Whatever your aspirations as a writer and whatever writing form you’re devoted to, there’s room—and necessity—to fit the short story into your repertoire.
In honour of our new package, The Prizewinner (launching October 1st 2017), made especially for writers seeking to submit to--and win—writing competitions, we are cluing you into why, as a serious writer, you should be amongst the applicant piles this fall.
So, here are five great reasons why you should be writing and submitting short stories on the reg.
1. Contests come in all forms
There are all kinds of writing competitions out there, but the short story contest is the most popular of all of them. Why? Well, for starters they apply to a diverse array of forms and genres, including:
Flash fiction (stories between 10 and 1,500 words)
Flash fiction is a great way to write and submit work without putting in months of investment. It’s also a great exercise in boiling down your writing to its most vital elements—a crucial skill for all writers to develop. What’s more, the form is gaining ground—and $$—in critical and literary arenas. Many journals now throw flash fiction competitions throughout the year.
There are themed competitions for specific genres and journals (horror or scifi, for instance); prompt generators that create a title or a story’s premise for you to write on; contests dedicated to the writing style or memory of a particular writer . . . the list goes on, and with so much variety, there’s a short story contest out there for everyone.
Short stories can be real stories, and while nonfiction competitions tend to be categorized separately from short fiction, the principles of submission (and the word counts) are very similar. Nonfiction can be subdivided into journalistic nonfiction and literary nonfiction, so there are many overlaps. (For this reason among others it’s important to be clear on a contest’s requirements before you submit—because if you don’t play by every single rule, you’ll be mercilessly cut from the competition. Ouch!)