Recently, I’ve been turning my hand to crime-writing – inspired by some of the competitions mentioned on Helen’s blog.
I’ve sent my entry into the M.R. Hall competition (by email after the on-line form kept insisting that my entry was longer than the required 2,000 characters, but I think that glitch is fixed now).
My entry for the Cremona Hotel competition has been drafted – but will no doubt need a generous dose of spit and polish before it’s ready to go on its way.
Now I’m turning my mind to brainstorming ideas for the GKBC competition (stands for Giving Kudos to Brilliant Content) and after that there’s the ‘Win a Book’ competition in the May issue of Writing Magazine (write 250 words in which someone pulls a gun on a bank cashier).
Alongside this, and to get me into the mind-set of a crime writer, I’ve been reading Crime in the City - the Official Crime Writers’ Association Anthology 2003. I’ve just looked on Amazon and only second-hand copies are available now - so maybe I’ve got a rarity here!
Like all good stories, these tales are character-led and usually contain no great detail about the mechanics of the crime involved or the police procedures used in solving it. The latter often puts people (including me) off penning crime fiction for fear of getting the investigative procedures wrong, so short stories could be a good starting point.
The best way of finding out about police procedure is to make friends with a policeman but failing that, there are resources available on the internet. After a quick trawl I’ve found:
- Crime and Clues - the Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
- Writers Write - this page lists several websites that might interest crime writers
- Writing.ie -Really Useful Links for Crime Writers
Now, time to decide how my next victim’s going to die …
Who doesn’t like something for nothing?
So here are a few bits and pieces that won’t cost you a penny:
- Nick Daws is running a competition on his blog to win a copy of his new course ‘Blogging for Writers’. All you have to do is send him a guest post of between 500 to 1000 words for his writing blog. The winning entry will be published on his (high-traffic) blog along with any others that he feels are of sufficient interest to his readers. The closing date is Sunday 31st March at 5pm.
- Ideas Tap are running a competition for stories on any theme between 1,200 and 5,000 words in length. Up to 12 stories will be chosen to receive expert feedback plus publication in an e-anthology. The closing date is 28th May and full details are here.
- My first e-anthology One Day For Me – 8 Award-Winning Stories is free across all Amazon platforms until 25th March.
Brian David has been in touch and asked me to tell you about the latest CheerReader short story competition.
First prize is 100 Euros. The winning story plus runners-up will be published on the CheerReader website.
1500 words maximum and the theme is ‘anything you like so long as it makes us laugh’.
Closing date is 31st March 2013 and there is an entry fee of 5 Euros.
The full rules are here and previous winning entries can be read here - and I’ve just noticed that Julia Thorley, who follows this blog, was ‘commended’ in the last CheerReader competition. Well done, Julia!
So, if you can write humour, pick up your pens now!
First prize is £1000 plus ‘the opportunity to give a reading at a high-profile poetry event at which the prize will be awarded’.
Closing date is 15th March 2013. Entrants must be over 18 and live in the UK. Full details are here.
I hope no-one else had a bad head after the launch party. I knew I shouldn’t have finished that last bottle of Champagne after every one had gone. And I feel like celebrating all over again now because someone’s given me a really nice review on Amazon.
Anyway, basking in past glories won’t get the next book done. So how about a tight deadline to get the creative juices flowing?
Litro are running a free flash fiction competition. They want up to 1000 words from the prompt, “This is not love …”.
Entries should not have been previously published anywhere and the closing date is 7th Feb 2013 (entry is on-line). The winner will be announced on 14th February.
The winner and the two runners-up will have their stories published on the Litro website and the overall winner will receive three beautiful Clothbound Classics editions of Alice in Wonderland, Hard Times and Bleak House, supplied by Penguin.
Full details are here.
You’ve got 7 days – go for it!
Here are a couple of competitions for you to mull over whilst you finish the Quality Streets and prepare for whatever 2013 might bring.
- The Bath Short Story Award is a new international competition. The prizes are good – £500, £100 and £50 plus an additional £50 for a local winner. Stories can be on any theme and the maximum word count is 2,200. Entry fee is £5 and the closing date March 30th 2013. Enter by post or online but note that online entries must be in PDF format. Full rules are here.
- Erewash Writers’ Group are running a FREE flash fiction competition on the theme ‘Start’ – which seems appropriate as we approach the beginning of a new year. First Prize is publication on the Erewash Writers’ website, a copy of Dan Purdue’s book
‘Somewhere To Start From’ and one free entry to the Erewash Open Competition 2013. Second prize is one free entry to the Erewash Open Competition 2013. Word limit is 500 and the closing date is March 21st 2013.
The judge is author, Dan Purdue and he offers some advice on flash fiction on his blog.
Full competition details are here.
Sharon Boothroyd has been in touch to tell me about a short story app, A Quick Read, that she and her husband, Keith, are developing – and they need your stories. Here’s what Sharon had to say about it:
Would you like to see your stories published on an Android phone app?
My husband and I are launching a new project soon – a FREE short story app called A Quick Read.
The good news is, we’re not charging any writer to upload the stories on the app.
The bad news is, we cannot pay writers a fee, as we’re starting the project as a hobby. However, if we mange to secure funding, we will be able to pay you.
I’ll be sending out lots of press releases to raise publicity.
The categories for fiction are:
Twist in tale
The word count we require is 500 -1,000 words.
No swearing, no excessive violence, and no erotica, please.
Also, we require a brief outline (one or two lines) about your story.
Go to www.aquickread.net to view our website.
‘Terms and conditions for writers’ can be found under ‘Information’ on the drop down menu.
It would be best if you sent us unpublished work. All writers retain copyright.
You can also see how the app works on the website.
Please e-mail your stories to me, Sharon at: email@example.com.
PS If you have a website or blog address, we can place this at the bottom of your story on the app.
I’ve sent in a couple of my own stories that weren’t quite right for the womags and not long enough for most competitions.
So if you’ve got something short and sweet that you don’t want to leave gathering dust, why not give it a try?
Sharon also runs Fiction Addiction, an online writers’ circle for those interested in writing for women’s magazines. She writes under the name S. Bee and one of her stories is critiqued in Sue Moorcroft’s Fiction Workshop in this month’s Writers’ Forum magazine.
Do you enjoy reading or writing historical short stories?
If so, it might be worth having a look at Snapshots of History. It’s a small magazine that appears twice a year and each issue offers the chance to win £25 (first prize) or £15 (second prize). I won second prize in the latest edition and have been asking the editor, Sally Bland, all about the magazine.
Here’s what she had to say in answer to my questions:
So if you fancy dabbling in the past and creating a fictional view of a particular character, event or time period (my story was based around the marriage of Wallis Simpson to Edward VIII) – here is your chance.
Details of how to get hold of the magazine and/or enter the twice yearly competitions are available on the Snapshots of History website.