After my trip to Wells as a shortlister for their Children's Story competition with my YA novel, I have to report, dear reader, that I was not placed. I did have a nice day out there though and at least it's something to put on my CV.
How can you stand out in a competition against possibly hundreds or even thousands of others? Any
idea that you've come up with easily, has probably been thought of by every other competitor. I have plenty of ideas in books for open themes, but when it's a specific theme I haven't always got a readymade idea. You need to discard the first few ideas and go for some thinking outside the box. For that reason I am a great fan of mind mapping. Even if the idea seems outlandish, at least write it down as a possibility. It might fit in with something else on your list.
Settings are another area where you can be different in a competition entry and catch the attention of the judge who may have read a dozen stories set in a living room or by the sea. Traditional settings can also be made unusual with perhaps a sea mist or the roof of the living room falling in.
For those of you who like writing under pressure, why not have a go at the Write Invite competition below, a kind of writing 'open mic'? I know people who've done it and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Good luck, everybody.
Theatre Cloud 'Tell a Tale' Competition
Theme: Making change happen. 500 words max
Prize: £300 / £150
Competition deadline: 19 November 2016
Iceland Writers' Retreat Competition
Theme: 'Elements'. 500 words of prose or poetry
Prize: Retreat in Iceland 5 – 9 April 2017, including flights and accommodation
Competition deadline: 2 December 2016
Write Invite Short Story 'Live' Competition
Theme: Three given each week
Competition deadline: Half-an-hour writing online
Mearns Writers' Short Story Competition
Theme: New Beginnings. 1,000 to 3,000 words
Prize: £250 / 3 x £50
Competition deadline: 31 December 2016
Doolin Writers' Short Story and Flash Fiction Competitions
Theme: Open. Short stories 1,000 – 3,000, Flash fic max 500 words
Prize: Short story £1,000. Flash fic £500
Competition deadline: 13 January 2017
Entry: €10 / £8
Theme: Food and drink, 2,500 words max
Competition deadline: 15 January 2017
National Memory Day Creative Writing Competition
Theme: Memories, 1,500 words max
Prize: £4,000 for short story (other categories available)
Competition deadline: 20 January 2017
Entry: £3 (£2 each subsequent one)
Francesca Capaldi Burgess has been placed or shortlisted in a number of competitions including Twyford Writers, Winchester Writers' Conference, Chorley and District Writers' Circle, Flash a Famous Phrase, Meridian Writing, Wells Festival and Writing Magazine. Her shortlisted entry for The People's Friend serial competition will be published soon. She's had stories published in magazines worldwide and in three anthologies, including Diamonds and Pearls and 100 Stories for Haiti. She is a member of the RNA New Writers' Scheme.
Thanks, Francesca, and good luck to everyone who enters!
If you would like to write for the RNA blog, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog was prepared by blog team member, Louisa Heaton.