Monday, April 30, 2012

Wordcraft -- The contest issue

Since Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone, gave me a lesson in blogging last year, I’ve tried to figure out what you, my reader, wants from this site. You’ve taught me, partly through comments, but most of all through the posts you look at, that you want to know 1) how to improve your writing, 2) how to network with other writers, and 3) how to market your work. So raise a glass -- or a pen -- to yourselves for prompting this post on contests. (You can see Kristen’s blog at ).

A writing friend, understandably, recently questioned the point of fees for writing contests. So before you dive in, read “The Economics of Competition: A Look at Contest Budgets,” in the current issue of Poets & Writers magazine ( ). And consider what the fees you pay to enter contests actually accomplish.

I feel comfortable listing contests vetted either by P&W’s staff, or that I’ve entered personally, but I’m including some others I’ve gleaned from various sources. They’re focused on fiction writing, since that’s my specialty. As always, read the fine print.

The May/June 2012 issue of Poets & Writers lists dozens of upcoming deadlines, mostly for literary fiction and poetry. Read carefully -- all have specific requirements. Also take a look at the lists of craft-building and resume-building residency programs and workshops.

P&W listed Writer’s Digest’s annual writing competition in its listing. But although the early bird deadline for this contest is May 1, the absolute deadline isn’t until May 15 for a variety of genre writing. See for information. Check out the magazine’s current issue to see what judges have liked in the past.

You know I love Duotrope Digest’s listings ( ). But although it’s added fee-paid sites, its search engine doesn’t differentiate between contests and regular submissions. So check out This science fiction/fantasy/horror (aka speculative fiction) site lists contests, even by literary publications, if they also accept its genres.

Speaking of genre fiction, take a look at the Abandoned Towers 2012 Writing Contest. The newly restarted site, like many ezines, asks for donations to support its projects. It accepts any genre of short fiction or poetry for consideration, provided the concept of “abandoned towers” is incorporated. See http// for specifics.

Feminist writers (not necessarily female) will want to check out for specifics on the Sword and Sorceresses anthology based on the work on Marion Zimmer Bradley. Free -- but deadline is May 12, 2012.

And if you plan to attend any writing conference, check its site to see if it offers low-cost contest add-ons, such as those for the Writers League of Texas,, and FenCon (

(Beginning today, April 30, Wordcraft” moves to Mondays. “Adventure classics” moves to Wednesdays on May 2, for a quick, fun read to get you over the work week hump. “Totally Texas” moves to Fridays on May 4, to help you plan your weekend.)

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