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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.


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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.

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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.

December 26, 2017

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 Frank W Chris: I am an unpublished writer of fiction, both short stories and a recently completed novel.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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.