I’m in the process of competing in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. Round 1 was at the end of September; my group had 48 hours to write a 1,000-word romance that took place in a haunted house and involved marshmallows. I thought my story about two teenagers working together at “Scream Manor” (he as a zombie and she as a vampire) was pretty cute, but the judges didn’t seem to care for it. I only got 4 out of 15 points. Yikes.
Hopefully I’ll make up for lost points in Round 2, which was last weekend. This time my group had 48 hours to write a historical fiction story (1,000 word limit again) that takes place in a church and involves a bucket. I think mine is pretty good, and I did some actual research for it, so, we’ll see. The fact that I like it probably means the judges won’t. Or, maybe they will. That’s the thing about contests: you never know what the judges are looking for or what will strike their fancy. It’s best not to get your hopes up too high (or at all). Pick a few contests to enter a year, and think of the entry fees as your donation towards the literary arts. Because chances are, you ain’t winning any prizes, my friend.
On the chance that I haven’t discouraged you yet, there are approximately a million writing contests you can enter (find them on New Pages or Poets & Writers). A lot of them are pretty generic “we’re looking for the best writing” type of stuff. So I’m always on the lookout for contests that are slightly quirky, have interesting prizes, and/or have a low entry fees. (See my list from the spring: 10 Crazy Cool Writing Contests). Here are some contests that stood out to me this time:
MORE CRAZY COOL WRITING CONTESTS!
River Styx Schlafly Micro-brew Micro-fiction Contest– A prize of $1,500 for a short story, plus the winner receives a case of Schlafly microbrewed beer! Deadline: Dec. 31, 2013
Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition – A prize of $3,000 for a short story, plus the winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City! Deadline: Nov. 15, 2013
Burlesque Press’s DARK Contest — The theme is “dark” — crime, horror, mystery, black magic, etc. The winners in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction will receive a free registration to BP’s writing retreat in Krakow Poland in July 2014, plus a cash stipend.
Literal Latté K. Margaret Grossman Fiction Award – Only $10 per short story entry (up to 8,000 words), and $15 for two! What a deal. Deadline: Jan. 15, 2014
Provincetown OuterMost Community Radio – Live near Cape Cod (or want to visit) and want to be on the radio? In this contest, a prize of $1,000 will be given for a poem, plus the winner will be featured on OuterMost Community Radio’s Poets Corner program! Deadline: Dec. 10, 2013
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Fiction Contest – This contest includes an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the 2014 New Orleans Literary Festival and give a public reading. Plus you get $1500. Enough said. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2013
501 Word Writing Contest – Submit a flash fiction piece of 501 words or less. The winning story will be turned into a short literary film! Deadline: Dec. 1, 2013.
Baltimore Review Winter Contest – Theme: The Future – This one is fun because of the theme – feel free to interpret as you wish. Entry fee is a measly $10. Deadline: Nov. 30, 2013
Open City Magazine Rofihe Trophy Short Story Contest @anderbo – Need something to keep your middle school softball trophies company? The author of the winning short story will receive $500 and a trophy! Plus, there’s no entry fee! THAT’S what I’m talking about!