You still have 10 days to send off your competition short story!
Categories comprise a 2500 word Short Story Category on any theme, a Shorter Story Category for stories up to 1000 words and a Shortest Story Category for stories up to 250 words.
Overall Prize Pot £1500
1st prize in each category - £300
2nd prize in each category - £100
3rd prize in each category - £50
5 runners up in each category will be published in our Short Story Anthology (of which they will receive a copy), and awarded £10. All winners and runners up will receive a printed copy of our Short Story Anthology (inclusion optional*).
Short Story Category - for stories up to 2500 words
Shorter Story Category - for stories up to 1000 words
Shortest Story Category - for stories up to 250 words
31st October 2014
1 story - £6, 2 stories - £10, 3 stories - £14, each additional story - £4
Submission & rules
All 1st, 2nd and 3rd place stories will be published in February 2015.
Winners will each receive a printed copy.
Short Story Judge (up to 2500 words): Emma Darwin
Emma Darwin is a novelist and short story writer. She was born in London and brought up there, with interludes in Manhattan and Brussels. After an education which involved a lot of history, a lot of reading and a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts, she worked in academic publishing for a while. Despite being diverted into a photographic darkroom for a few years she wrote her way towards becoming a full-time writer. Her first novel The Mathematics of Love was published in 2006. It was short-and long-listed for various prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers' Best First Book, and translated into many languages. Her second novel, A Secret Alchemy, was published in November 2008 and reached the bestseller lists. Along the way she acquired first an MPhil and now a PhD in Creative Writing, enough novels in manuscript to prop up several table legs, and a Bridport and other prizes for her short stories. Emma is also an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing for the Open University, and a senior editor with Writer's Workshop, and has appeared at numerous literary festivals.
Shorter Story Judge (up to 1000 words): Sam Jordison
Sam Jordison is a hugely talented, bright, young writer. He was co-editor of the bestselling Crap Towns and the follow-up book - Crap Towns 2 - as well as writing four solo titles. He writes a regular books column for The Guardian, and is the founder of Galley Beggar Press.
Here's what Sam looks for in a short story:
What makes a short story stand out from all the others?
I wish I could answer this more sensibly, but the truth is that there is no formula. What makes a story stand out? Good writing. What is good writing? I wish I could tell you. I think there has to be a lot of craft. You have to know that each word is where it should be, and each sentence has been carefully thought out. But beyond that… The mysteries of art…
Two of your favourite short stories (famous or otherwise)?
Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway. Big Two Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway. They’re probably the best short stories I’ve read. Everyone who wants to write short stories should look at them, try to understand what he’s doing, and just as importantly, what he doesn’t do. Learn from them. But don’t imitate them. That wouldn’t work…
What are the two most common mistakes you see?
I don’t know if I can answer that. Everyone makes their own mistakes. Dialogue is possibly the hardest thing to get right. I also quite often advise people not to explain too much. They shouldn’t have to spell out the lesson in the story. The story should do that for itself, if it’s working… Generally. But, I’m always wary about laying down rules. Lots of the stories I like break them, after all…
Shortest Story Judge (max 250 words): Debbie Young
The English author, journalist and blogger Debbie Young has a special interest in short stories and flash fiction. Her short fiction has been published most recently in the National Flash Fiction Day's 2014 anthology Eating My Words and in its online journal FlashFlood, and in her own collection Quick Change (2014). She is also a reviewer for Vine Leaves Literary Journal which focuses on the vignette. Debbie is Commissioning Editor of the Alliance of Independent Authors' Self-publishing Advice Blog and co-author of its campaigning guidebook, Opening Up To Indie Authors and the author of the popular marketing handbook for indie authors, Sell Your Books! Debbie has an honours degree in English and Related Literature from the University of York, where she specialised in 19th and 20th century fiction. She now writes full-time.