Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Here we go again – IWSG, free entry writing comps, and market news.


Welcome to the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of 2021! 

How are you feeling about the writing year ahead? A bit daunted by all those days to fill with words and not knowing what their fate will be, deadlines to meet, work to polish and markets to find? Or optimistic about the possibilities and opportunities which may come your way?

For me it's a mix of both, but at the moment optimism is winning. Last year was not a good one for my writing (and in so many other ways for so many people) but this year WILL be different and there's a good chance it will be better. Let's face it, there's plenty of room for improvement!

To help you meet your writing potential, this blog will continue to feature a mix of free to enter writing competitions, news about woman's magazine fiction and other markets, advice and inspiring guest posts about once a week. Each month there will also be an IWSG post like this one on the first Wednesday, and a 'Your Go' post around the middle of the month which is a chance to share news and information, ask questions, help with answers and celebrate your success. 

Free entry writing competition news

You still have time to enter Erewash Writers' Festive Fright short story competition. There's £25 plus publication on offer for the winner. (There are other competitions listed on the website.)

There are a few more days to go for the Nine Dots competition – and there's a MUCH larger prize. You'll ned to do more for it too, but if you have any thoughts on being young in an ageing world, then it might be worth having a try at earning that $100,000. 

If you're over 90, you might like to take a look at this short story competition. Growing Old Disgracefully are offering £200 plus publication for the best 500 word piece about childhood memories. The organisers will also plant a tree near where the winner lives, which I think is a lovely idea.

Those of you who have a crime novel they'd like read by literary agents, might like to have a look at this unusual competition. You're asked to submit the novel opening and 'elevator pitch'. The best will be published in a chapbook and sent to agents who've agreed to request at least one full manuscript from those included.

Crime writers from the North East of England might be interested in this novel writing competition.

Womag news

During the People's Friend Writing Hour on Twitter yesterday, the idea of stories mentioning COVID and lockdown was discussed. The Friend team said,  "If any writer wants to submit one they can, but the lockdown situation should be the backdrop, nothing more."

I'm pleased to have a story, set in my local area and very loosely based on reality, in the 2021 Yours Yearbook. Thanks to Bea Charles for the photo.

Other publication opportunities

Paragraph Planet are looking for 75 word submissions. These can be complete stories, novel extracts or scenes. There's no pay, but you might enjoy the challenge, or the ego boost should your piece be accepted.

Something else entirely

Both Gary and I are finalists in this photography competition. His is of a seal, and mine shows some puffins. If you like either of our pictures, we'd really appreciate if you could 'vote' for them by clicking on the thumbs up symbol. You can only vote once, but can select more than one image.


Are you going to try any of the competitions I've mentioned? Will you be submitting to women's magazines or elsewhere? Are you daunted by the idea of writing throughout 2021, or looking forward to it? Don't you just love puffins?


Diane said...

Thanks for all the info. I may not have much time to "join in" yet, but I'll keep it all there in the background and maybe try a few when I can. I certainly intend to achieve more this year too, and this will definitely help.

Dorinda said...

I smile every time I see a picture of a puffin. Some years ago, I went to Bempton Cliffs (North Yorkshire) to see the sea birds nesting there, including puffins. Having never seen one in real life I was very excited. My friend kept saying, 'Look, there's one!' but I couldn't see what she was looking at. At last, I spotted one as it landed, and was amazed. So small! I was expecting it to be the same size as a penguin. Well, the images are the same size on a Puffin book as on a Penguin one.

Sue McV said...

Different subject but I have found out the Fiction Editor at Woman's Weekly is now Andrew Shaw.

ados123 said...

Love puffins, Patsy. On my 'to see' list for sometime in the future.
Will definitely be writing this year and will enter as many comps as I can. My goal is to get a serial accept for TPF. I've done short stories of all lengths and long reads but the serial freaks me out.
Good luck with your murder mystery novel.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your story being published. I'm optimistic about 2021. Things will get better. While we still have to stay in, I'm going to take advantage of the time and try to write regularly. So far, so good.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think more opportunities will open up for authors this year.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I started off 2020 thinking I hadn't done enough reviews so I tried to change that. I finished my last one just before New Years. This year I was thinking I would concentrate on finishing my WIP, then I'd do more reviews. Every time I think about my unfinished WIP, I get this heavy feeling in my solar plex. I think it's guilt.

Your blog is awesome, Patsy. What you do to help other writers is awesome. Happy New Year.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I've got the next book in a series I've committed to, I have to finish that. Probably won't be as many competitions and magazines this year, but we'll see.

And yes, Puffins are awesome.

Sadira Stone said...

Thanks for sharing all the publishing possibilities! Here's to a brighter 2021.

Marie Andreas said...

I'm switching to full time novelist this year. In the past five and a half years I've managed to get out 15 novels (#16 comes out in Feb) so I'm optimistic about this gig!

New girl on the block said...

I adore puffins! We saw some off the Cornish coast near Padstow a few years ago - something I'll never forget.

To be honest, I'm feeling a bit despondent about the womag market. I've got several stories out there at the minute, and there's total silence - not even a rejection!I'm currently working on a 3000-worder for TPF... we'll see.

I love looking at the competitions you send through, and I sometimes even enter them. Thank you.

Patsy said...

@ Diane – good luck when you do try some competitions.

@ Dorinda – I can see your logic regarding the size!

@ Sue – Thanks for the update.

@ Alyson – If you can get to Skomer Island in May then do it. A wonderful place to see puffins (and other interesting birds) up close. We hope to go back this year, lockdowns permitting.

@ Natalie – Good idea to make the best use of our time now while we can't go anywhere – once we can travel and meet friends and family we may not want to spend long at our desks.

@ Alex – I hope you're right, and you very well might be.

@ Joylene – I've got a WIP like that. How can words on a file do that to us?

@ C.D. – Good luck with the next in the series.

@ Sadira – You're welcome. I hope they're useful.

@ Marie – Flippin' heck, but that's good going! Well done, and best of luck with the next ... lots and lots.

@ New Girl – I can understand that despondency. Not hearing back is horrible. Good luck with the competitions.

Sandra Cox said...

Lots of great information here for writers.
Congrats on being finalist in your photography competition. Woot. Woot.
Wishing you a Wonderful-Writing New Year.

Fay Knowles said...

Congratulations on your successes, Patsy! What a great start to the year.
I love your beautiful story "The Best View in the World". What I can read of it is so moving.
I'd love to have entered for the Crucible award, as it's a wonderful opportunity, but I'm only a little way through my novel.
Beautiful photos - have voted! Good luck to you and your husband.
Happy New Year to you and all of your members!

Lindsay said...

Some lovely info here. Love the over 90s comp even though I'm too young (and not in UK.) I've submitted and been on Paragraph Planet quite often. It's a lovely little boost when there haven't been many writing successes.

Lidy said...

I'm looking forward to writing in 2021. Finished the WIP I've been working on for 2-3 years and will focus on rewriting, editing and polishing the manuscript.
At this moment I'm taking a mini-break from writing. Although Paragraph Planet has piqued my interest.
Thanks for sharing.

Fundy Blue said...

Congratulations on your writing, Patsy! And thank you for sharing helpful information and opportunities. I hope to have a better writing year in 2021, and I'm pleased with what I did accomplish in 2020. I voted for the puffins and the seal ~ Good luck!

Leigh Caron said...

Thanks for all the information. This year I am excited about writing my women's fiction novel that I put on hold for a few years. And congratulations on being a finalist.

Gwen Gardner said...

I love the over 90 competition idea. That is so awesome, as is the tree planting.

Congrats on being a finalist in the photography competition. Happy New Year!

Damyanti said...

What a great way to start the year! I hope that success follows your hard work through the year!

Charlie said...

Thanks Patsy for all the comps, advice and info - I wondered if yourself or any fellow writers knew much about the prima monthly writing comp (1000-1200 words short story submission) do you know if they let you know if your entry doesn’t win so free to then send story elsewhere?

Marguerite said...

Charlie - at the risk of raising my blood pressure again (!) I believe that you lose your rights to a story you submit to Prima (Hearst), which means you could not submit elsewhere, as it then belongs to them. After querying this via various emails and not getting a reply from them, if anyone knows the correct answer to this...?
Thank you for the competitions, Patsy, Not over 90, just feel like it sometimes. Erewash looking good :)

Beth Camp said...

Thank you for posting all these writing opportunities -- another way of encouraging us all to write our stories. Setting my writing goals seemed challenging this year for all those reasons you mention. I also discovered when I mapped out my list that having 5 projects at the same time is not wise, prompting slow, slow progress. So perhaps 2021 will bring us all a little more sanity, peace, and good will.

Linda said...

Thanks for such an informative blog post. I was particularly interested in the reference to COVID for The People's Friend. COVID has had such an impact on the way we live our lives that I have been pondering about whether ignoring that impact will make our stories less relevant to real life. I would have thought though that, especially for The Friend, the story will still have to have an upbeat feel, so might be time to start looking at any positives about this time.

I always view the New Year as a fresh start and am determined to achieve more each year. I usually start off well and then tail off but I'm hoping to make the most of this time with dark nights and no social commitments!

Good luck everyone and stay safe

lionsshare said...

Happy New Year to all and thanks for all the writerly and comp news. Sometimes I think having too much time is not a bonus - I can always find trivial things to fill mine with, to avoid writing ! Well done for being a finalist in the photography comp. Some lovely photos. I have cast my votes.

Sharon Boothroyd said...

Re: the Prima comp - that is correct. Simply by submitting it to Prima, the story belongs to them. It's the terms of their comp, I'm afraid.

Patsy said...

@ Sandra – Thank you!

@ Fay – I'll try to find you some more novel competitions a bit later on.

@ Lindsay – It is a nice boost to have a piece accepted somewhere like Paragraph Planet – and there's not too much effort in having a go.

@ Lidy – Good luck with the next stage of the novel.

@ Fundy – Thanks for the votes!

@ Leigh – Wishing you all the best with the novel.

Patsy said...

@ Gwen – It's lovely to think there are writers of 90 plus still creating interesting stories.

@ Damyanti – Thanks. I had an acceptance today, so things are looking good so far.

@ Charlie – I don't think they do let you know. As it's monthly, you're probably safe to assume it's a no if the winner for the relevant month has already been published.

@ Marguerite – You and Sharon are correct. Writers give up copyright just by entering, whether they win or not.

Quite nice to be too young for something, isn't it?

@ Beth – I'm hoping for all those things too.

@ Linda – Oh yes, any story mentioning COVID will still need to be as upbeat as other Friend stories. Possibly more so!

@ Lionshare – I know what you mean about time. If we've not got much we tend to get on and do something, if we get loads we can keep putting it off until later. At least, I do.

@ Sharon – You're quite right. And thery're quite wrong to impose such a terribly unfair condition.