Get Your Fiction On!

Short story contest

Hi, Kelly Eden here from Medium.

I have exciting news! This week, entries opened for Twist and Twain’s short story contest.

I’ve been asked to be on the judging panel and I can’t wait to read entries from around the world—including yours I hope!

Short story contests push your writing. Even if you’re a non-fiction writer like me, I would encourage you to give it a go.

Short fiction is close to my heart as it’s how I got started in my writing career.

I entered and won a local contest with a $500 prize, which was a nice bonus. At the prize ceremony I was asked to do a live reading.

I’m normally very shy in front of a crowd (like hide in the toilets until it’s over kind of shy) but it was one of the best experiences of my life.

As I read my story, the audience laughed, “ooo”-ed and “ahh”-ed in all the right places. I’d never heard a live reaction to my work and it was an incredible feeling.

I then entered a national short story contest and won a year long mentorship with an international author. I decided not to finish the novel I worked on during that time, but it helped me find the confidence and skills to launch my freelance career.

How to Get Your Story Ready

Read up a few of the past award winners. Find some short stories online.

Here’s one of my winning ones:

A Walk to the Shops

Read and then start exploring ideas.

Short stories require a lot of rewriting. Write your first draft as quickly and freely as you can and then go back and perfect it.

  • Cut, cut, and then cut again. Think, “Can I use a better word here?” “Is there a punchier way to say this?”

  • If there is action, shorten your sentences for impact.

  • SHOW your reader the action. What music is playing in the background? What can they see, feel, hear, taste? Put us in the scene with you. Let it play out to us like a movie.

  • Add dialogue. Heck, write the whole thing in dialogue if you want to.

  • Think of the dark and light areas of your story—the tone needs to shift. It can’t be all light and fluffy—your protagonist needs some kind of conflict. Inner conflict? Something that looks like it will stop them reaching their goal? Something that troubles them? It can be small.

Leave your story for a few days and then edit again. This is what you learn from short stories—the art of editing and precision.

Details:

The deadline is 15 August. There is an entry fee of $9 and you can enter up to 5 stories.

Here’s the submission page and more specifics: Twist & Twain Short story contest

I look forward to reading your work!