As I have expressed a number of times, I love short stories. I love reading them, and I especially love writing them. I was not blessed with a particularly long attention span, and so short stories are the ideal choice for me, especially when it comes to my own writing. All I need to do is sit down and write, for about half an hour, and I have the bare bones of a story. I can leave it at a few pages long, or I can come back to it and add more until it becomes more like a novella. Should I ever find myself wanting to write a novel, I fully imagine that I will revisit a short story that I have discarded and extrapolate it. But for now, short stories are the best for me. I can come up with a ridiculous concept but that’s okay, because you only have to believe it for maybe 5,000 words and then you can come back to reality. This means the furniture can talk, the air can be made out of popping candy, and crocodiles can rule the planet.
That it has taken me until the very end of the month to write about short stories is surely a sign of how motivated I am lately in regards to writing. May has been short story month. The team behind the first international short story month believe that short stories are due a huge comeback as a literature form, which is a hugely exciting idea for me personally, and has made me regroup my efforts a little bit. So even though I spent the month of May resting on my laurels and pretending I didn’t know what a pen was, it has made a positive impact on me eventually. In the last week I have fired off two entries to writing competitions, which is a huge increase on the err, none that I have sent off in the past year or so. I’ve also searched out my writing notebook and plan to keep it near to me at all times from now on.
I guess writing, especially frivolous short story jotting rather than serious highbrow novel writing, seems like a waste of time when job hunting and working and worrying about underemployment and feeling like I should be doing something with my life. If people were to ask so what have you been up to? and I replied well I’ve been writing lots of stories, how would they react? Maybe it’s just my insecurities on show but I feel as though people would regard this as a bit of a silly waste of time when I should be doing more serious things – although in fairness, people also regard blogging as a silly waste of time and I still do that. I want to keep writing, and do it more often, and shake off this strange idea I have that it’s not a worthwhile thing to do. I have realised, time and time again, that it puts my thoughts in order when I’m feeling scattered and helps me to feel more balanced when I’m stressed. It is worthwhile, and even if it weren’t, people do really pointless things all the time and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So, without any more unnecessary rambling, I will link to some writing competitions – if you also want to write frivolous things and pit them against frivolous things other people have written – and to some writing resources.
These are in order from least to most expensive entry fee – ranging from sweet nuthin’ to seventeen whole English pounds (!!!). Let me know if you’re thinking of entering any, maybe we can spur each other on. If you want more let me know and I can email you my list.
Almond Press Apocalyptic Short Story Contest – free entry – £100 prize money – 30th June
Swan Ezine Short Story Competition – free entry – £30, £20, £10 prize money – 31st August
Inktears Flash Fiction Competition – £3 entry – £250, £50, £25 prize money – 31st July
Prolitzer Prize for Prose Writing – £4 entry fee – £140 prize money – 30th September
Lightship Short Story Competition – £12 entry fee – £1,000 prize money – 30th June
Manchester Fiction Prize – £17 entry fee – £10,000 – 30th August
If you know of any good resources and/or websites please let me know!