Wednesday 28 July 2021

Where to send your short stories – and why you write them

I know some people write entirely for their own pleasure. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that! For most though, the real satisfaction comes when it's selected for publication, chosen as a winning entry, read and enjoyed by others and/or when they get paid for it. 

Here are some places you can send your short stories in the hope of achieving one of those outcomes –

Free entry writing competitions

Thanks to my writing buddy Sheila Crosby for passing on the details of this short story competition. Entrants must be resident in the UK or Ireland. Stories can be up to 4,000 words and the prize is £3,500. I'm definitely having a go!

And thanks (yet again!) to Alyson Hilbourne for telling me about a competition.
Future Folklore is a 'speculative fiction contest that imagines a world where equitable climate change initiatives have been set in motion'. The prize is $400 for a story between 1,400 and 2,000 words.

A reminder that Secret Attic run regular competitions and challenges. There's a £20 for the best story in each of the monthly competitions. Other selected pieces are also published.

Submission opportunities

There's no payment for either of these, but money isn't everything.

Paragraph Planet are still accepting 75 word pieces to publish on the site. These can be complete mini stories, scenes or extracts from longer pieces. Published pieces are promoted on Twitter.

Cafelit want 'thought-provoking and entertaining stories, though ones which might be a tad different from what you normally read in a woman’s magazine'. These can be tiny, 3,000 words or anything in between. Successful pieces will be published on the site and may go into the 'Best of' anthology. You may submit a mini biography to be published alongside your work.

Women's magazines

My submissions database is a guide to which magazines will consider unsolicited submissions, what they want and how to submit them.

Do you write for fun, in the hope of publication, prizes or payment, or for another reason? 

For me there are lots of reasons, including it being something to keep me occupied on rainy days during our campervan trips.


Angela Jane Clare Petch said...

Many thanks for posting this. I have passed it to my short story writers' group who are very talented but shy about submitting. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" is my mantra. Seeing stories published in magazines that people actually buy gave me so much confidence to continue my writing and the money earned helped pay for design of book covers etc for my indie books. Keep the ideas coming. Thanks you.
Angela Petch

Sheelagh said...

I really enjoy writing and editing short stories. However there is something about seeing your writing in print in a magazine or book, I guess its a kind of validation of your work & hopefully it gives pleasure to the reader as well. Thanks for all the info posted here, most useful.

Marguerite said...

Sheelagh has the word: validation. I don't need to justify what I do - when you get to a certain age, you really don't ;) but it is always great to have that external validation from someone who doesn't know you at all. I write with the idea of hoping to entertain - and if I succeed, I feel I have done something right :) Thank you for the competitions, Patsy.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for all this info, Patsy. It's good to have deadlines to work towards with with comps.

Marian said...

Thank you very much indeed for all the information, Patsy. I find the guidelines database very useful. It took me a long while to build up the confidence to actually submit something, but once I had, I found there is great satisfaction in even entering.

ados123 said...

Thanks, Patsy.

New girl on the block said...

Why we write is such an interesting question. I guess I started out with what you might call 'therapy writing', found I really enjoyed it, and started to write for pleasure. A tutor on a creative writing evening course suggested submitting to magazines, and having found the courage to go for it, I definitely get a buzz from any acceptance and publication when it happens (I always remain steeled for rejection though), and of course the pay is nice - but not enough to give up the day job!
Thanks as ever for the competitions - Paragraph Planet and Cafelit are new ones for me, so I'll give those a try.

Eirin Thompson said...

I've been thinking about your question regarding why we write stories, Patsy. In my own case, I suspect the reason is that, in stories, I have found 'my element', in the sense outlined by the late, great educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson. I love reading them, watching them, listening to them, and now writing them. Would I continue to write stories if washed up alone on a desert island? I think I would, but with a firm hope that I would eventually be rescued, at which point I would submit them with a desire for publication - and payment!

Penny A said...

I think telling and writing stories is what makes us human! Am always at least *hopeful* of publication, since it seems then as if a reader (or maybe LOTS of readers, if we're lucky!) will complete the circuit in their imaginations.
Thanks for the post, Patsy!

Anonymous said...

Polly Grace

I only made time to write when I was broke and knew the hundred pound-ish I'd get for a story from People's Friend would actually make a difference to me! Sad but true!

Sharon Boothroyd said...

I don't think that's sad at all, Polly.
You're using your creative skills to earn.
I think selling makes a difference to everyone.
It's that precious validation but sales can raise our confidence in our abilities, and give us motivation and energy to continue.
After all, it can become dispiriting at times.

Julia P said...

I write because I love it - it makes me feel complete. I am very busy with the day jobs unfortunately. When I don't have enough creative space (which is often) I become rather sad and grumpy, so - rather than complain about it - I'm learning to use the little time that I have. I keep a notebook by my bed, write - rather than start cooking - for half an hour when I get in from work, read what I wrote the day before in my lunch break. At weekends, when a whole unfilled day might stretch ahead, I try to do the writing first, not the cleaning, gardening, organising and so on. I'm trying to apply the same sort of discipline to reading, mainly by going to bed before I'm totally exhausted so that I can read for at least twenty minutes. Buying a Kindle has helped with that - everything is in one place and easily transported. And I definitely have an eye to publication when writing. I used to write a lot of flash fiction for competitions and online websites (mainly non-paying), but lately I've focused on womag writing with some success. My aim is to write a novel. So far, it remains an aim. I'm always encouraged by dropping in here.