Le me be frank, the prizes on offer in the Willesden Herald short story competition won’t raise your blood pressure.
1st prize is a one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “The Willesden Short Story Prize 2016” and a bottle of champagne.
All ten short-listed stories will be included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9 anthology
Two copies of the anthology to each of the ten authors.
After the first 150 entries is reached (and the organisors admit that it might not be) all subsequent entry fees less expenses will go into a prize fund to be divided equally among the ten authors.
Because this competition has a good reputation and launched a number of excellant short story writers in the past. Because the word limit is a very generous 7500 words.* I can’t think of another short story competition that allows writers to be so expansive. If you are tired of shoe-horning a story into the typical 2,000 word box this competition might suddenly have become more attractive. Because the maximum word count says nothing about what the judges would like to see:“We don’t prefer longer stories and we don’t prefer shorter stories. How long should it be? As long as it’s a story.” Because winners and runners-up in previous Willesden Herald short story competitions are excluded to give new writers more of a chance.
Submissions opened at the weekend and the deadline is 31 August 2016. The results will be announced on 31 October 2016. That may seem like a long way away and maybe it is in real time, but not in writing time when whole weeks can be swallowed up in thinking. Mark the deadline on calendars now but bring it forward by a month: that way you have enough time to write and enough time to revise and seek feedback from other writers.
All the rules are HERE. Follow each one faithfully.
* Word counts. 7500 words probably isn’t a very commercial length – I’d say there are a lot more publishing opportunities for stories that are between 1000 and 2000 words long.
However, stories don’t like being squashed or stretched and most seems to have their own ‘right’ length which it doesn’t do any good to ignore it.
My advice is write for the idea not for a potential market. And 7500 is a very good length for inclusion into a short story collection. I’m not just thinking about the WH’s anthology of winning entries. I am also thinking about the collection you might bring out yourself one day….