OWT short fiction competition – update Reply

The 2017 OWT short fiction competition is now closed for entries. We have received exactly 300 entries – exactly! (The round number seems to us in some way significant.) That’s more than double the number of entries we received last year. We are thrilled – and a little overwhelmed – by the volume and range of submissions we’ve received.

The judging now begins. Alas, we have only three prizes to award, so we apologise that there is no way we can give all entries the recognition that they deserve. Please know how grateful we are to everyone who shared their work, and please remember that with so many strong pieces our choices will inevitably be subjective.

Given the volume of entries, we plan to make our selections in two stages. In the first instance our aim is to narrow the field to a longlist, which we plan to announce on Wednesday 29th March. We will announce authors by their name (or pen name), but, so as not to hinder non-winning entrants’ chances of publishing their stories elsewhere, we will not publish story titles at this stage. Please be patient as we try to choose between so many excellent pieces of writing. Thank you and good luck!

 

 

The 2017 OWT Short Fiction Prize – deadline March 15th! Reply

Beware the Ides of March! Today is World Book Day, which means you have just under a fortnight to get your entries in for this year’s Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize. Remember:

– It’s free to enter
– There are three cash prizes
– We accept stories of 1000-4000 words on any theme

You can find the full submission details here. Good luck – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

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Author Interview: Lochlan Bloom Reply

Lochlan-bloom-author-writerThis week we’ve been speaking with Lochlan Bloom, whose debut novel The Wave was published earlier this year. The Wave is one of three novels published by Dead Ink via their Arts Council-funded project PublishingTheUnderground.
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Lochlan has written for BBC Radio, Litro Magazine, Slant MagazinePorcelain Film, IronBox Films, The Metropolist, EIU,  H+ Magazine and Palladium Magazine amongst others.

Is The Wave your first work to be published? Do you write short fiction as well as longer form?

The Wave is my first full length novel but a few of pieces of my shorter fiction have been  published before.

Last year, Australian publisher InShort published one of my stories The Open Cage as a stand-alone chapbook and Philistine Press also published a short collection of stories Ambi & Anspi and other stories.

My short novella Trade is also available from Createspace.

What gave you the idea to write the novel and what gave you the idea to blend metafiction, historical fiction and screenplay? Tell us a bit about The Wave.

The finished novel came together from a number of different places  but the nucleus of the idea centered around the character μ and his slow dislocation from reality.

From the start, I wanted to create something that questioned the process of reading and explored this idea of a fictional character crossing over from the real to the unreal while balancing that with real life characters and screenplay elements.

The title itself comes from the concept of a guiding wave, put forward by David Bohm, to describe quantum phenomena. Its a hidden variable theory and suggests that, at a fundamental level, all the interactions in the universe are intimately connected. As such the guiding wave concept tied in with the connections between story and reality I was exploring in the book and this idea of a hidden or implicate order.

How did it feel once the book was finally finished?

It was great to finish the first draft of The Wave but I get a single eureka moment when a piece of writing is ‘done’. Often, the first  draft of a section just fits and there is nothing to change but then again for other sections the writing process is more as Borges described it when he said – ‘I do not write, I rewrite’. Getting that balance is the key to getting something that works I think.

More…

Featured Market: Bombay Gin Reply

This week’s featured market is Bombay Gin.

 

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Started in 1974, Bombay Gin is the literary journal of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics—co-founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman—at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Edited by department faculty, students and staff, Bombay Gin publishes innovative poetry, prose and hybrid texts as well as art, translations and interviews. Emerging from the “Outrider” or left-hand lineage, which operates outside the cultural mainstream, Bombay Gin honours a heritage of powerful scholarship and counter-poetics through the publication of work that challenges the boundaries of language, form, and genre.

Bombay Gin have published the likes of Charles Bukowski and William Burroughs in their 46 years of publishing. But that’s no reason to be deterred – they also publish new and emerging writers. If anything, the prospect of getting published alongside the names of such writers should serve as encouragement to get your writing into the magazine!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 OWT Short Fiction Prize Reply

Here’s something else I never thought about before we founded a writing competition: competition isn’t very nice. We’re now ready to announce that three people will receive prizes, knowing that more than 140 people have been disappointed along the way. We’ve tried to make our decisions as fairly and diligently as possible, but disappointing news isn’t nice to receive or deliver. While some authors may have been disappointed not to make the longlist, and twenty of those longlisted may have been disappointed not to make the shortlist, it may be that the most disappointed are those who made the shortlist but aren’t among our three winners. To those who didn’t make the longlist, that may seem greedy, but it’s fair and proper to want to win – that’s what competition is for.

In our society, competition is often championed for economic reasons. An investment-based economy requires perpetual growth, and a major stimulant to growth is to create situations in which individuals and institutions have to compete. In many ways, this is obstructive to human happiness. It has given us hundreds of thousands of cold callers whose misfortune it is to cajole consumers into switching mobile phone operator or utility provider. It has left us unprecedentedly unequal, alienated from each other, working for more hours than ever before, and seeking treatment for mental health problems from depression to anorexia. Its main achievement has been to produce loads of stuff, much of which has value only when accrued competitively.

I’d go so far as to suggest that competition damages relations within a community. This is why, for thousands of years, civilisations have created designated times and spaces for competitions. The social function of pankration, duelling, jousting, boxing, rugby, chess, and writing contests is to allow people to practice competition in ways that don’t have negative effects on the wider community. A recurring theme of the etiquette associated with competition is that when the competition is over, regardless of the result, the contestants cease to view each other as competitors and treat each other as friends and colleagues. The competition has to stay in a designated space because anybody who devoted their life to “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others” would be behaving like a total dick.

For this reason, I think designated competitions are healthy. When one enters a writing competition, one hopes to win, one wishes to achieve at the expense of others, and if one doesn’t, one reasonably concludes that the judges are a bunch of sub-literate charlatans. Then, later, we can go back to supporting each other and caring for our fellow writers. We might write alone, but literature is a necessarily shared endeavour, and we’re stronger and healthier when we cooperate rather than compete. Meanwhile, you send your story off to the next competition – within which space it’s fair to assume that yours is the best, and that anyone who doesn’t get that is a total moron.

On this occasion, our three winners are:

3rd place (£25): Luke Harris

2nd place (£50): Darlene Campos

1st place (£150): Julia Thomson

Congratulations to all of the above, who will receive their prize money this week. In a close contest, Canadian author Julia Thomson clinched first place with her short story “Roached.” It impressed for the complexity of its themes and its skillful characterisation. The story benefits from its vivid setting on the small Bahamian island of Eleuthera, and it features a protagonist who is idiosyncratic and flawed but entirely sympathetic. We asked for stories that would make us laugh or cry or both, and this one combines comedy and pathos. It’s richly layered and full of subtext. It’s an absolute zinger and we’re thrilled to be publishing it on the site next Monday.

Thank you again to everyone who entered – judging hasn’t been easy, but it has been a treat.