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Heads up all you genre writers: New Writer’s Digest short story contest!

If you’ve been sitting around taking up space and time while toying with a possible short story idea, or if you’ve been putting off a story revision, then maybe this will motivate you to take some action. Writer’s Digest has announced a new popular short story competition for stories that fit into the following categories: Romance, Mystery/Crime, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense and Horror. Have too many stories and don’t know which one to submit? Hey, you can enter one story in every category. Rules? Essentially two: Entries should be 4,000 words or less and must be received by November 1, 2005. If you’re interested, go to The WD Popular Fiction Awards for more info and the rest of the rules.

Here’s the list of prizes:

GRAND PRIZE:$2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books, plus a manuscript critique and marketing advice from a Writer’s Digest editor or advisory board member.

FIRST PRIZE: The First-Place Winner in each category receives $500 cash, $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books, plus a manuscript critique and marketing advice from a Writer’s Digest editor or advisory board member.

HONORABLE MENTION: All Honorable Mentions will receive promotion in Writer’s Digest and the 2006 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market.

While I don’t, as a rule, advocate many contests, Writer’s Digest is a well-respected entity with contests that have real value. There is a contest fee but it is nominal. For you lazy ones or the postally-challenged, you can submit online–if you use a credit card.

Years ago I entered the Writers Digest short story competition. It was one of the first contests I’d ever entered and, frankly, I did it merely to give myself a goal to write toward. I did send my story off. Later, I realized that the judge was an editor from Omni Magazine. They published a lot of good sci fi but my story was more in the women’s fiction vein. I figured the judge wouldn’t give it a nod. To my surprise I ended up ranking right around 50 out of more than 3,500 stories. I still have the Honorable Mention certificate and remember what a great motivator it was for me at the time. Even now the memory brings a smile. So, you never know. Go for it.

Now you know what to do this weekend. Have fun.


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  • http://www.writers-edge.info georganna

    Congratulations on getting the link right to the the contest. Twice WD has sent me emails advertising this competition with incorrrect URLs. I advocate entering contests to my students only as you mentioned, a motivator, or to help with “writer’s block”, if they’ve convinced themselves they are suffering from this mysterious non-malady. What better competition is there, however, than to submit your work to the marketplace? Now, I’ll probably go and enter a story after all, using it as a goad to prod myself into expanding into a new genre.

  • http://www.writers-edge.info georganna

    Congratulations on getting the link right to the the contest. Twice WD has sent me emails advertising this competition with incorrrect URLs. I advocate entering contests to my students only as you mentioned, a motivator, or to help with “writer’s block”, if they’ve convinced themselves they are suffering from this mysterious non-malady. What better competition is there, however, than to submit your work to the marketplace? Now, I’ll probably go and enter a story after all, using it as a goad to prod myself into expanding into a new genre.

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Yep, contests are great motivators because they provide external goals. Being internally motivated is fine, but often we need that extra crunch-time to produce and revise and get us completely through the process in a timely manner. For the first eight years of my serious attempt at writing, contests provided a truck-load of goal-driven motivation. They helped me craft the stories and get them ready to submit to editors. In fact, there was a group of us who would use the contests to spur us on. I’d say 90% of them have gone on to publish and many publish quite successfully. So there is a definite place in the writer’s arsenal for using contests.
    Even now I have my eye on a couple for exactly the reasons I mention. I like those carrot sticks dangling in front of my eyes. If I provide a deadline I know I can move it; but if it’s a contest deadline. . . it ain’t moving. :)Keeps my on tempo and on track towards completion. And I have gone on to publish a number of entries that began with a contest in mind.

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Yep, contests are great motivators because they provide external goals. Being internally motivated is fine, but often we need that extra crunch-time to produce and revise and get us completely through the process in a timely manner. For the first eight years of my serious attempt at writing, contests provided a truck-load of goal-driven motivation. They helped me craft the stories and get them ready to submit to editors. In fact, there was a group of us who would use the contests to spur us on. I’d say 90% of them have gone on to publish and many publish quite successfully. So there is a definite place in the writer’s arsenal for using contests.
    Even now I have my eye on a couple for exactly the reasons I mention. I like those carrot sticks dangling in front of my eyes. If I provide a deadline I know I can move it; but if it’s a contest deadline. . . it ain’t moving. :)Keeps my on tempo and on track towards completion. And I have gone on to publish a number of entries that began with a contest in mind.

  • http://www.icelandweatherreport.com Alda

    Hi. I found your blog through a search… I’ve just received one of those Honorable Mention certificates from Writers Digest. Thing is, I have no real idea what it means – i.e. they could be giving every other writer ‘honorable mention’ for all I know. Would you happen to have any insight?? I’d be grateful…

  • http://www.icelandweatherreport.com Alda

    Hi. I found your blog through a search… I’ve just received one of those Honorable Mention certificates from Writers Digest. Thing is, I have no real idea what it means – i.e. they could be giving every other writer ‘honorable mention’ for all I know. Would you happen to have any insight?? I’d be grateful…

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Thanks, Georganna. I actually went to the WD site and pulled the link.
    So, how’s the writing coming along?

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Thanks, Georganna. I actually went to the WD site and pulled the link.
    So, how’s the writing coming along?

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Congratulations, Alda, on receiving the Honorable Mention certificate from Writer’s Digest. No, WD does not hand the certificates out willy-nilly to all who enter the contest so it does have some value when you receive one. I know how many are given out but when I entered they gave them out to the top 100 and there were more than 3,500 submissions. Good luck with your writing!

  • http://www.thewriterspath.com vikk

    Congratulations, Alda, on receiving the Honorable Mention certificate from Writer’s Digest. No, WD does not hand the certificates out willy-nilly to all who enter the contest so it does have some value when you receive one. I know how many are given out but when I entered they gave them out to the top 100 and there were more than 3,500 submissions. Good luck with your writing!

  • http://www.icelandweatherreport.com Alda

    Thank you :)

  • http://www.icelandweatherreport.com Alda

    Thank you :)

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