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Guidelines for writing Poems, Stories and Tales

How to Win Short-Fiction Writing Competitions



10 Storytelling Essentials That Wow Judges and Win Writing Contests

  1. Get inspired by the theme. …
  2. Focus on a bite-sized story. …
  3. Structure your story with clarity in mind. …
  4. Hook your readers (and the judges!) with a brilliant first line. …
  5. Get straight to the action. …
  6. Give your character a goal.

How do you win a short story writing contest?

How to Win a Short Story Competition

  1. Write something unique. …
  2. Follow the rules. …
  3. Show don’t tell. …
  4. Keep a consistent perspective (point of view). …
  5. A good story is better than perfect grammar.


What judges look for in a short story?





Short Story Contest Judging Guidelines

  • Characterization. Does the author create believable, memorable characters with the uniqueness, complexity, and individuality of real people? …
  • Plot. …
  • Theme. …
  • Setting and Atmosphere. …
  • Mechanics. …
  • Writing Quality. …
  • Passion.


What are the most prestigious short story competitions?

The top short story competitions to enter

  • The Jane Austen 200 Short Story Competition. …
  • Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2016-17. …
  • The BBC National Short Story Award 2017. …
  • Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition. …
  • The Short Fiction Prize 2017. …
  • The Writers Bureau Annual Short Story. …
  • Firstwriter International Short Story Contest.

What do writing competitions look for?

Writing contests generally lean toward certain genres. If the genre is not explicitly stated, read previously published stories from the contest to get a sense of what the judges will be looking for. If there is a theme, ignore it. Writing contests often ask for pieces that fit a certain theme or even follow a prompt.



What are the best writing competitions to enter?



Writing Contests For You to Enter!

  • Young Lions Fiction Award.
  • 53 Word Story Contest.
  • W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction.
  • The Gabo Prize.
  • Willie Morris Awards for Southern Poetry & Fiction.
  • Pen/Heim Translation Fund Grants.
  • Newfound Prose Prize.
  • Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest.

Are writing contests worth entering?

They give you experience. They help you hone your craft. They teach you to meet deadlines and pay attention to guidelines. It’s worth your time and a few dollars to try a few.

Where can I submit my short story?

Where to Publish Short Stories: Legitimate First Publications

  • Apparition Lit. Apparition Lit is a themed quarterly journal. …
  • LampLight Magazine. LampLight Magazine is a quarterly journal of dark fiction and horror. …
  • SmokeLong Quarterly. …
  • Write City Magazine. …
  • Genuine Gold. …
  • Dark Magazine. …
  • Typishly. …
  • SAND Journal.

How many words is a short story?

The average short story should run anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 words, but they can be anything above 1,000 words. Flash fiction is a short story that is 500 words or less.

What makes your story stand out?

Paint your world vividly. Whether it’s a bustling metropolis or the middle of the unforgiving Sahara, the setting in which your story takes place influences everything that happens within it. Don’t just plop your characters into a generic town—create your own world and reveal to the audience the intricacies therein.

What makes a short story stand out?

What Makes a Good Short Story? The four elements necessary for your story structure are character, plot, setting, and tension. Balancing these elements is the first step to making your creative writing amazing.

How can I make my story more unique?

17 Ways To Make Your Novel More Memorable



  1. Your protagonist drives the story. …
  2. Structure your book as a roller-coaster ride. …
  3. Tell the story in a linear way. …
  4. Write from your heart. …
  5. Start your novel at the end of the backstory you’ve created. …
  6. Include only the most important parts of the story. …
  7. Always remember the end.

What makes a good fiction story?

In fiction, the writer’s job is to entertain, to draw an emotional response from the reader. The reader is often looking for suspense, action, and to go on a journey they have not been on before, one they will not easily forget. Readers want to get drawn into and experience the story for themselves.

Where do writers get their ideas?

Authors Get Their Ideas Everywhere



Mainly because we don’t know where to begin. Authors get their ideas everywhere. Newspapers, TV, movies, other books, overheard conversations, dreams, nightmares, people we’ve met, loved, hated, been married to. And sometimes we have no idea how we got an idea!