Free to enter writing competitions
The BBC short story award offers a top prize of £15,000. You must be either a UK national or UK resident and have 'a prior record of publication'. Thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for the link.
This competition is for poets and spoken word artists who are disabled or have 'long term impairment.' The prize is the chance of £300 in fees - but you need to do quite a lot to earn it.
Here's a chance for female or non binary playrights to win £12,000. The website was making me feel a bit dizzy, so I hope I've got that right.
I've contacted Sharon Reid at Yours Fiction to ask whether the next issue of the magazine really will be August. Unfortunately her reply was - "I’m afraid it’s not a typo – the next issue of Fiction will be August. There are various other specials on different subjects in the pipeline between now and then, although I realise that’s not really helpful for fiction fans."
Not what we wanted to hear, but it's better to know than to keep submitting stories which can't be used, and to wonder if it's ever going to come back. (nb This only applies to Yours Fiction - not the regular Yours magazine.)
I contacted Andrew Shaw, who is the fiction editor for Woman, Woman's Own and Woman's Weekly to ask for the current guidelines. He said, "We are currently only accepting new fiction submissions for Woman's Weekly," and supplied the latest guidelines, which I've copied below. (Stories are sold on an all rights basis
Fiction Guidelines for Woman's Weekly
Firstly, we recommend that you read issues of Woman’s Weekly to get a feel for our audience and the type of stories we do publish.
Fiction is a vital ingredient of Future's Women's Lifestyle magazines, the place where readers can escape and switch off. This doesn't mean predictable plots or old-fashioned romances. Escapism means getting involved in an engaging tale with believable characters.
Above all, we are looking for originality and a wide variety of themes and moods, such as mystery, humour, relationships and family issues, with warmth and hope being vital factors.
A common misconception is that short stories should end on a big 'reveal'. This is just one kind of ending. Your story may simply make the reader go 'awh'. However, all stories should end on a positive note. ‘Uplifting’ is the word to keep in mind.
We are not looking for stories set in care homes/hospitals/prisons, or stories that mention Covid/lockdown, or have plots that dwell on death, illness, or physical/mental abuse...
Consider every type of person who might be reading your story. Think how certain plotlines or descriptions might be upsetting to the elderly, bereaved or ill. Sensitivity in your writing is vital.
Remember the maxim ‘Show, don't tell.’ For example… 'Emily's cheeks flushed pink' instead of 'Emily was embarrassed'.
Plus, a purely descriptive story can be heavy going. So keep things interesting with lively dialogue between the characters. And always ask yourself… 'Would someone actually say this in this situation? Is it natural?'
Attractive locations and stories about animals are often an opportunity for us to include appealing photo illustrations. And think how your story might 'stand out' from other submissions. Maybe the lead character has an unusual job and your story gives us an insight into a different world.
WORD COUNTS (can be under but not over)
Single page in magazine: Approx 800 words
Double-page spread: Approx 1700-1800 words
- ● Submissions should be my email on a Word (or equivalent) document, not in the body of the email.
- ● Single quotation marks throughout. Single space between sentences.
- ● Your name, address and contact details should be included on the first page.
- ● The title of the story and the word count should be in the document name.
Please note that it can take up to 16 weeks for manuscripts to be considered.
If your story is right for us, we will contact you. If you do not hear from us within 16 weeks, please assume that your story isn't right for us.
Please be advised that stories may be edited as part of the publishing process.
We are unable to give feedback on rejected stories, or enter into any correspondence by email.
Please send submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
(nb This applies to the regular Woman's Weekly, not to Best Of Woman's Weekly. For the guidelines to that magazine, see last week's post.)
Thanks to everyone for your comments. As well as allowing us all to share information, help and encourage each other, comments also show editors, competition organisers and others that the blog is read and will therefore be more likely to provide information for me to share with you.
The next scheduled post is 18th March, and will be 'Over To You' as well as any interesting news or free entry competitions I come across.