500-word competition

I’m Writers’ Forum Magazine’s Competitive Edge columnist. If you’ve judged / entered competitions, click here.

*** I run a free monthly 100-word competition
where you can win my online courses or free editing & critique! ***

Exciting news! The 500-word (maximum) competition run by a yearly literary festival BeaconLit near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is back for a second year. How it works:

  • There is a monthly deadline (see below) for entries, with the top three stories from each month going through to the following May’s shortlist (of 30 entries), from which a final ten are picked (see ‘Prizes’ below).
  • You can enter as often as you like whenever you like but if you all enter in the final month (May, the tenth / final round), you’ll have more competition. It doesn’t make any difference which month you enter because you won’t know who else is submitting that month. If you submit in August and you’re not in the top three then you could enter again (with a different story) in September (or any other month). You can enter as often as you like whenever you like. Do enter more than once as it gives you a better chance of going through to the shortlist.
  • If you are unsuccessful, i.e. not in the top three each month, then you still have the story to send elsewhere and you’ll only have to wait until the following month (detailed below) to find out.
  • Once the ten overall winners are announced, only the top two stories will be published so even if you are placed third to tenth, you can still submit your story elsewhere and can tell them you were in the top ten! The same goes if you are in the top 30 shortlist.
  • The results from each round will be announced on this blog and the literary festival’s website / blog with three ‘winners’ from each round going forward to the shortlist (of 30 authors / stories) which will be announced / judged the following June.
  • Entries via the https://beaconlitblog.wordpress.com/500-word-competition page only. One entry per form.
  • Judge: Morgen Bailey (me!) is the judge for each round and the final shortlist judging. My decision is final. 🙂
  • The top ten placed winners will be announced at the July literary festival, by one of the festival’s celebrity authors. See ‘Prizes’ below.

Deadlines / themes:

  • Round 1: First deadline: 31st August 2018 (theme = the first time), results were announced 15th September
  • Round 2: Second deadline: 30th September (theme = not what it seemed), results were announced 15th October
  • Round 3: Third deadline: 31st October (theme = trick and treat), results announced c.15th November
  • Round 4: Fourth deadline: 30th November (theme = a strange tradition), results announced c.15th December
  • Round 5: Fifth deadline: 31st December (theme = an alternate Christmas / not feeling festive), results announced c.15th January 2019
  • Round 6: Sixth deadline: 31st January 2019 (theme = a fresh start), results announced c.15th February
  • Round 7: Seventh deadline: 28th February (theme = the love affair), results announced c.15th March
  • Round 8: Eighth deadline: 31st March (theme = your main character is an inanimate object), results announced c.15th April
  • Round 9: Ninth deadline: 30th April (theme = the committee), results announced c.15th May
  • Round 10: Final (tenth) deadline: 31st May (theme = young again), results announced c.15th June, along with the shortlist of the top 30 stories.

The final judging will then take place in June and the ten winners (see ‘Prizes’ below) announced at the literary festival on 13th July 2019.  NB. Any stories not written to the relevant month’s theme with be disqualified with no money refunded.

Fee:

  • Fee: £2 per entry via PayPal (link on the BeaconLit blog)
  • no limit to number of entries but £2 per entry
  • optional critique at £5 per story

Prizes (there are ten prizes, including a new third prize, totalling nearly £500!):

  • First prize: £75 plus up to 5,000 words critique* from the competition’s judge Morgen Bailey (currently worth £40) plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival in July 2020 (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Second prize: £50 plus up to 4,000 words critique* (currently worth £32) plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Third prize: £25 plus up to 3,000 words critique* (currently worth £24) plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Seven further prizes of free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25 each).
  • *the critique offered as prizes can made up of one or more short stories and / or a novel extract.

Rules:

  • previously unpublished stories
  • no minimum word count but no more than 500 words excluding the title. Stories over 500 words will be disqualified without being read
  • the themes vary each month – see above
  • do not submit a future / past month’s entry in the incorrect month (i.e. May’s in July) or they will be disqualified, with no refund given, and you won’t be able to enter it in the correct month
  • no genre restrictions but must be fiction
  • open worldwide but written in English only
  • no age limit
  • Entries via the https://beaconlitblog.wordpress.com/500-word-competition (one entry per form).
  • Fee: £2 per entry via PayPal (link on the BeaconLit blog)
  • no limit to number of entries but £2 per entry.
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