Well-known lit magazine Zoetrope’s annual fiction contest is coming up.
What: Literary fiction to 5000 words. First, second and third places will receive $1000, $500, and $250 respectively and writers will be considered for representation by William Morris Agency and other high-prestige literary agencies. Entry fee: $30.
When: Submissions: Midnight, October 1, Pacific Time. Results: December 15th.
Where: Contest Website
Who will be the judge: National Book Award winner Colum McCann
I discovered this competition through my ongoing submissions challenge research on Duotrope. This competition, sponsored by the Writers and Artists website in the UK, is open to wordsmiths in all genres worldwide. The deadline is February 13th 2019 and the winner will receive a four or six day stay at Arvon’s Clockhouse Writing Retreat in Shropshire Hills. Read more about the contest and the judge at the website.
Oh yes, as well, the winner will be granted publication in their annual yearbook. Wow. That’s a prize. No more than 2000 words please.
So, getting down to the submissions for the Query Challenge. On Submittable, on most (not all) of the forms they ask you for a cover letter and you have to type it into the blank. My standard cover letter is:
(one to two sentences about the work I am submitting and what the theme or intent of the work is)
(standard bio paragraph, which right now is most-noted publications plus professional affiliations and biggest current project, my novel)
(standard paragraph thanking them for considering the work)
But what should the salutation be?
“Dear Editorial Team”
“Dear (name of editor I looked up on their masthead)
“Dear (name of journal)
or … nothing, just go into the letter.
Gulf Coast Prize for Short Prose
Prose can include fiction, essay, creative non-fiction, or prose poem. Deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2018, according to editor Justin Jannice.
Your entry(ies) must be less than 500 words. You can enter as many as three pieces. Entry fee: $18, and includes a year’s subscription to the magazine. First prize, $1000 with $250 going to an unnamed number of honorable mentions. Judge will be Laura Van Der Berg, author of The Third Hotel and Find Me.
Since I used to live in Houston, I thought this was a great opportunity. But I pause at the entry fee — though contests always have had entry fees — and then I realize the real kicker. I don’t think I’ve written anything less than 500 words. In the last week, trying to write short, I wrote three pieces of less than 800 words, but under 500, no, I couldn’t come up with something that short.
I wonder what would happen to my story “Poochie Pie” if I cut about 200 words of its 700?
Does anyone else have trouble writing short? OPEN: a journal of arts and letters just published an ironically long piece by Kent H. Dixon on how to write short, and it’s about as helpful as anything I’ve seen on the subject. Honorable mention to Dixon on the part about dandelions. If you want to read that part first, however, you’ll have to skip to the end.