A quick post here about short story contests. Specifically the Sunday Star Times Short Story Contest, here in New Zealand.
Each year around this time, my site gets a lot of views because I’ve written over the last few years about this contest, and, I guess, people are looking for information about when it opens, what the prizes are, when it closes and so on. A google search brings my posts up on the first page when you search up the contest.
I have written about the contest because over those years, their rules have been egregious: their terms and conditions allow them to effectively publish any entry without having to pay the author.
I don’t think that they go ahead and use those rights – they seem to just publish the prize winners. The thing is that rights are all writers have, and we need to protect them.
I don’t know if they’ll retain that this year. I did get in touch with the contest organisers about the issue, and had a positive to neutral response; to the effect that they would look at those conditions again for the next time they run the contest.
So, I’m hopeful that when they next run the competition, that the conditions will be more favourable to writers. Also hopeful that they will run it this year, and announce the details soon.
I have made my final entry into the Writers of the Future Contest. For the last five years I’ve entered every quarter, but with my forthcoming story in January’s issue of Asimovs, my eligibility comes to an end.
Writers of the Future is perhaps the premier writing contest for non-professional speculative writers.
I’ve been a finalist, and I’ve had straight rejections. My tally over more than twenty entries also includes numerous honorable mentions, a silver honorable mention and three semi-finalist placings. So often feeling so close.
I felt a bit sad clicking ‘submit’ with my final entry. This thing is over. I have numerous friends who’ve won the competition and been published in the anthology. I would have liked to join them (well, I still have this one last shot, right?).
Flipside: I feel elated. I wouldn’t be losing eligibility if I hadn’t been having success with my writing. And I wouldn’t be having success if I hadn’t been tenacious. Taking those non-winning stories (and other stories) and sending them to other markets. Writing and learning and sending off and writing some more.
Now of course, I have my sights on some other prizes and awards. Aim high.
My story “The Old Fighting Goose” made it to the recently announced James White Award Longlist. I can mention this now because the blind judging has been completed and the story didn’t get on the shortlist. With over 350 entries, I’m pleased to have at least reached the last 22.
Best of luck to the finalists for the winners’ announcement at the BSFA Awards Ceremony in Manchester over Easter.
This is the last time I’m allowed to enter. From the rules: “The James White Award Short Story Competition is open only to non-professional writers.” The award is an annual contest and with a forthcoming publication this August I will qualify for professional status and lose eligibility for next year. Still it has been fun entering each year.
Now, editors, watch out. “The Old Fighting Goose” will be landing in your inbox soon.
With good cheer I can say that I missed the cut for a top three placing in the Writers of the Future. While I would love to have won, it still feels like I’m on the way and writing at a level that I’ve been striving for over many years. And there will be other competitions. I have an entry in for the third quarter and am in the process of writing the next one for the fourth quarter (WotF is a quarterly contest).
Congratulations to the winners and other participants. I hope to be on the podium, so to speak, one day.
Nice to see another New Zealander there in the list. Well done Stacey. I’ve never met her (NZ isn’t that tiny), but she’s a pretty good writer – check out some of her stories: Waiting for the Apocalypse at Eschatology and; Back in My Day at Daily Science Fiction. (There are other New Zealanders on the list from time to time – John Harper a couple of times, Samuel Mae and, I’m guessing, others. Yay for us).
As for that story of mine that didn’t place? I’ve submitted it to a magazine. It can take its chances in the big wide world.
I’m a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. There’s a press release about the current finalists, and that’s my name right there amongst them. Me. Wow. I’m feeling stunned by the news. There is still that next big hurdle – to actually win one of the prizes (and I’m not holding my breath; so often I have been “the bridesmaid and never the bride”) – but it feels very encouraging. It’s as if I’m on the right track. Kind of like how excited I was to get a personal rejection from Asimov’s. It wasn’t an acceptance, but I got a sense of having jumped up a notch.
If I don’t win one of the top prizes, I’ll enter again, and keep entering until I’m no longer eligible* Writing fiction at this level has been a long time goal and it’s good to see that I’m going in the right direction.
In other news, my current total word count for the year is just about to hit the quarter million mark. 249,224. I’m coming to the end of this round of tutoring, which does slow the writing a little. My regular daily goal is 1000 words (you can see I average more), but during tutoring that’s slowed to an average of just under 300 (lowest day: 132, but I did get through a bunch of marking). You know what, though? Today, even with tutoring, I’m going to do at least 776 words and hit that quarter million word milestone.
Best of luck to the other finalists. (and thanks for your message, Martin).
*From the rules: the Contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits. Despite my string of publications, I only have one at that professional level – a children’s radio story broadcast in New Zealand many years ago. Believe me, I’m working hard at getting more and, while I’d love to win Writers of the Future, I’d love to become ineligible too.