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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday 27 May 2013

Novel competitions

Are you writing a novel, or perhaps you've just finished a first draft, then have you thought of entering a Novel Competition? There are various competitions running throughout the year. Some require a finished manuscript, whereas others are for openings and you just need to have completed the opening chapters. Winning or even making the shortlist can start to nudge open those publishing doors and maybe a chance to leapfrog the slush piles. It's often rumoured that literary agents check out the shortlisted writers for these competitions. Several competitions offer publishing deals as the top prize, others have cash prizes of the chance to receive expert mentoring and possible representation. A friend of mine was shortlisted in the Myriad Writing Retreat Competition (run annually) and then approached and signed by a literary agent. Last month's Writing Magazine also featured an interview with author Lisa Cutts, who again found success with the Myriad competition. Winning this in 2012 led to her signing with agent Catherine Summerhayes (William Morris) and also signing a two book-deal with Myriad Editions. Her debut novel 'Never Forget' is out in July.

The Indoor Writer recently entered her children's novel into a novel opening competition for adults and children's writing. She didn't make the longlist of 20, but she did make the final 32 (so the final 16 for the children's category). Out of >400 submissions this was a positive endorsement for the story and a serious nudge to do SOMETHING with the completed manuscript! (I keep nagging...)

Here are some competitions for novels on my radar, in order of closing dates.
But be warned these competitions are not cheap to enter...

Cinnamon Press NOVEL Competition: click here for details
Closes 30 June 2013

  • Prize: Publication & advance (on royalities) of £400
  • Fee £12
  • Need to submit first 10,000 words

Lightship Publishing FIRST CHAPTER Competition: click here for details
Closes 1 July 2013

  • Prize: 3 mentoring sessions with publishing experts (author, agent, publisher), chance for representation.
  • Fee £16
  • Need to submit 5,000 words of opening + 400 word synopsis
Mslexia NOVEL Competition (for women writers only!): click here for details
Closes 23 September 2013
  • Prize: £5,000
  • Judges: Kirsty Lang, Val McDermid, Charlotte Robertson
  • Fee £25
  • Need to submit first 5,000 words (adult or YA), but you need to have a finished novel of minimum 50,000 ready if shortlisted.
Harry Bowling NOVEL Competition: click here for details
Closes 30 September 2013
  • Prize: £1000 & critique from publishing experts of finished novel
  • Fee £10
  • Need to submit first chapter(s) up to 5,000 words. The novel MUST be set in a city or town.
NEW - Exeter Novel Prize 2013: click here for details
Closes 31 October 2013
  • Prize: £500, plus 5 x £50 runners-up
  • Fee £12
  • Need to submit novel opening (adult or YA) of not more than 10,000 words including a synopsis of max 500 words.
Do share if you have a go at any of these...

Rattle Tales 2: new collection

The Indoor Writer has a short story 'Gretel and the Chocolate Wolf' (winner of the Steyning Festival Short Story Prize 2012, judged by Simon Brett) in the latest Rattle Tales collection (click here for Kindle edition.The paperback version will be out soon) of short stories and flash fiction. There is a huge variety of stories in here, an excellent read for any lover of short fiction.

Monday 20 May 2013

Poetry competition

Mandy Pannett from Slipstream Poets is judging the Psychiatry Research Poetry competition 2013. The closing date is 30th June and poems can be on any theme up to 50 lines. First prize is £150.

I'm currently reading Mandy's new collection 'All the Invisibles', a magical mix of humour and pathos with many nods to Mandy's love of history, mythology and legends. I love her playful sense of humour, which shines throughout this collection. Highly recommended.

Monday 13 May 2013

NEW: Fiction To Go

Welcome to Ian Black who has set-up Fiction to Go a new initiative for readers and writers. As a writer you can submit short stories between 2,000 - 4,000 words for online download. The website (click here for details) has all the information on in-house style guidelines, how the site works and what remuneration you can expect. The really novel aspect is that Ian will be recording audio downloads of stories too, so your work will be available for print and audio downloads. He is also looking for experienced readers - actors, voiceover artists, broadcasters or similar.

Q: Ian can you tell us more about Fiction to Go?
Ian: I have written a number of short stories over the years, but have always had
a problem finding somewhere to submit them. Competitions are alright, but
always over subscribed for just 3 winners at best and I don't write a
woman's magazine style of story. So I thinking there will be others looking
for the same thing and as there are only a limited number of such sites
online so far - amazingly - Fiction to Go was born.

I have created Fiction To Go to provide an outlet for good quality short
fiction for both the writer and the reader. Also, with the move to mobile
entertainment the provision of short fiction in eBook and audio formats give
the consumer the best of both worlds, an option in how to enjoy each piece.

Please check out the website to learn more about Fiction to Go, it really does look a novel and interesting alternative to fiction download sites. You can even subscribe to receive regular downloads or short stories to feed your reading fix.

The Indoor Writer knows Ian from West Sussex Writers, where he is also on the current committee. He writes fiction and is also a playwright and a prolific producer/director of stage plays. So is Ian a man of sound mind and sensible ideas? No, of course not, he's a writer!

Tessa Hadley was talking with Mariella Frostrup on Open Book (12 May Sunday 4pm R4, listen here) about her new novel 'Clever Girl'. But Tessa is also an avid writer of short fiction and stated that when writing a short story you can be "deliciously ridiculous". I liked that. The Indoor Writer met the wonderfully enthusiastic Tessa Hadley last November at a RSL Masterclass on the art of the short story (read more here). So why not write some "deliciously ridiculous" stories for Fiction to Go...

Sunday 5 May 2013

April round-up

It's May and the local woods are already bursting with bluebells and it's also time for the Indoor Writer's writing stats for April:

Write 1 Sub: 1 new short story written, 1 new filler written, 8 submissions (including 1 non-fiction feature)
Publish e-collection: as before - am collating the stories and have decided to enter The Scott Prize (Salt Publishing) which opens end July. So time to write a few more for the collection...
Re-start the novel: am writing a short story for Bridport Prize based around one of the characters from the novel. Better get a move on as deadline is 31 May! (Typical, she leaves everything to the last minute...)
Crack the Weekly News: Sigh, still waiting for the GOOD NEWS on the story I submitted last September. Apparently Jill Finlay at TWN is still closed to new submissions to clear the backlog.
Crack Woman's Weekly: Recent story rejected, without comment as usual. To combat this have booked to attend the Woman's Weekly Workshop (writing short stories and serials for women's mags) in London on 7 June. I'm going along with Wendy, so expect posts from both of us reporting back after our jolly (sorry), research mission.
Write and sell a serial: see above, hoping to learn more about the serial market before I try again. 
Application for MA in Creative Writing: did not qualify for the bursary as my first degee was a Desmond and needed a 2:1 or above. Odd to lose out on this criterion, particularly as I think I'm a far better writer than I ever was a zoologist, but them's the rules! However, I still wanted to be considered and attended interview last week. And the good news is I have been offered a place, starting part-time September! To date have earned one module through writing projects.

The Good: Runner-up Reader's Digest 100-word-story competition, Flash story TOP DECK TILLY  published in Flash Flood Journal (part of National-Flash-Fiction-Day), story published in Rattle Tales Anthology (out soon), story published in Alfie Dog's Humour collection, story published in Hysteria1 anthology. Pitch accepted for non-fiction feature (required later in year).

The Bad:
Income = zilch (though £100 of book tokens from Reader's Digest turned up on 3 May!)
Rejections from WW and Rattle Tales. Disappointed not to make shortlist/longlist etc for several competitions: Bath, Cornerstones WowFactor, Thresholds, Arvon/Pen, Meridian, Chudleigh Phoenix, Fish Flash, Commonwealth Writers, Homestart - oh dear the list is rather long...

There's only one solution for rejection blues...

Keep writing and submitting...

Thursday 2 May 2013

Free anthology until 4th May & launch of 2013 Hysteria Short Story Competition

Hysteria Short Story Writing Competition 2013
1st April saw the launch of this years short story writing competition for women only. The
winner of last years competition was Jane Bean with her story ‘Banana Loaf: A recipe for solace; and you can find her story and all the other winners poetry and stories in the new anthology, ‘Hysteria 1. (Including Midsummer's Eve, 1347 penned by the Indoor Writer!)
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle reader, you don’t actually need one as Amazon offers easy to download apps that allow you to read Kindle books on your computer, laptop, tablet, iPad, iPhone or android phone too.
We’d love as many of our lovely users to get the book as possible, so do click across to Amazon before the deadline and grab your free copy.

Hysteria 2013 is NOW open to entrants. Find out more about what this years writing competition involves and how to get involved by visiting the website updates.

Following feedback last year, we have made the process of entering much easier than last year; simply upload your story (using the story title as the file name) at the same time as you enter the competition. Please don't include any personal details in the story file.