Showing category "Competitions" (Show all posts)

A New Crop of Opportunities

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, September 4, 2017, In : Competitions 
September. Can you believe it? The summer's gone, the children are heading back to school, and the holidays are over. Before the gloom sets in, this means that many of the magazines that were closed to submissions over the summer are now open again. Theatres that were dark are now launching their autumn seasons too. Even places that hadn't closed tended to be short-staffed, but now they'll be getting up to speed again.
    Any work that's been languishing in slush piles might now get read, and...
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Genre Snobbery

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Friday, May 12, 2017, In : Competitions 
Is there anything worse than getting a critique from a competition judge who didn't like your story? Mostly, I appreciate feedback, even if I don't agree with it, because it makes me look at my work with fresh eyes, and maybe consider things that hadn't occurred to me before. However, I once had my entry to what purported to be an open competition with no theme or restrictions on style or subject, returned with the comment that "I used to like fantasy stories in my teens, but then I decided t...
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Get Ready

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, December 19, 2016, In : Competitions 
With everyone winding down their day job and racing around preparing for the season's madness, is it really worth thinking about writing? If you want to be in with a chance of winning any of the many free-to-enter competitions that have closing dates coming up–yes! Here are a few to consider.

* The 14th Binnacle Ultra-short competition for up to 150 words of prose or 16 lines of poetry on any subject that takes your fancy. Closing date: 15th March 2017. Details at http://www.umm.maine/edu/bi...
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Proms Poetry Contest

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Friday, August 12, 2016, In : Competitions 
There's still just time to enter the BBC's contest for a poem of up to 25 lines inspired by your response to a piece of music included in this year's Proms concerts. The closing date is 14th August. There's no cash prize, but the winning poem will be read on air and the winner will be invited to one of the concerts. Details are on the BBC's website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/features/poetry-competition.
    There should be plenty of food for ideas in the concerts. Music calms or excites, com...
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Adapt and Overcome

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, In : Competitions 
Last time, I wrote that I would celebrate the anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth and death by writing a sonnet inspired in some way by the Bard. Rash promise! Once again, real life intervened, and I've spent much of the last few weeks sitting beside my elderly mother's hospital bed. She's slept through most of it and she isn't in any imminent danger, apart from being old, so I found myself with nothing to do. The time wasn't wasted, however. I don't feel able to concentrate properly o...
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A Tempting Assortment

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, In : Competitions 
I treated myself yesterday. I showed no self-restraint at all. I binged on mini-stories in the Binnacle 12th Annual Ultra-short Edition 2015. My intention was to eke them out, to save them as a little pick-me-up whenever I needed something more substantial than a tweet but not demanding the time commitment of a short story.
    Of course, I was curious to read the winning entries and find out how 'Harvest-time', my Editor's Pick entry, measured up, but I already knew from previous years that t...
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Scandinavian at Heart

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, January 3, 2016, In : Competitions 
Happy New Year! Welcome to my first blog of 2016.
    One of my favourite television dramas in the run-up to Christmas was series three of The Bridge. Everything about it was excellent–the performances, the lighting, and particularly the script, which was full of twists and turns that kept the viewers guessing, and taut dialogue. No doubt the writing was top notch in this and other Scandinavian crime novels and series, but does this alone account for the explosion in their popularity? Do all...
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Free Competitions

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, December 20, 2015, In : Competitions 
It's been a while since I took a look around the new markets and free competitions, so it's high time I did a round-up. What follows is a mixed bag of creative non-fiction, travel writing, plays, novels and themed science fiction. Check out all of them, because even if a genre isn't normally your thing, you might just find something that sparks your creative instincts and gives your brain a work-out while you're digesting the Christmas dinner. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

* If you'...
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Opportunities

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, May 25, 2015, In : Competitions 
It's all very well me banging on about the imminent publication of Discord's Apprentice on 1st June (available for pre-order from Smashwords and Amazon), but I don't want to neglect the writers who visit here, who will obviously be more interested in their own work. Here are a few opportunities that might suit you.
    Writing Short Fiction publishes stories by both champion and debut authors. There's no payment, but the exposure can't hurt, and there are lots of hints and tips to help build y...
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Playing with Words

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, March 8, 2015, In : Competitions 
I was recently sent a copy of Acumen, and I've been dipping into it whenever I've had a free moment this week. It's a literary journal containing mostly poetry and fairly scholarly interviews and reviews. The poetic forms and the content match, following a loose, freer style that fits modern themes. Some of the poems are in a light vein and some cover eternal subjects, but in the issue I've seen there were no traditional forms or classical subjects. Nonetheless, the poems were written with di...
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All Spruced Up Alfie Dog Fiction

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, In : Competitions 
There are at least two 'A's in my alphabet. The first is Alfie Dog Fiction, which has had a thorough makeover. The site has hundreds of short stories available for download, mostly priced 39p. It's now a lot clearer and easier to use, both for readers and authors.
    You can find stories either by category or by author name, and I'm glad to report that mine is now listed under 'K' again. (For a while it had gone off to sulk with a few other 'K's and 'J's at the end). The new version of 'Your...
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Free Competitions

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, January 18, 2015, In : Competitions 
I've been writing a short story, which seemed simple enough before I started. I'd got the beginning, middle and end, and I'd even jotted down parts of a couple of scenes. Yet as I scribbled away, it began to wriggle around. Would the story be better set in the past or the present day? Should I aim it at youngsters or adults? After a couple of false starts and much crossing out, I finally reached the end only to discover that the story isn't about what I thought it was at the outset at all. Ne...
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Blind Luck

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, November 16, 2014, In : Competitions 
You never can be sure what the consequences of submitting work to a publication or entering a competition might be. It might seem straightforward: your work is either accepted, or it's rejected. However, even when the editors or judges don't select your submission/entry you might still end up a winner.
    After my story, 'Salvage', appeared in Daily SF, Paul Coles of Beam Me Up Podcast asked if he could broadcast it. Of course, I grabbed the offer, and I'm privileged now to have had dramatis...
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Talking to Myself

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, October 6, 2014, In : Competitions 
Sometimes life is strange. I've had the privilege of being interviewed several times lately. They've all been internet interviews. Okay, so the Alfie Dog ones were questionnaires and by no means exclusive to me, but it's the same principle. The questions were emailed to me, so I had time to consider my replies. Not only did I have a chance to try to come up with interesting answers, but I had the opportunity to review what I put. Hopefully, I haven't said anything that might come back to haun...
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Four Legs Good

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, In : Competitions 
The good news this week, is that my entry was a runner-up in the Haynet and Lavender & White Equestrian Short Story competition. 'Horse Sense' is about a man who tries to reignite the spark in his marriage by taking his wife on holiday in a horse-drawn caravan. When things go wrong, it takes horse sense to save the day. All the runners-up will be published on the organiser's site at http://www.hay-net.co.uk in the near future, and you can already enjoy the winner, 'Be Careful What you Wish Fo...
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Bits and Bobs

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, June 23, 2014, In : Competitions 
In my search for free to enter competitions, I came across The World's Best Birthday Ideas competition for humorous birthday verses. The closing date isn't until 30th June 2014, so there's still time to enter. I did, and you can read my effort at http://www.great-happy-birthday-ideas.com/made-it.html.
    On another subject, my efforts to write in another language have gone off at a tangent. One language doesn't translate exactly to another. If language is an extension of the way people think,...
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Important Omissions

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : Competitions 
Recently, I gave links to a few free competitions, but there was one I forgot to mention: Spinetinglers. I was reminded of this in the nicest way possible–by winning! My SF story, 'No Good Deed', is already on their website at http://www.spinetinglers.co.uk and is due to appear in their print anthology. Don't worry that my omission means that you've missed your chance to enter, as Spintinglers runs a short story competition every month with prizes of £100 for first, £50 for second and thr...
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Stop Struggling

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, May 12, 2014, In : Competitions 
There are many writing competitions around and it would be great to enter them all, but apart from the difficulty of coming up with work of a high enough standard, all those entry fees add up. Sadly, not all prizes reflect the amount of the entry fee either. Sometimes the only prize offered is publication, which is great if all you want is the exposure, but most writers need to earn to eat. Entrants are also, in effect, paying to be published. They might be better off self-publishing on Kindl...
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Take Two

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, In : Competitions 
One of the great things about being a writer is that sometimes work you did a long time ago rewards you out of the blue. This week I had a request to publish my story, 'Blind Alleys', from the organisers of the Yeovil Literary Prize. It was commended in the 2012 competition, and I had thought that was that. Now, I have publication in an anthology to look forward to in the autumn. It will bring together the winners and commended entries in the short story and poetry sections of the competition...
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Short and Sweet

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, In : Competitions 
The chocolates might all have been eaten and the decorations have gone back in their box, but I've still been enjoying plenty of sparkle and the sweet taste of success. That's because I've received The Binnacle Ultra-shorts 10th Edition. Not only is it exciting to read my work in it, but there are 56 other works to enjoy.
My favourites are 'Hoopty Time Machine' by Christopher DeWan, which one the prize for best prose, and 'In the Parking Lot' by Wayne Scheer. Despite the 150 words restriction...
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A Question of Vanity

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, October 6, 2013, In : Competitions 
In the past couple of weeks I've had news of a few successes. I've had a poem short-listed in a competition (the final winner is yet to be decided) and a short story short-listed in another. A poem has been commended in the Thynks competition and another has been long-listed in a fourth competition. Okay, none of them are actually in the prizes (yet), but it's still something to be pleased about, isn't it? The fact is, the organisers of the latter competition offered me an extra opportunity, ...
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Game, Set and Match

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Saturday, July 6, 2013, In : Competitions 
What do tennis players and writers have in common? Not much, you might think, but having (mis)spent a lot of the past two weeks watching Wimbledon, I've come to the conclusion that writers could learn a lot from them.
When you submit your work to a publication or competition, you can try to do some research about what might succeed, just as a tennis player might try to work out their opponent's strengths and weaknesses by watching their previous matches. Ultimately, however, editors and compe...
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Facing Facts

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, June 30, 2013, In : Competitions 
I really hate doing it, but I've just had to withdraw one of my stories from an anthology. It was highly commended in a competition and the organisers asked me in 2011 if they could print it in a winners' anthology in the near future. Of course, I jumped at the chance and sent the bio they asked for straight away. After around a year I contacted them to find out what was happening, and was assured that the anthology had been delayed in order to include the 2012 winners, but that it would be p...
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Always a Bridesmaid?

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Competitions 
How hard it must be for Olympic athletes to get all the way to the final only to be pipped at the post by less than a nose! There are no prizes for coming fourth, so all the training, self-discipline and (possibly) neglect of loved ones have been for nothing. On another day, they might have left the blocks a fraction faster or felt fresher, their competitors might not have been as focussed or have eaten one too many Shredded Wheat. Another day they might have won–they were so close. It can ...
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Yes!

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, January 13, 2013, In : Competitions 
You can wait ages for work to get from acceptance to publication then, like buses, several come out at once.  This week I received the latest wonderful edition of The Binnacle Ultra-Short.  Included are the winning prose, poetry and humorous entries in the annual competition along with a host of pieces receiving honourable mentions, including one of mine, 'Plucked from Obscurity'.  The edition is in paperback form, plus a box with each work on a separate business-sized card, which you can mix...
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Competition News

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, August 13, 2012, In : Competitions 
My fingers are still crossed for the competitions in which my work is shortlisted, but I've had news of another competition.
Earlier this year, one of my poems, 'Masters of the Air', came fifth in the Mary Charman-Smith competition, and another, 'DNA', was shortlisted.  The good news is that Mary Charman-Smith is holding another competition for unpublished poetry up to a maximum of 45 lines excluding the title.  The closing date is 15th November 2012, so there's plenty of time to send in your...
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Poets Prepare!

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Monday, August 6, 2012, In : Competitions 
If there are a few typos in this post, it's probably because I'm trying to write it with my fingers crossed.  I have three entries short-listed in separate competitions, and I'm on tenterhooks waiting for the results.  Of course, none of them might progress further, but if Andy Murray can win a gold medal, then anything's possible.  (Go Andy!)  If they don't, being short-listed is no dishonour, and at least I've taken part.
Last year, I entered the Salopian Poetry Society's annual open compet...
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Lightning Strikes Twice

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, July 1, 2012, In : Competitions 
I was thrilled this week to learn that my mini-story, 'Plucked from Obscurity', has been chosen for inclusion in the Best of The Binnacle's Ultra-Short Competition 2012 anthology. The annual competition calls for submissions of prose or poetry up to 150 words. There were around 825 entries this year, so I feel honoured to have made it to the anthology, especially as the form of the publication is so innovative.
One of my pieces, 'The Case of the Geometric Pattern', appeared in the seventh com...
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The Fruits of Success

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, In : Competitions 
June has been encouraging so far. My story, 'The Adult Prodigy', has been accepted for Nameless magazine; I've had the proofs of 'Heavy Air' for the Bridge House anthology, so that should be out soon; one of my poems, 'Masters of the Air', came fifth in Mary Charman-Smith's competition and another, 'DNA', was shortlisted. I say all this not just to show off, but because it reminded me that sometimes competitions have prize-giving events, and while these are fun, they can also be nerve-wrackin...
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No Contest

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, May 6, 2012, In : Competitions 
I had to cancel my cover competition.  The last minute rush I had hoped for never materialised, and without entries there is no contest.  It was really disappointing.  I'd expended a lot of time, effort and money promoting it only to receive less than a handful of entries.  In fact, I received a better response to my post on a Kindle forum announcing the flop.  Initially, I was inclined to think it was a total waste, but I'm beginning to see there are things I can learn from it.
My advice to ...
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Cover Contest

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, In : Competitions 
The first entries in my contest to find a new cover for Discord's Child are beginning to come in.  For those of you creative people who haven't started work on it yet, there's still time.  The closing date is 30th April and the full details are here.  You could win £20, so get designing! 
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Deadline Extended

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Friday, January 27, 2012, In : Competitions 
It's been suggested to me that people might like a little more time to perfect their entries to the contest to design a cover for Discord's Child (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006KRYYOK), so I've extended the closing date to 30th April 2012.  With all that extra time, why not enter twice?  After all, it's free!  You'll find all the details here.
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Cover Contest Arrives

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Thursday, January 19, 2012, In : Competitions 
I know it's a little late but - happy New Year! To start 2012 off with a bang, here at last is news of my contest to find the perfect cover for my new fantasy novel, Discord's Child (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006KRYYOK). Entrance is free, and you could win £20, plus a copy of the novel and the satisfaction of seeing your work published. All the details can be found on my website at www.ksdearsley.com. The closing date is 31st March 2012, so get designing. I can't wait to see what you come up...
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Bad News, Good News

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, November 13, 2011, In : Competitions 
Last week I discovered that Drollerie Press, which was due to publish my fantasy novel, Discord's Child, has closed. Ouch! I can't deny it was a blow, but in the best Pollyanna fashion, I'm determined to turn this setback into an opportunity.  How? By publishing Discord's Child myself online.  
I've already registered at https.kdp.amazon.com, now all I have to do is format everything, get my marketing plan in order and upload it - oh, and find a cover.  There are lots of sites recommended for...
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Good News

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Tuesday, November 1, 2011, In : Competitions 
I've had two pieces of good news in one week.  Bridge House Press has accepted my story, 'Heavy Air' for its science fiction anthology due out in March 2012, and my entry in the Brighton Cow competition, The Architecture of Hate' has been short-listed and selected for broadcast on Brighton hospital radio.  As good things are supposed to come in threes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Good News

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, In : Competitions 
Even in the most frustrating weeks there are things to savour.  Last week it was winning the Slingink Shorts 2011 competition.  The anthology will be titled after my entry, 'Communication' and it will also contain my two other entries, 'Still' and 'Combat'.  Of course, there'll be lots more to read in it too.  I'll post the details as soon as I get them, or you can read the top three entries online at www.slingink.com.
The competition's run annually for mini stories of 140 words plus a one wo...
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Try, Try Again

Posted by K. S. Dearsley on Sunday, March 27, 2011, In : Competitions 
Good news!  One of my poems has been selected for the Norwich Writers' Circle competition anthology, which goes to show that if you send a story or poem off to a competition and it doesn't win, it isn't the end of the world.  Only one entry can win, after all, and that doesn't mean that the rest of them are rubbish.
    If the judges offer any comments, go over your work again, bearing them in mind, and make any changes you feel are appropriate, then select another competition and send it out ...
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About Me


My writing career began as a freelance feature writer for the local press, businesses and organisations. Now a prize-winning playwright and short story writer, my work has appeared in numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic. I write as K. S. Dearsley because it saves having to keep repeating my forename, and specialise in fantasy and other speculative genres.

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