How to Enter a Short Story Competition

entering a short story, emerging writers

Below you find a fool-proof, fail-safe and realistic-approach to entering a Short Story Competition.  By following these Six Easy Steps and you too can enter any Short Story Competition of your choosing.  If you do not already have a Short Story Competition in mind, read this article from Australian Writing Opportunities first – Enjoy and Good luck to you.

Step One

Decide to Enter the Competition.  This is the most crucial step in the process.  Once you have decided to enter the competition (Any competition of your choosing will be fine) you can start to brainstorm a few ideas and look back through your old work.  You may find something in a discarded draft that could be manipulated and worked into a winning entry.  You may also choose to start from scratch.  I personally prefer starting from scratch as this creates a situation of the most extreme stress, beginning from nothing, and allows you to truly channel a maximum of adrenaline for the next five steps.

Step Two

Decide not to Enter the Competition after all.  Once you have spent the better part of a day playing around with a few ideas, realise that you are in fact not a stupid monkey who writes stories at the drop of a hat for dumb awards that don’t really offer enough money to cover the effort of writing it; and decide that you will in fact not enter the competition after all.  Instead, continue writing on your enormous and difficult fiction work that is going nowhere.  Continue doing what you were doing before you decided to enter The Short Story Competition.

Remain determined not to succumb to allure of financial validation.

If you would like to take this step to the next level, you may choose the more advanced version of Step Two, by spending the next few weeks doing even less than what you were doing before The Short Story Competition.

Step Three

Waste Heaps of Time.  (And I mean, heaps of it!)  Don’t try and write your book.  Forget about both of your blogs.  Stop proof reading for your friend and forget all about the promises you made to yourself a year ago about taking writing seriously and acting like a professional.

Step Four

Go Out for Coffee.  You decide against your better judgement to have coffee with your laptop, in a local book store/coffee shop run by a funny looking Japanese artist.  While there, you see The Short Story Competition advertised in the shop window.  You realise that the competition closes in less than 5 days and decide after all to write the dam thing – Just to see if you can do it.

Step Five

Submit Semi-Professional Confused Mess of a Thing, with 12 minutes to go.  This fifth step is almost, if not as important as Step One.  The whole process will in fact hinge on the effort you make in the final moments to submit your story into The Short Story Competition.  Why did you leave it till the last minute?  Well, because you are a genius of course.  Why would you not use all the time you have?

Step Six

Never Ever Ever read That Short Story Again.  Do not open that Word document under any circumstances.  Don’t even think about that Short Story again.  The moment you decide to read over that submission, will be the end-of-days for you and your writing career.  Leave the story behind and consider yourself lucky you entered the competition at all – Now, move on.

If you would like to take this step to the next level, you may choose the more advanced version of Step Six, by actually deleting the Short Story from your computer.  After all, if you win, the competition people will have a copy you can read from at the award ceremony.  (Suggest doing a reading of another Short story of your choosing at award ceremony, preferably by one of the following authors…  Nam Lee, Isaac Babel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Zelda Fitzgerald )

If you have any more excellent tips and tricks for entering writing competitions, please don’t hesitate to add below.


by Meg

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