind.

      I guess where I'm having trouble is that I've read some short pieces (that have won awards/contests) with conclusions that are somewhat open-ended. I'm guessing it was intriguing enough to be sufficient. It's all in the piece, I suppose.

      Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts!

    2. Hi Anna--

      I echo Maria and being picky about my submissions-- sounds like you're in agreement. My last blog entry was a bit of a rant about the bells and whistles at the expense of content of so many blogs (contests being part of those bells).

      WD had a couple good articles recently about writing the short story. I took a few notes which included: 1) combine matter-of-fact description with poetic atmosphere, 2) mostly shows a decisive moment of life, 3) plot is not very complex, 4)united character, action and plot and 5) little action and little character development-- a "snapshot" of life.

      Short stories have the ability, in their little flashbulb moment, to highlight a truth or slice of life in a way that is even more magnified and significant than a longer novel. So while I'm not sure it has to have a "the end" feel to it, it at least has to lead the reader to a conclusion.

      I'm learning all this as well. When I win a contest, I'll let you in on my secret. And when you win, you can do the same for me. :) Until then, I'm glad we're wading through this together. It feels less lonely.


    3. Hi Julie, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your notes! I know what you mean about feeling a little alone in this whole process. I'm glad to be able to have someone to "share" the experience with and learn together. I will certainly keep you posted if I hear back on any of the contests I've already entered.

      I am hoping to have something written for the Glimmer Train contest you pointed me to. There's another contest that my close friend pointed me to, but I'm waiting from her on the name/link. Will let you know as soon as I hear back!

      Here's one I'm also considering (deadline is Oct 31st):


    4. Thank you for pointing me towards this contest. And while we're sharing contests, check out this one: The judge is a YA agent.

    5. Thanks for the link! I LOVE that this entire blog is focused on women (women on writing). Best of luck, Julie and let do keep us posted! :)

    6. Annnaaaaa--

      I miss your posts. I hope this means you are busy writing, creating and being inspired! Julie

    7. LOL! JULIE! I wish I was taking all this time writing :( I've hit a bit of a slump recently due to some personal issues that came up. I was just in the process of posting a blog about that. :) Hope things are going well for you!


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