Great as a starting point for original ideas. How to Write your Best Story Ever! This writing guide is very thorough, but also very accessible and great fun. How to Write Poems by Joseph Coelho A plethora of fun activities which cover a huge range of poetry forms and styles. There are lots of funny and child friendly starting points and short, sharp writing challenges. Great for primary aged children at home or in school. Just Imagine by James Carter A must have book for every classroom and creative writing teacher of children aged Great for English lessons, extra curricular clubs and reluctant writers.
Some thought provoking writing prompts are included. Some great advice on creating atmosphere, using dialect, and building a plot. Discover the best essay, poetry, novel, and short story writing competitions for fiction and non-fiction writers. Disclaimer: The majority of the descriptions of each contest were taken directly from the most relevant contest website. If you want to receive updates when we update this list, sign up for updates! Submit your work to these competitions for a chance to win notoriety, rewards and of course, cash prizes.
Related: Struggling to get your piece finished before the competition deadline? Use Sprinter , our online, distraction-free writing tool. Produce your best work by staying productive and creative. Did we miss a writing competition? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting at us, astrohaus.
Tell us about an amazing woman. Students are tasked to get to know women in their communities and tell us about the heroines. The contest is open to students in grades K Seeking creative nonfiction essays on any topic - words and in any style--from personal essay to lyric essay to hybrid and more! The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling and create an understanding of our world through thoughtful, engaging narratives.
Electronic submissions via e-mail only; reprints are okay; simultaneous submissions okay; reprints okay; multiple submissions are okay as long as they are submitted in their own individual e-mail. Open internationally. Limit: entries. The Juniper Literary Prizes showcase distinctive and fresh voices and share their work with a wide array of readers. Seeking short fiction of any genre between - words. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants. Eligible entries will include original fiction or nonfiction board books for ages 0—4 50— words and picture books for ages 4—8 — words featuring contemporary African American characters and culture and focusing on one or more of the following topics: character development, self-esteem, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development.
The Nelligan Prize is offered annually. Francis College to offer its support and encouragement to the literary community and mid-career authors who have recently published their 3rd to 5th work of fiction. The ethos of the modern world is defined by immigrants. They have just returned to school after taking their AS levels and I want them to study narratology and am going to get them to write a short story.
It would be great if they knew it was being entered for a competition, because then it would make it feel more important to them. Any ideas? Many thanks. Chris Fielden Anthea, you could try one or two of the competitions from the list I have for young writers and children on this page.
Aside from that, maybe one of regular competitions, like Writers' Forum, as you can enter that at anytime during the year. But you'd have to check they don't have an age limit. Edmund W Just wanted to say thanks very much for collating all this information - extremely useful to aspiring novelists!
Maureen O Thanks so much for this list and for all the effort that you obviously put into it. I may have missed it but I did not see the Glimmer Train Stories. They run different competitions year long. Cheers, Maureen. Palash P Thank you so much, Christopher. It's quite an exhaustive list. I belong to the Writers' family in India. Of late I felt the hunger to put my thoughts into words and it resulted in immense gratification. I do not know if I have the X factor in me to become a writer and create a niche in someone's heart, but I can try!
Chris Fielden Welcome, Palash - best of luck with your writing Bill C First time I saw all the comps listed.
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Very helpful! Mandy T Just wanted to thank you for such an excellent website. I found out about Myslexia and Scribble magazines here and now subscribe to both - waiting to hear back from Scribble re a short story I recently sent them as I write this I've also entered several competitions this year from your extensive listings, and have just found four more I'd like to try my hand at. Happy writing! Mandy - glad you found this resource so useful.
It would be great to hear how you get on with the competitions Marlene P Hi Chris, this is excellent. I write a lot of short stories. What you have done here is very helpful. Can you let me know what Writing Course you did? Thanks a lot. I found it very comprehensive and did the non-fiction and fiction modules. Let me know if you have any questions about it. Marlene P Thanks Chris I've been reading your stories Emma W Hi Chris, thank you very much for this resource.
My question - In your experience do successful short stories usually approximate the maximum word limit? In other words, would a 2, word short story be considered an acceptable entry in a competition with a 5, word limit? Chris Fielden Hi Emma, in my experience, it doesn't matter how long the story is, it's the quality of the story that counts. For example, I've had 2, word story published through a 5, word limit competition before.
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The only exception to this is if a contest stipulates a minimum and a maximum, which some magazines do to fit their print requirements. But if no minimum is stated, you should be fine entering any length of story. Hope that's helpful It can be entered throughout the year and is free. Fiction, non published and free. Regards, H. Chris Fielden Hi Helen, to list the comp, I need the details and I can't find any entry rules or anything online. Are you familiar with the rules how to enter, entry dates, prizes offered, dates, word limit, frequency of the comp etc?
I'd need all these to list the comp. If you could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated Helen M Hi Chris, thanks for reply.
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It's a noted competition in Ireland. I've added a link. I was sent a link by a friend which is how I ended up entering. Hope this helps and if not please feel free to email me back. Well done on the comp list you have provided. And thanks very much Helen :- I've contacted www. I'll let you know if they get back to me. Tanya V Hi. I'm looking for competitions in Canada and only see 2 on your list. CBC Books has a competition underway shortly. I wonder if you could look up more from Canada.
I'm not very familiar with the Canadian writing market, so if you know of any other short story competitions based in Canada, please let me know and I'll be happy to list them. Thanks, Chris. Thanks for replying. In my experience, most competitions will accept entries from anywhere in the world as long as they are written in English. But it's best to check the rules and submission guidelines for each competition carefully to make sure, as there are some exceptions to this rule.
Iris A This site looks good, but you should have a section for younger writers; I'm 13 and none of these competitions are what I'm looking for. Will H I'm far from the first to say this, but what an excellent site!
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It's been most helpful to me as I've written a couple of shorts recently and have decided to put them into a few competitions to test the water. While it would be amazing to receive any acknowledgement to help give me a platform, I'm considering withdrawing from this one as if it was published it appears it would mean needing to withdraw from Glimmer Train which has a much later deadline for submission.
It's unlikely that I'll find out if GT will be interested in my submission before the less prestigious competition publishes its winner, and though my odds of success are considerably less on GT, I'm quite confident about the piece.
Or do you think it would be best to get over myself and just cross that bridge when I get there? Thanks very much. Chris Fielden Will, I'd definitely leave the story in both competitions. Glimmer Train is brilliant but incredibly competitive. From what I've read, they have thousands of submissions and the chance of being published is slim, even for an amazing story. That's not to say we shouldn't submit to them, but I feel it would be shortsighted to withdraw from a regular competition given the small chance of success with GT.
Even the regular competitions can have hundreds of entries, so it's pretty tough to get published through them too. The likelihood of success in both competitions is probably akin to winning the lottery! OK, maybe a little melodramatic, but it really isn't likely. If you are placed in either, be happy. For that reason I'd leave your story in both and deal with the 'problem' and it's a nice problem to have should it arise Will H Thanks so much for the advice. That's incredibly helpful and I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly! Paul A I just wanted to say thank you for the list of various competitions available for short story writing.
I must say the more comps that appear, thanks to you updating, the more encouraging it is to keep writing and trying new things. Rochelle P Hello, firstly I would like to thank you for compiling together this list I mean it's quite encouraging for beginning writers like me. I am trying my best to pen stories written from my heart I'm glad you find the site useful and encouraging.
Best of luck with your writing! Ben S Hi Chris, thank you so much for the list! This is a great resource and has enabled me to quickly find and enter a number of competitions, and hopefully many more in the future. You've done a great service putting these lists together. So again, thank you! Chris Fielden Thanks very much Ben :- Glad you find it useful! Carla D Thank you very much for doing this, all the time that you went through to gather this information and to put it nicely here Just thought I should let you know that the Meridian Competition is no longer running.
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Neither, it seems, is PinkPen or Friends of Dickens. Chris Fielden Thanks very much Archie, I've updated the listings accordingly Oke I Nice work Chris. I did list you as a source in one of the competitions. Seana S Hi, thanks for all your hard work I reckon I am probably too late for this year, but have recently written a short story which has surprised me a lot.
All well and good, but I am having trouble finding any competitions in this area, or even publications looking for submissions with a Christmas theme. Any suggestions?? Again, many thanks, Seana. Chris Fielden Seana, I'm not familiar with any competitions with a Christmas theme, but I'd consider submitting to some of the more regular competitions see the regular comps list. Writers' Forum might be good, probably between now and the end of October, ready for the magazine released closest to Christmas. And maybe some of the quarterly competitions, like Writers' Village. While these competitions don't specifically ask for a Christmas theme, your story might appeal to them more at this time of year.
It's worth a go! Gerelyn D J Many thanks for your very comprehensive listing of writing opportunities. The search was a pleasure which has indeed provided me with options. Laura J Hi Chris! Thanks for creating this website! Extremely helpful and organised! There are a few free ones listed there, so you could try those I wish to know if you're allowed to submit a story to two different competitions that fall within the same time, date and month?
Chris Fielden Lawrence, different competitions have different rules about this. Some will let you submit while submitting elsewhere and some won't. You will have to look at the rules for each individual competition to see what they say. However, I tend to enter multiple competitions at once where possible or if a competition has long turnaround times 4 months or more. It's very rare that you will have a story accepted by two competitions at once, so I wouldn't worry too much about it, and that speeds up how quickly your stories are likely to be published.
But with competitions that have quick turnarounds, I tend to wait, as it doesn't hinder your submissions too much. I hope that's helpful Gale B I now have too many competitions that I want to enter! I'm new to this writing lark so really appreciate this site. Can we have some updated one off competitions now as some in your list have now expired. I will add more one-off competitions as I hear about them - if you know of any, please let me know! Nigel H Thank you for your site.
It is the most useful tool I have ever come across. Thanks for all the work you must have put in in order to tabulate all that information. Also Apostrophe Books at the very top, while still active, don't now appear to be running any competitions - the link above goes to a "page not found" notice. This is, nevertheless, a very useful resource - having just won a writing competition for scripts I'm keen to enter more, especially for prose as it's not something I've done before, and a site like this is very helpful.
Chris Fielden Thanks very much Simon. I've updated the links accordingly Stefani H Mr. Fielden, I was checking out the list of writing contests on your website. On your site it is listed as a free contest. Just letting you know. Miranda N Do you know of any international writing competitions?
Or are they mentioned in the notes, 'cause I only checked the country? Especially contests in Northern Europe :.
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Chris Fielden I'm afraid I'm not familiar with many writing competitions based in Northern Europe, Miranda, so can't really help there. However, most of the competitions listed are international, accepting entries from writers residing anywhere in the world, providing their stories are written in English. You'll just have to check the rules of each competition to be sure.
Jennifer M Dear Chris, congratulations on an absolutely brilliant resource for budding writers. You deserve serious kudos for the time and effort you must have put in to this web-site. Also loved your story on Ninjas and zombies. Not a word wasted. Deb T I enjoy your site very much - thank you for keeping it so well-stocked! I was wondering if you have heard any news about the Ruth Rendell short story competition - is it actually being judged at all, for instance? There appears to be nothing about it on the website Interact Reading Service.
Just wondered Chris Fielden Deb, you're welcome - I'm glad you like the site I don't know about the Ruth Rendell competition - I couldn't find anything about it on their site either. I've tweeted them asking if they're judging and will let you know if they get back to me. Have you tried emailing them to ask? Apparently the entries have been judged and there is a date next week when Ruth Rendell presents the prize. I do think it odd that there is no indication on the site as to when this would happen. I had a very nice email from the organiser, who said that because the competition begins and ends in May of consecutive years it would be too confusing, and they have to work around Ruth Rendell's busy schedule.
Hopefully they've taken my comments on board, as I also think it's a bit confusing not to mention the "end" at all! They also responded to my tweet today and said: Hi Chris, the awards ceremony is being held next Tues 20th, where Ruth Rendell will announce the winner. Kay Hey, this is a really good list! I'm 14 and really struggling to find a competition to enter my word short story into! Do you have any recommendations? Preeti Do you know about any short story writing competitions held in India? If you hear of any, please let me know and I'll list them Nira M Hi, I wanted to say thank you so much.
I'm from Iran and I was very disappointed about how to publish my stories and through your site I realized that there are competitions for writing short stories. So you encouraged me to write more and translate my stories into English and try my best. Chris Fielden Thank you so much, Nira. I wish you the best of luck with getting your stories published.
Ruby S Thank you for this - this list and your comments are such a help. Seeing all these competitions gives hope to aspiring writers! Arta S I'm a writer from Iran. I have to win a big prize, so that I can live, support myself and my profession. Can you please guide me - which one is the right one for me.
Chris Fielden Arta, you'll have to some research and see which competitions would be most suitable for your style of writing. The lists I provide will help you to do that. I would say that the competitions that offer large prizes are hard to win, as so many people enter them and the standards are extremely high. If you're new to writing, it might be more sensible to start with some of the smaller competitions that offer feedback so you can improve your work and get a feel for the right markets to submit your stories to.
Kevin C Chris, I have just stumbled across your website while looking for information on outlets for short stories. I just wanted to say what a terrific job you've done in putting this together. It's really a one-stop shop for anyone getting started in writing short stories and looking for places to submit them and other relevant advice. It's amazing how much there is out there and great to have some kind of a guide as to where to start.
I have just had a short piece of 'flash fiction' published on the Mashstories website and I don't think they are included in your list of competitions, unless I missed it, so you might want to consider adding them. Maybe you don't include 'flash-fiction'? I have had a good experience in submitting my piece to them: prompt response, prompt sensible and helpful feedback from the judges, and they put all short-listed stories into the form of a podcast.
Unfortunately, I also wasted a lot of precious time when I should have been writing, thanks to your ' Stuff what makes I laugh ' section, so thanks a lot for that. I'll put it down as 'research'. Thanks for making me aware of it. Sorry if the Stuff What Makes I Laugh page distracted you from your work, but I think having a giggle once in a while helps the brain to work more efficiently and makes your writing better.
Best of luck with your writing and congratulations on having your work published by Mash Stories. Claire R Hi Chris, what a helpful site and great advice! It is closed for this year but it looks like an annual competition.
Chris Fielden Thanks very much, Claire. I've added Bloody Scotland to the lists Cleo N Thanks for the helpful list. I want to know if these competitions are open to anyone, no matter country they live in? Chris Fielden Cleo, you will have to read the submissions criteria on the different websites to check their rules. Frank W Chris: I am an unpublished writer of fiction, both short stories and a recently completed novel. After accumulating a collection over many years, I have never had the opportunity to focus on finalizing and publishing any of my works until recently reaching retirement from my other pursuits.
I am seriously considering competition in writing contests as a means to achieve recognition. Your very helpful website is very impressive indeed, and I commend your diligence in updating it, which cannot be an easy task. Thank you very much for providing this wonderful resource to us. Whether I win or not, your efforts are very much appreciated. Chris Fielden Thanks Frank, glad you're finding the site useful. Billy F Hiya - I don't know if anyone else has had the same lack of response, but I've been trying to contact Talent River re: Shortz and it seems as though the site's been deserted.
Chris Fielden Thanks for letting me know, Billy. I'll let you know if I hear back. John M First, thank you for your efforts in maintaining this list. It's a great resource and I plan to enter several of the competitions. My view is that you can't guarantee winning a competition, but you can certainly guarantee not winning. Then it comes down to the individual taste of the judges. I'd appreciate your view on whether my general idea is correct, and, if it's possible to say, if my numbers are in the right ballpark. Chris Fielden John, I can only talk about my direct experience with running competitions.
The first competition I was involved with was free to enter. Writers submitted stories way over the word count limit and with terrible formatting. It was obvious they hadn't read the rules. So there was a high disqualification rate. There were a few entrants that made errors, but these were minor mistakes and did not warrant disqualification, they just scored lower to make it fair for the writers who had obeyed all the rules and made no mistakes.
The difference between the two competitions - the entry fee. In my experience, if there's an entry fee, the quality of entry is much higher. It seems to put off the lower quality entrants. So, as you can see from these 2 examples, the percentages you're talking about vary massively. So it's impossible to say as it will be different for every competition. Judge's opinions do differ greatly. The writers in my writing group all published authors are currently helping me select winners from the shortlist I compiled.
With a couple of exceptions, they are all selecting different stories as favourites to win. I think having a panel makes it fairer, because you have a variety of opinions so the strongest stories win through. My advice to any writer is to never give up. What one judge dislikes, another might love. Keep on submitting. John M Thanks Christopher, that's great. Appreciate your help. Am not entirely sure from which technological mechanism or social media community these tentacles reached me; suffice to say I know you formed the foundation for them so this email is to serve as an ether message of appreciation.
Regards and humble cursatives as I sit in the hellhole of a soft play area, awaiting my son to finish his climbing class. They are both fine publishers. Dave S Hi Chris, nice site and to find information on what publishing outlets are out there! Tenses:- When, in your experience, do you think it is correct to use the past and the present tenses in a manuscript, or can you alternate between the two depending on the context? I've noticed, when skimming through other short stories that have been published, that a great deal of them seem to be in the present rather than the past.
I've sent a story off to a competition found on your site but then realize to my horror that I should have written 'belongs' rather than 'belonged' in one small area. If this omission jeopardizes my entry, better luck next time. I find, when correcting a manuscript, that it's a bit like a puzzle or a minefield; finding omissions or ways to improve my writing. In your experience, do you hire editors to do your correcting, or do you rely on your own intuition? If you have editing intuition, do you need to employ an editor? I'm finishing a book; not sure whether to use kdp select or some other publishing source to get it published.
Chris Fielden Dave, I don't think it really matters which tense you use - whichever suits your story best. I think the reason that short stories often use the present tense is because many readers find it more immediate and engaging, so it works well for shorter works where it's important to suck the reader in quickly.
So there is no right or wrong way of doing it, you simply have to pick which tense works best for you. You can switch between tenses, but I would recommend making clear breaks in the story, like you would when switching character viewpoint. That way the reader understands the need for the switch and doesn't become confused. Editing is something you get better at as you write more and learn from your mistakes. When I first started out, I paid professionals to critique my work. It helps you learn and improve your writing. This is particularly important with novels or longer stories as they need more editing.
With shorter works, I ask family, friends, and the members of the writing group I belong to, to proofread my work and find typos and mistakes. The other thing to do is read your story many times, preferably with a break of 2 or 3 days between reads. That way, you edit with a clear head and mistakes are easier to spot. All are worth investigating, but if you intend to sell online, Amazon is probably your best bet as it is most widely known. Dave S Hi Chris, many thanks for your comments.
I'll certainly bear them in mind as I continue to do more writing. Thanks once again for your list. It is proving useful. Adi B Hey Chris. First of all thanks a lot for all you're work! I think you've made the question of how to get read a lot less scary and open. Secondly, and sorry if I'm being a bother - where are the international competitions - if say I'm neither British, American, Canadian etc?
Chris Fielden Adi, you're welcome - I'm glad you find the site useful :. The vast majority of these competitions are international and will accept entries from writers residing anywhere in the world. The countries are just listed for information. James W Chris, I thought you might be interested in adding the Poetic Republic short story competition to your very useful list of competitions on your website.
It works a bit like Scribble, with the readers of the competition reading and scoring other entrants' stories. You also receive comments from readers on your stories. I entered last year the first year they ran a short story competition and had about 20 different comments back. It's well worth taking part, though you do have to commit to reading quite a lot of stories in order to enter. Chris Fielden James, thanks very much for letting me know about this. I am wondering if you can recommend any please?
The story is set in but I am not really looking for something specifically Science Fiction, just one that will take stories of 2, words without being too specific about criteria. It has a 3, word limit, so fine for your story. Chris G Chris, I really appreciate your help. Thanks so much. Lani N Hi there, thanks for this very comprehensive list!!
I live in South Africa and there are a number of these competitions I'd like to enter. Am I allowed to enter a competition in Scotland, for example, if I don't live there? Kind regards, Lani. Chris Fielden Lani, you will have to check the submission rules for each competition, but the majority of short story contests accept entries from writers living anywhere in the world Lani N Hi there, awesome, thank you for letting me know.
I appreciate it. Simon H Hi Chris, I love your web site - thought you may like to know Askance Publishing are back with a short story competition after a year off. Ashley W Hi! Thanks for your very valuable resource here! I have a question about entering short story competitions. Should I enter my stories in one competition at a time? Or is it OK to submit the same short story to multiple contests? I am a little concerned that if I win in one then it becomes a published story and that means if it also wins in another then it is actually no longer eligible.
Chris Fielden Ashley, there are some competitions that welcome simultaneous submissions, and some that accept previously published work too. So with those, it's fine to submit elsewhere. It's also highly unlikely that you'll win two competitions, even if you're some sort of literary genius as competition judges and magazine editors' tastes and requirements vary so much.
If you did have a story accepted whilst it was under consideration elsewhere, you would simply have to withdraw it. You'd probably lose any submission fee and run the risk of being blacklisted for that particular competition, if they specifically requested previously unpublished work that was not under consideration elsewhere. But the likelihood of that happening is slim. I do submit simultaneously as it results in more publishing success far more quickly. But I think very carefully about where I simultaneously submit.
For example, I do not do this with prestigious competitions and publications that I submit to every year as it's not worth the risk of potentially being blacklisted if Fate were to work His magic Can you recommend a good crime short story competition? Not sure which to enter from your website. Chris Fielden James, the Bloody Scotland competition is the only one I'm aware of that is currently running and just about crime.
It's featured in the lists above. Sara P Thank you very much for all this information! I'd like to ask if you know about any Spanish speaking competitions based in England. Thanks a lot! Chris Fielden Sara, I'm afraid not. The only competition I'm aware of that asks for entries in Spanish or English is based in South America.
It's called the Southern Pacific Review and is featured in the lists above. Sara P Christopher, thank you very much for your information. I'll have a look at the competition you mentioned. Have a lovely day! Ashley W Hi Chris! They have a panel of judges which they rotate. Thanks for your advice in answer to my previous mail in March, your site is truly very useful. I haven't won a comp yet, but hope springs eternal. I got a mail from Chaptercheckers regarding them going monthly rather than weekly and apologising for their slow feedback.
Glacial might be more apt. Let's hope they get their act together. Congratulations on all the short-listings. And have updated Needle in the Hay info too. I recently heard from Chapter Checkers and they said they were overwhelmed with entries so had to go monthly. Must be a nightmare to keep up with comms. I find it hard enough with my yearly comp!