Friday, December 9, 2016

Competition Monthly December 2016

Our last Competition Monthly of 2016!

Titles are important. You need something that will catch the judge's eye and interest before they even start on the story. Long, rambling titles might seem indicative of a long, rambling story, so try to avoid them. Short, snappy titles are usually best, probably no more than five words. Make sure it's relevant to the story, not just eye catching. Often popular sayings, famous quotes or song titles are a good place to start if you're not good at making up titles.

It's also better to avoid common titles if you can, though that can be difficult if you're not sure how common your title is! One of my first published stories was called New Beginnings. I now know several people who've had stories with that title, or the similar A New Beginning, including my blog partner, Elaine Roberts. Other common titles include Lost and Found, The Homecoming, Rebirth, and The Awakening.

Neil Clarke, the editor of a science fiction magazine called Clarkesworld, put all the words from story titles he'd had submitted to him into a word cloud to ascertain their frequency. Some of the most common words used were man, time, house, last, new, moon, black, dead, death, world, one, little, life, red, day, love, night and dream. The fact it's a sci-fi mag might account for some of those words, of course. To see the rest of the word cloud visit 

Basically, you want a title that is neither too simple or common, nor too obscure or convoluted. Easier said than done, I know. If you get stuck, you could always try my old favourite, mind mapping.

Good luck, everybody, and don't forget to let me know of any competition successes you have.

***Closing Very Soon***
Writing Magazine Other Worlds Short Story Competition
Theme: Fantasy and SciFi, 1,500 – 1,700 words
Prize: £200 + publication in magazine / £50 + publication on website
Competition deadline: 14 December 2016
Entry: £5, £3 for subscribers

Writing Magazine Open Short Story Competition
Theme: Open, 1,500 – 1,700 words
Prize: £200 + publication in magazine / £50 + publication on website
Competition deadline: 16 January 2017
Entry: £5, £3 for subscribers

Bath Novella-in-a-Flash Competition
Theme: Open, 7,000 – 18,000, each individual flash no more than 1,000 words
Prize: £300 / 2 x £100 plus publication in one book for all three
Competition deadline: 31 January 2017
Entry: £16.00

The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition
Theme: Ghost, 1,000 to 7,000 words
Prize: £500 / £250 / £100, plus publication on website
Competition deadline: 31 January 2017
Entry: £8

Mercier Press Fiction Prize (unpublished authors)
Theme: Young Adult Novel. Enter 10,000 – 12,000 words of a novel max 100,000.
Prize: €1,000 plus publication
Competition deadline: 1 February 2017
Entry: Free

Bath Flash Fiction Prize
Theme: Open, 300 words max
Prize: £1,000 / £300 / £100 / 2 x £30
Competition deadline: 12 February 2017
Entry: £9

How Much The Heart Can Hold Love Story Competition
Theme: Love, 5,000 – 10,000 words
Prize: Publication in anthology with award winning authors + £150 + consultation with Emma Herdman, senior editor at Sceptre (Agent Lucy Luck is also a judge)
Competition deadline: 14 February 2017
Entry: Free

Jane Austen Short Story Competition
Theme: 2,017 words max based on a specific quote from Mansfield Park (see website)
Prize: £1,000 / £500
Competition deadline: 28 February 2017
Entry: £5

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.


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This blog was prepared by RNA Blog team member, Louisa Heaton.


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