The Monday Five: Writing Challenges/Prompts (April 22)

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Concept Art Writing Prompt: Blue Girl in the Chemist’s Lair
from io9: We Come From the Future

Weekly Writing Challenge: Person, Place, Thing
from The Trash Bash

Writing Assignment: Fifty Words
from First Today, Then Tomorrow

300 Word Writing Challenge
from Chronicles (Science Fiction and Fantasy Community)

7 Creative Writing Prompts to Spark Your Writing
from Brian A. Klems at Writer’s Digest

The Monday Five: Free-Entry Writing Contests (April 8)

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Always verify ALL details through the contest websites, please. 

Stanford Story Slam 2013
from Ensemble at Stanford University
Collaborative story with a prompt
Up to 1,000 words
Deadline April 22

The Character-Driven Tale Contest, with David Corbett
from Scribophile
Character-driven short story, no required genre
Up to 3,000 words
Deadline April 30

15th Annual GPS Writing Contest
from Geek Partnership Society
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, Alternate History Fiction
Up to 5,000 words
Deadline May 15

2013 Write Action 8th Annual Literary Contest
from Write Action
Theme: “A Different World,” open to interpretation
Up to 1,500 words
Deadline June 30

Young Writers of Earth 2013 Flash Fiction Writing Competition (ages 18-30)
from Young Writers of Earth
No required genre or theme
Up to 1,000 words
Deadline TBA

Bonus Group Writing Activity –
National Novel Writing Marathon
from NaNoWriMo
Happening April 13

Bonus Writing Competition Tips –
Entering Writing Competitions? Here Are Six Quick Tips!
from MaryChris Bradley at The AmWriting Blog

Bonus Writing Contest Resource –
@WritersContests on Twitter

Monday 5: Writing Opportunities

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Do You Know These Websites for Writing Jobs and Markets?
From Savvy Writers & e-Books online

Calls for anthology submissions
From Ruby Lioness Press

Writing Contests
From Stuart Aken

Wednesday Writing Sprints
From Patti Stafford

Announcing our 2012 Young Environmental Writers Contest
From Sage Magazine

Monday 7: Calls For Submissions and Free-Entry Flash Fiction Contests and Challenges

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Remember: When submitting a piece of work to any contest or publisher, read the guidelines very carefully and follow them to a T. Judges / fiction editors get kind of cranky when you don’t. Not to mention that it makes you look unprofessional and gives them a reason to give you the boot before even reading your submission.

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Silver Boomer Books: Several open calls for submissions

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Bony Fingered Limbs: Flash Fiction Challenge: Doldrums
Word count: 800
Deadline: February 10th (midnight MST)

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The Nassau Review (Nassau Community College): 2012 Writer Awards
Word count (for prose): 100-500
Deadline: February 20th

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The Binnacle (University of Maine at Machias Literary & Arts Magazine): Annual Ultra-Short Competition
Word count (for prose): 150 or fewer
Deadline: March 15th

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The Write Place At the Write Time: Winter Writers’ Challenge (topic: December 21st, 2012)
Word count: 500
Deadline: Unknown

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Happily Cognating (new market): Reader’s Choice Awards
(also accepting submissions for their debut issue until May 1st)
Word Count: able to be read in one sitting
Deadline: Unknown

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The World’s Greatest Fantasy Writing Contest
Word count: 8000
Deadline: June 30th

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Good luck, dear writing friends! Which will you be entering?

Friday 10: Top Writing Blogs, Contests, Articles (Writing Process & Social Media), Free Downloads

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Happy Friday, dear writing friends!

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Writing Opportunities

From The Write Practice: “Show Off” Writing Contest: The Love Story Edition

From Nick Rolynd: 30 Minute Fridays

From HorrorAddicts: 2 Horror Writing Contests (1 For Women, 1 For Men)

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Top Writing Blogs

From eCollegeFinder: Top Writing Blog Nominees (Voting has ended, but bookmark for future reading.)

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Articles on Writing Process

From Jeff GoinsThe Key to Distraction-Free Writing

From Maybe Genius: Spheres of Existence: Writing Other Experiences With Integrity

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Articles on Social Media

From The Bookshelf Muse: Creating An Author Platform That Sticks

From Kristen Lamb: 10 Ways to Improve Your “Likability Quotient”

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Free Downloads

eBook, from Amazon Kindle: Paradox (A Short Story) by Aaron Crocco

Digital music track, from John Anealio: “I Should Be Writing”

13 Free-Entry Writing Contests & More

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I’m a day late (I blame Columbus) but I’m pretty happy with the opportunities I’ve rounded up for you guys today. Unfortunately, 3 of the deadlines are in the next week (hey, I’m not crazy, some of us work best under pressure), with others closely following, so you’d better get writing!

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Special Opportunities:

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Search For America’s Newest Comedy Writer

– Half-hour comedy format script
– Deadline October 28th (11:59 am ET)
– “next great story featuring the modern American family”
– Winner receives $5,000 and creative input and guidance from American film and television producer, writer, and director John Wells

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From Stone House Inklings, an Ongoing Collaborative eBook Contest. Sound interesting? Read on:
– Write a chapter (2k words or less) to follow up posted chapters (Chapter 1 here)
– Deadline 20th of each month
– Genre thriller/paranormal (not fantasy, sci-fi, erotica, etc.)
– Prizes for monthly winners will be publication in final e-book and a surprise package
– Prize for overall winner (when e-book is finished) will receive professional literary agent representation package
– 5 finalists will be posted on the 25th of each month, winner to be selected by popular vote of readers
– One entry allowed per month

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This is an amazing opportunity to have your work evaluated by a professional: go to the Creative Writing Institute and scroll down to the headline “FREE Writing Evaluation.”

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Contests:

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From Claire de Lunacy, The First Annual Flash Fiction Contest
– 700 words or less
Deadline October 15th (11:59 pm)
– Must contain the sentence: “The door clicked shut behind her; she closed her eyes and walked, arms outstretched, into the rain.”
– 1st prize $50 Amazon gift card, 2nd prize $25 Amazon GC, 3rd prize $15 Amazon GC
– 8 winning entries will be published on Kindle as an anthology

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From Authonomy, the Miranda Dickson Flash Fiction Competition
– Exactly 416 words
Deadline October 16th (midnight)
– Titled “It Started With a Kiss” (the name of Miranda Dickinson‘s third novel)
– Winner invited to submit the first 20,000 words of his or her novel to Miranda Dickinson’s editor for review; winner and 4 runners up will receive a signed copy of Miranda’s new novel 

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From Jeff Hirsch at Figment, The Three Settings Contest
– Maximum 1,200 words
– Deadline October 17th (6pm EDT)
– “write a story comprised of three scenes, using these three settings in any order: a crowded train station in a major city, an abandoned church, the Mojave Desert at noon on the hottest day of the year”
– Winner – copy of Jeff Hirsch’s The Eleventh Plague, Figment tote bag, and $35 Amazon gift card
– 5 finalists chosen by votes; final winner selected by Jeff Hirsch
– Must make a free account with Figment to enter

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From The Creative Writing Institute, a contest strictly for beginners: the Third Annual Beginner’s Short Story Contest
– 1,000-1,750 words
– Deadline October 20th (midnight EST)
– Any genre, G-rated, may submit 2 stories
– 1st prize: cash (amount depends on donations received) or free CWI course. Also publication on website and blog, plus other prizes
– 2nd prize: two free tutoring sessions with CEO and founder of CWI, copy of Word Magic by Cindy Rogers
– 3rd prize: one free tutoring session with CEO and founder, autographed copy of Word Trippers by Barbara McNichol
– Honorable Mentions: name published on website and blog and linked to story
– MUST BE UNPUBLISHED TO ENTER (includes short stories; self-pubbed okay)

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From The Quotable, the October Writing Prompt Contest
– 100 words or less
– Deadline October 24th
– Prompt: “Something wicked this way comes.”
– Winning entries will be posted on the website; winners entered into drawing for Winter Issue: Beginnings and Endings
– Post entry (no limit to number of entries) in comments; winners chosen by voters

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From the Limerick Writers’ Centre, the 2nd LWC Flash Fiction Slam
– Up to 500 words
– Deadline October 30th
– Story with beginning, middle, and end (no poetry or vignettes) with the prompt “2011” (could be the year or a number)
–  10 finalists will have opportunity to read (or have their stories read by an actor) at the Flash Fiction Slam in December 2011. From there, one winner will be chosen by judges; prize voted on by audience

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From Fantasy Faction, the October Writing Challenge (NO PRIZE LISTED)
– 1,500-2,000 words
– Deadline October 31st
– “short story or scene involving an evil or spooky wood as the main setting” and must contain element of fantasy
–  Must sign up (for free) with the site to enter; post entry in comments of page

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JUST FOR KIDS: From Reading Rockets, The Exquisite Prompt Redux (based on The Exquisite Corpse Adventure)
– 350 words or less
– Deadline November 30th
– Must use prompt for appropriate age group
– Winners: online publication (at Reading Rockets and adlit.org) and collections of books, including an autographed copy
– Separated into Level 1 (K-2nd), Level 2 (3rd-5th), Level 3 (6th-8th), Level 4 (9th-12th)

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From Pixelhose, the Fiction and Non-Fiction Writing Contest
– Maximum 5,000 words
– Deadline December 7th
– Any genre. No pornographic theme, hate speech, or rants
– 1st prize $300, 2nd prize $150, 3rd prize $50
– Previously published work accepted; winners in each category selected by Pixelhose readers’ vote and editorial staff

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From The Worlds of William Ledbetter, the 2012 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest
– Maximum 8,000 words
– Deadline February 1st, 2012
– Short story “that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration”
– Grand prize – publication on Baen Books website at professional payment rate, plus other prizes
– 2nd and 3rd place – year’s membership in National Space Society and prize package
– All winners will be honored at 2012 International Space Development Conference (2011 site)

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Enjoy, folks. Please let me know if you notice misinformation or dead/misleading links, and I’ll fix it immediately.

7 Halloween-Themed Writing Opportunities

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Today’s theme is … wait for it … Halloween! What else, right? Yes, still a month away, but most of these deadlines are in a few short weeks or less, so let’s get to it.

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For horror writers (and readers): Nightmare Fuel is a horror-themed just-for-fun writing project put together by Bliss Morgan, a Google Plusser in my Writers circle. It’s only for the month of October, so sign up fast if this sounds like something you might be interested in. She’s looking for writers and ‘muses’ to contribute images, but she also welcomes Plussers who just want to see the images and read what the writers have come up with. If nothing else, sign up just for the writing prompts – there may be something in there that sparks your next project! (Note: Just signed up. The first image is truly horror-ific – definitely sparking some ideas. She doesn’t have a website set up for this; it’s just a Google+ project. Scroll through her ‘posts’ page to find the prompts.)

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From Evil Jester Press, a call for submissions with a very cool horror theme: Attic Toys
– 1000-5000 words
– Deadline Halloween (October 31st)
– Horror, fantasy, bizarro, or combination of
– Payment: 1 cent per word + 1 contributor’s copy

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Halloween-themed writing contests:

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JUST FOR KIDS (K-12): From Anderson Independent Mail, the 20th annual Independent Mail Halloween Writing Contest
– Maximum 500 words
– Deadline October 14th (5pm)
– Must use the prompt here, but it doesn’t count toward word limit
– Judging split up into five age groups. For each age group, first place receives a $25 Books-a-Million gift card, second place a $15 B-a-M GC, third place a $10 B-a-M GC

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From The Carnage Conservatory, the Crimson Skull Short Story Contest
– 1000-4000 words
– Deadline October 15th
– Must be Halloween-themed, the bloodier the better (Carnage Conservatory guidelines apply, so check website)
– Winner will receive a $30 Amazon gift card and $10 gift certificate
– Runners up will be featured on CC site with promotion of blog or website

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From Sofia Day’s Pen, the October 2011 Halloween Writing Contest
– Maximum 1500 words
– Deadline October 16th (midnight)
– Story or poem related to Halloween
– Must join blog to enter, and fans will vote the winner
– 1st place will receive $50 Amazon gift card, 2nd place $10 Amazon GC, 3rd place $5 AGC

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From Read Write Watch, the 1st Annual Halloween Flash Fiction Contest
– 500-1000 words
– Deadline October 21st at 12:01 am (so October 20th at midnight?)
– Related to Halloween
– Must respond to declaration of win within 48 hours (or win defaults to runner up)
– Winner receives $10 Amazon card, DVD version of Trick r Treat, and winner recognition and link back to blog

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From the home page for Saugus, Massachusetts (the page reports that while the contest started out on a small scale, winners can now expect to have their stories read by hundreds of thousands), the 14th annual Ghost Story Contest (you can find this year’s rules here)
– Maximum is “two dozen typewritten pages”
– Deadline October 22nd (earlier submissions have an advantage)
– Specify your category – adult (or high school, middle school, or elementary — good parent-child Halloween writing project) and name of your school or college if you attend
– You can enter more than one story
– Winners receive t-shirts

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I looove Halloween-themed contests (must be the horror-movie-loving child in me) so let me know if you decide to enter one of the above, and especially if you win! I haven’t decided if I’m going to enter one (or more!) myself yet. I’ll keep you guys posted. In the meantime, best of luck with all of your Halloween writing endeavors.

♫ Oh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’ll be much trick-or-treating and masks will be glowing and ghoulies be near… Yeah, it’s the most wonderful time of the year… ♫