At Online Writing Tips, we’ve been privileged to read thousands of your short stories in the process of awarding the annual OWT Short-Fiction Prize for the past four years. We regret, however, that we’ll be taking a break in 2020 with the prize returning in 2021. The prize is run by D.D. Johnston – with help from friends – and he and his partner are thrilled to be expecting their first child this summer. Given the pressures already associated with the covid-19 pandemic, he doesn’t feel he can commit to reading hundreds of stories this year. Rest assured, however, that the prize will return for 2021.
Please stay safe, keep your spirits up, and look out for details of the 2021 Online Writing Tips Short-Fiction Prize.
We haven’t done a featured market post for ages, so here’s something for those with short pieces they’re looking to submit. Flash Fiction Magazine is accepting submissions all year round. Their word limit is 300-1000 words (any genre). There is no payment for stories published on the website; however, they pay $40 per story accepted for their anthologies. You can submit here.
It’s free to submit, they respond in 1-4 weeks, and the best story of the month wins $100. You can check out their website, follow them on Twitter @flashficmag, and find them on Facebook.
When we launched the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Competition, we didn’t think much about how we would judge the entries. We didn’t decide in advance on any particular process, and we didn’t discuss the values that would inform our judgements. We wrote in the submissions guidelines that we wanted the stories that would move us – stories that would make us laugh or cry or both. That seemed to pretty much cover it. Had someone pushed us for a further explanation we would probably have mumbled about fairness and objectivity, without realising how problematic – even impossible – those concepts are.
So we’ve made the process up as we’ve gone along, and we’re still unsure about the values that inform it. We’ve moved to a multi-judge system, employing four judges, two of whom read the stories ‘blind’, without access to the authors’ names or cover letters. The stories should stand on their own merit, right? Reputation and previous success – or, in the case of two of the longlisted authors, knowing the competition organisers – shouldn’t make any difference. And we’ve started using a points system: the judges rank the stories in order of preference, and then we add up the scores and put forward the stories with the lowest totals (no, we won’t reveal the scores). Such a quantitative process gives an impression of objectivity, and it stops me and Phil arguing indefinitely, but what if it’s a process that favours safe and competent stories over high-risk works of art? What if a story wins because everyone thought it was pretty good, while the pieces that most thrilled and excited each judge alienated the others? More…
Last week I went down into London to meet with Imogen Pelham, a literary agent working for Marjacq. Imogen joined Marjacq in 2015, after five years at Aitken
Alexander where she started building her list, which includes Wellcome Prize shortlisted Emily Mayhew, and Costa Short Story Award winner Angela Readman.
Phil: How did you get into publishing?
Imogen: I decided I wanted to be an agent when I was 17, which is kind of weird, but I knew More…
The Student Wordsmith’s unique online journal, The Purple Breakfast Review presents an opportunity for aspiring writers, particularly students, graduates and young people, to showcase their incredible creative talents.
Themed around ‘Echoes’, submissions for its fourth issue (and the final of 2015) opened on Monday 5th October 2015. The closing date is 5pm on Friday 13th November 2015, so you still have over a week to submit.
TPBR welcome submissions from illustrators and writers of all genres (prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction). Word limits are as follows:
Prose, Drama and Non-Fiction = 1,000 words
Poetry = Up to 600 words
Please note: each entrant is entitled to send up to three pieces of work for free. All written submissions are to be typed and emailed as a Word Document attachment. Any illustrations should be submitted in high-resolution (at least 1mb) and in Jpeg format.
Please email all submissions to email@example.com