5a.m. Flash 061212 – December deadline writing competitions

Every now and then at 5a.m. (probably posted by my clone) I will be bringing you a newsflash, update on what I’m doing, invited guest piece, or whatever takes my fancy, and today I’m talking writing competitions.

I have a Competitions Calendar on my blog and below are some competitions that have December deadlines.

NB. I may well not have tried these competitions myself so please take a good look at the websites before parting with money and submitting your hard work!  ALSO please note that not all the competitions run each year so please check their validity before entering (and their guidelines do change from year to year).

  • Children’sThe Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices and www.theredtelephone.co.uk.
  • Flash FictionIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: Writer Austin Briggs runs a monthly 55-word competition (different theme each month). It’s free to enter and you can win $55 (of his own money!).
  • Mixed: Christian magazine Pockets has a different theme per month.
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (http://www.voteformyebook.com) are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • Playwriting: New Perspectives has a £1000 prize fund for their Dream Up script competition which ends 21st December. Open to any writer living in the East Midlands area of England, the theme is ‘Starting out in the East Midlands’ and should last no longer than 10-15 minutes with a maximum of four characters. See http://newperspectives.co.uk/STEPUP for more details.
  • Poetry: Print Express are running their first poetry competition and this is free to enter, with the winner will receive £100 worth of Amazon vouchers. The theme is ‘Winter’ and poems must be no longer than 45 lines. The deadline for this is the 28th December 2012.  You can view further details here: http://www.printexpress.co.uk/blog/2011/10/17/the-print-express-poetry-competition
  • Poetry: Other poetry competitions include Anthony HechtHolland Park Presswww.le.ac.uk/engassoc and Writing Magazine (WM: subscriber-only theme: waiting for the post).
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • Screenwritingwww.screenplay-competition.com.
  • Short storiesHayley Sherman runs a monthly short story competition for submissions on any subject up to 2,000 words. The winners are published on the website, promoted online and receive a £10 First Writer voucher. All entrants are also considered for publication in The New Short Story Annual at the end of the year. Deadline 25th of the month. Heather Marie Schuldt runs a similar contest, although 500-750 words max., but with the same deadline.
  • Short storiesWriters’ Village runs a quarterly short story competition which attracts entrants worldwide. Click here for the rules… and every entrant receives invaluable critique! Their winter deadline is 31st December.
  • Short stories: The Bath Short Story Award opened October 2012 for entries – see ‘March’.
  • Short storiesFive Stop StoryGlimmer Train (different category each month), Willesden Heraldwww.westcountrywriters.comWords MagazineWriting Magazine (WM: open to all theme: first line ‘This won’t be as much fun, Jessica thought.’ / subscriber-only theme: moving on).


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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Script Frenzy: 100+ pages every April

Do you write scripts but just don’t have the time? Have you ever wanted to write a script but just… if you have, then next month may just see you doing that.

Script Frenzy is the sister organisation of NaNoWriMo and rather than NaNo’s 50,000 words in a month, Script Frenzy’s aim is to write 100 pages of script every April. Sounds easy? If you’re anything like me, if you tell yourself you’re going to do something then you’ll do it. And I did. NaNoWriMo four times (2008-2011) and Script Frenzy once, in April 2010 (in my case notching up just over 15,000 words). Whilst I found it an interesting exercise, it’s not made me want to be a scriptwriter, although it has made me appreciate the work that goes into each film I watch, and sometimes I imagine it written as a script but then that’s the analyst in me. I liked the story I came out with so a little later I converted it into the beginning of a novel.

The rule is the same in both projects; you can plot as much as you like before the beginning of the month (November for NaNoWriMo and April for Script Frenzy) but you can’t start writing the actual story until the 1st then it’s pens down (or fingers off keyboard) as the month ends and while you’re doing it you can keep score online, chat to others doing the same thing and a lot of people meet up. I won’t be doing Script Frenzy this year but I may well use the time structure to do some serious editing word count to one of the four novels I have as yet unfinished (having forgotten about unrelated NaNoEdMo this month).

So, to Script Frenzy. The home page helpfully tells you that you (currently) have 19 days left before kick-off beneath which is a wonderful plot machine which can be used for any project, not just Script Frenzy. Below that are their latest two announcements then a short trailer promo video made by some of their Young Writers Programme participants. On the right is their donations monitor (it’s how the keep the whole thing running), a competition to win goodies including a playbill signed by the cast of the new Broadway comedy Seminar: Alan Rickman (Yes, the Alan Rickman!), Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe, Hettienne Park, and Jerry O’Connell. Then there’s their latest two blog posts including one entitled ‘Robert McKee’s Sculpting the Shape of the Story’ then beneath that their Twitter feed which is almost constantly changing. At the bottom there is a link to What Is Script Frenzy which basically says what I’ve said here and includes the following rules:

  1. To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.
  2. You may write individually or with a partner. Writing teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.
  3. Scriptwriting may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time*.
  4. You may write screenplays, stage plays, web series, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.
  5. You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

* They’re based in San Francisco, USA.

It’s completely free to do. Just go to the Script Frenzy website, sign up and set up your profile. If you know what you’re planning on writing you can put that in too. If you set your Home Region (it may have to be the nearest city) you can then find other people who are doing the same thing (thousands around the globe will be), you might find them in the forums, chart your progress, and there’s a great Frequently Asked Questions section – just click the option at the top. If you want to practice your languages you can even see it all in Dutch, French, German and Spanish. 🙂 Don’t worry if you’ve never written a script before (most participants haven’t) their Writers’ Resources page is packed with templates and other goodies. Speaking of goodies, they also have a store. 🙂

Douglas Adams was quoted as saying “I love deadlines; I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by” but I find them invaluable as it’s so easy to let my writing slide. So, even if you don’t plan to write a script this April you could use the deadline for another project; 100 pages of prose, 100 lines of poetry (three or more poems, I guess), 100 lines of prose, 100 blog posts… whatever it is, it’ll be more than you would have done if you’d not put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. And what do you when if you’ve written 100+ pages? The satisfaction of a job done (not necessarily ‘well done’; Script Frenzy and NaNoWriMo are all about quantity not quality, you can edit it later), and a participant’s virtual badge and certificate. Then the hard work begins. 🙂

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with poet and essayist Robbi Nester  – the two hundred and eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.