I wanted to share with you a few awesome contests I've discovered online for writers. Check them out and give it a shot! I'm always a little hesitant about them but I think they can provide a wonderful jumping off point for a new story and they often give you some perspective on your writing.
1. Nathan Bransford's Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge: You probably already know about Nathan's blog. He's a lit agent, who blogs extensively about writing and publishing.
How To Enter:: Submit the first paragraph from any WIP you're working on. Choose wisely because you can only submit ONE. Be sure to put your paragraph in the comments section of the post I linked to because that's the only way your entry will count.
The Prize: The grand prize winner gets her choice of a partial critique, query critique, or phone consultation, a galley of THE SECRET YEAR, and a SECRET YEAR bookmark. The finalists win a query critique and bookmark. Pretty awesome, right!? Any writer should read through the entries whether you participate or not. It's incredibly interesting to see what other writers are working on as well as what entries catch your attention and which don't. This contest is a win for everyone. What are you waiting for? Go enter right now!
Deadline: Thursday (tomorrow) 4 PM pacific time.
2. Stuart Neville's Twitfic Contest: This is a fun contest meant to help promote Neville's debut novel THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST. I'm partial to this contest for a couple reasons: one, it's short and fun. I'm not one for brevity so this challenge intrigues me. If nothing else it's a great writing exercise. Two, Neville was a frequenter on many of the same blogs I follow (such as Editorial Ass) before getting published and so I'd like to help him promote his much-buzzed-about debut if I can. It's good to help out new authors!
How to Enter: Tweet your scariest, funniest ghost story in 124 CHARACTERS OR LESS. Remember to include the hash tag #GhostsOfBelfast or your entry won't be seen.
The Prize: (Taken from Neville's blog) "I will choose ten finalists. Each of those tweets will be re-tweeted by me and the good folks at Soho Press (or linked to a special page on my website if they're too long). The finalists will then be put to the vote on via Twitter, and the top five will each win a signed copy of THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, as well as be featured on the home pages of StuartNeville.com and GhostsOfBelfast.com. What's more, whoever gets the most votes of all wins one of the last remaining copies of THE SIX, my limited edition signed and numbered short story collection - only fifty of these will ever be printed!
Deadline: BEFORE Midnight, October 31st
3. 2010 Bakeless Literary Publication Prize: This contest is sponsored by the well known Bread Loaf Writers' Conference of Middlebury College. The contest is for new authors of *literary* works in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. (Needless to say I won't be submitting my work to this contest since faeries are not considered literary. humph!) This contest has a LOT of information so if you're interested, I think it would be best to learn more about the contest directly from the link I've provided.
How to Enter: The Bakeless Prizes require that poetry manuscripts contain at least 50 pages of text; fiction, which includes novels and short-fiction collections, 150-450; creative nonfiction, 150-300. NO genre fiction is accepted. Details for how to send your manuscript can be found on the site.
The Prize: Winners of the Bakeless Prizes will have their book-length manuscripts published by Graywolf Press!! In addition to the publication prize each winner will be awarded a fellowship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.
Deadline: November 1st
4. Writer's Digest: Instead of picking just one contest, I thought I'd direct you to the WD contest page, where you can select the contests that best suit your schedule and writing style. You have to pay to enter these contests but WD is a legit writing publication. Check out the list of contests at the link above. At the very least, one of them might give you a good idea for a story or writing exercise, and that's always a good thing.