Short Story Month 2013

short-story-writingAs 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.

Writing Competitions

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

Writing Resources

If you know of any good resources and/or websites please let me know!

Yeah Write!

The First Line

Language is a Virus

One Word

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14 thoughts on “Short Story Month 2013

  1. I don’t think doing anything like that is a waste of time if it makes you happy! I know how it feels to have people say things you love are a waste of time. When I was married my husband would constantly tell me how stupid blogging was and how it was a giant waste of time. But it made me so angry because people don’t see watching hours of TV or playing video games as a waste of time. People just like to judge :)

    • That sucks he said that to you – blogging is a waste of time if you’re getting literally nothing from it, but if you’re getting enjoyment and friendships out of it and learning things and improving your writing skills etc, then it’s a pretty good way to spend your time. I’ve been watching *way* too much TV recently so if I can replace some of that time with writing, it’s time well spent!

    • I also have loads of notebooks – I quite like the idea that my legacy will include a wide variety of scribble-filled notebooks :)

  2. I agree that short stories are due a renaissance. I based my dissertation around the whole idea of reworking short stories into novels and brand new literary genres, in fact :) I don’t know about the rules regarding publishing your stories after they’ve been submitted, but I would definitely like a gander at what you’re writing :D

    Also, why is it that ‘writing stories’ would get a sneer from a stranger, but ‘writing a novel’ wouldn’t? Why does everyone think literature = novels? WHYYYYYYYY?

    • Your dissertation sounds fantastic! I sometimes feel like I missed a vital part of the student experience by doing a creative writing portfolio rather than a dissertation. It means I never get to do the whole “*pushes glasses up nose* Well my dissertation was about…” thing. However I get to do the “well instead of a dissertation I wrote a story about a bunch of teenagers who kill themselves” thing and thoroughly freak people out.

      I’m not so sure about the rules, but I’m happy to email you a copy of my story at some point. I may wait until the results are announced because hey, you never know, there might be a miniscule chance that I will win some of them. And urgh, I hate how people think writing novels is something super-smart people do, but short stories are just childish. STFU. The other day I met someone who writes poetry and when I said “oh cool, I write short stories” there was just an awkward silence. Maybe it’s the word story – maybe if I called it short fiction people would react more favourably?

  3. Oooh thanks for the little list of competitions – I always struggle to know which ones to enter and where to find them. I’m definitely going to give the two free ones a go :) and you should never feel guilty for writing short stories – writing them is such a productive use of time I (at least, I think so) and every oneyou write will help you to improve! Good luck with the competitions you’ve entered! x

  4. I used to write so much fiction when I was younger, I was bursting with ideas. Now I tend to write essays on current affairs or abstract ideas instead, I can’t imagine not writing something though. Reading this has inspired me to try my hand at fiction again! I think it’s fantastic that you write so much, writing should never be made fun of, it’s a real skill. Good luck with all of the competitions, I would love to read some of your work!

    • Your essays sound really interesting Sophie! Though I’m glad this post inspired you to write some fiction. I would recommend writing short stories – or even flash fiction – to anyone, it’s such fun and it’s a great way to tap into your imagination.

  5. I hate how people undervalue things that don’t have an outright capital gain attached to them. Just because you’re not making money, doesn’t mean that what you’re creating doesn’t have a value! Grrr.

    Thanks for sharing those links to the competitions. I’ve entered one on a whim with an extract from my creative dissertation – yours sounds so interesting by the way!. Mine was also about teenagers but in a dystopian type of setting.

    Fingers crossed for us both!

  6. Just wanted to let you know that I entered that Almond Press writing competition, and although I didn’t win, my story was picked to be published in their short story anthology :) So, thanks for posting the link!

    • Ahhhh, this is amazing! What was your story about? That’s awesome for you.

      Stupidly I posted about the competition but then missed the deadline :(

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