Saturday 3 February 2024

Free fiction (and non-fiction) competitions for February


Free entry competition news

Thank you to Sharon Boothroyd for the reminder of the W&AYB short story competition, with the prize of an Arvon residential writing week.

Thanks to Fiona for passing on this essay writing competition. There's a £1,500 prize, but you must live or have been born in Scotland, or have a long term association with the country in order to enter. (Which gives me the perfect opportunity to litter this post with photos from my trips there!)

Thanks to Alyson for this one – from On the Premises.

For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which some kind of vehicle plays an important role. Merely using the vehicle as a simple plot device or to help characters get somewhere is not enough. For instance, "While flying home I made a bunch of new friends on the flight" isn't good enough, because the same story--making new friends--could easily be told without the plane.

One entry per author. No fee for entering. Maximum length of 5,000 words and minimum length of 1,000.

If a novel series is something you'd like to try yourself, take a look at this competition (thanks again to Fiona for this one.) They already have some ideas for the stories they want, but authors are invited to submit their own ideas for developing the series.

Both published and unpublished authors may apply. The prize is a five book contract (for each of the six briefs). If I wasn't already working on a series, I'd be very tempted to try - I'd probably go for the gothic house one, but the queens one also appeals and the research would be interesting.

Other publication opportunities

And thanks again to Sharon Boothroyd for sending this link to a publisher inviting novel submissions. Submissions close 28th March. Sharon points out that this is a small publisher, which can have advantages and disadvantages.


Sharon boothroyd said...

I recently reported that The Daily Mirror were publishing short stories.
I thought it was fiction, as the piece is headed up with 'Reader's short stories'- however, it's non fiction, about the sort of unusual things they have done, like take long bus journeys.
Sorry for misleading everyone!
I honestly thought it was a fiction slot. They publish poetry though.

Sheelagh said...

Thanks Patsy & everyone for the updates. It's always good to know there are other opportunities out there. Doing lots of reading & not much writing at the moment but hopefully soon.

ados123 said...

Thanx, Patsy and contributors.
Nothing I fancy this time, but grateful for all the posts.

Anonymous said...


Thank you Patsy, as always and many thanks to Sharon, Alyson and Fiona for your contributions. Some interesting opportunities there. I may give the Writers + Artists Short Story Competition a go. It's a great prize. Definitely worth entering.

As TPF clarified their definition of the term 'amateur,' I've decided to give their Writing competition a go. I'm very last minute though, so am not sure if I will finish my entry in time.

Wishing you all the best of luck with your writing endeavours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Patsy and everyone for the competition info.
Love the photos.

Marguerite said...

Thank you, Alyson, Sharon and Fiona. I'd love to try the Gothic house series too, but the words don't walk before etc..., comes to mind! ;) Congrats to Alyson on the Witcraft acknowledgement as well :) Delighted to see your Slightly Spooky Stories V is out, Patsy. I feel a bit like Ally27 about the TPF competition. Deciding pretty much I'll submit what I have through 'normal' channels as I don't want to get involved with non-exclusive rights which might preclude other avenues... just for the privilege of entering.

Anonymous said...

TPF clarified the rights issue, they're only taking rights from the winning entries.


Sharon boothroyd said...

But it's confusing isn't it?
People have had to ask TPF to clarify and even then, certain aspects weren't that clear to me.
They replied to one person, saying: 'If you're not sure, send it in anyway and we'll decide if it meets the T&C's'
Which is fine in theory, but I wouldn't want to waste my time and effort getting 3 stories exactly right - only for them to be thrown out later.
Also, there's the rights issue around work.
TPF say copyright remains the the authors but there are certain aspects that make me feel uncomfortable.
The winning 10k writer must provide fiction content to TPF for a year. I'd hate to be put under that kind of pressure.
Reading between the lines, I don't think it's gone as well as they'd hoped.
Good luck to all who have entered.

Marguerite said...

... and a (very) late advert in this month's Writing Magazine! Thank you, Ann and Sharon - must have been reading the original T&Cs but, as you said, so much pressure. Good luck to those who have entered - would be good to have someone we 'know'.

Sheelagh said...

The TPF competition is not open to me on a number of fronts & perhaps I'm a bit of a pessimist but I would never expect to win the big prize anyway so probably wouldn't even have a go.
Personally though I would absolutely love if an editor offered to mentor me for a year so I could hone my skills for a particular magazine. I think I would really appreciate short sharp deadlines instead of writing & then revisiting perhaps too many times before sending them off. Last year I was commissioned to research and write a few non-fiction articles & I absolutely loved doing that. It was a great way to stop faffing around and just get on with it.

Sharon boothroyd said...

Yes, a 10k prize feels intimidating.
I certainly don't feel as if I have the skills or ability to clinch an amazing prize like this.
Yet it is to be awarded to a complete amateur - many of who have no idea how to grasp the TPF style and tone.
I agree that the mentoring would be useful, but this is a year's mentoring. So the fiction team will need to focus on that for a year!
I wonder how the'5 stories at a time' writers feel about that?
I've found feedback from womag writer friends very helpful.
I wonder what the opportunity for established writers will be? If it's another serial competition, I'm afraid I'm out.

Patsy said...

@ Sharon - Oh, that's a shame (except for those with interesting true stories to submit) Understandable mistake though, as other papers do the same thing with papers, and us story writers do tend to think of fiction whenever the word 'story' is used.

@ Sheelagh – I hope the reading helps a little, and that it's not too long until you feel able to write again.

@ Alyson – It's good to know opportunities exist, even if they're not quite our thing, isn't it?

@ Ally27 – Good luck with the competition. As you say, the prize is so good that it's worth a try for those who are eligible.

@ HB - You're now my justification for posting LOADS more photos from my trips!

@ Marguerite – Taking on the six books would be a huge commitment, so you're right to give that competition a miss if you don't feel quite ready for that.

@ Ann – That's good news!

@ Sharon – The competition details could definitely have been much clearer from the start! The confusion has unfortunately resulted in some bad feeling and put some people off entering.

@ Sheelagh - It's interesting that a really big prize can actually put people off entering. I can understand it though, as it does seem to imply they want something exceptional, not just an 'ordinary' story.

@ Sharon – The mentoring would be great – it would be wonderful if all writers could get useful feedback from editors, or even just a yes or no within a reasonably short period of time!