Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Short stories hit the big time

This post is going to sound like a complaint. But it isn't really.

I've had the Manchester Fiction Prize on my radar - and in my competition database (because, yes, I'm a geek and I have one of those) - almost since it began. I really want to enter it.

But there's something stopping me.

The prize money.

Over the past few years, short stories have become a big thing, and the renowned competitions are getting bigger. I remember the Bridport Prize when the prize money was £1000, and it's now £5000. The Manchester Fiction Prize is £10,000... and the BBC National Short Story Award is £15,000 - although you do have to have a prior record of publication in the UK.

So now here's the complaint that's not a complaint really...

How can my 2500 word short story be worth £10,000? How can any story be worth that much?

Because that's the word count limit. I've got a pool of stories that I can delve into to rewrite for this competition, I've got chapters of an unpublished novel that might work too. I've even got some new ideas! But... but... are they worth TEN THOUSAND POUNDS?

I don't know. I'd like to think they are, but is every the, but, and and said in my story really worth £4?

So I haven't entered yet. I thought this year would be different, but then I look through the stories and ideas I've got, and I'm not so sure. On the other hand, someone has to win...


28 comments:

  1. Go for it! Each story is a gem. There's no putting a price on them. :)

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    1. But the problem with competitions of this magnitude is there's a huge price on it!

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  2. What Christine said - don't question, just enter!

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    1. I wouldn't be a tormented writer if I didn't question, Alex :-)

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  3. Do it! Don't over think it. Just think about how awesome it would be if you win!

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    1. To win a competition like that would be unbelievable - a huge boost for my writing, that's for sure.

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  4. I would agree with all, just go for it. Don't think too much, revise your best story and enter the competition.

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    1. Every story I attempt to revise seems so rubbish compared to the previous winners.

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  5. don't question your worth. Why should someone else win? Your stories are great and they are priceless. Go for it!!! You are over thinking. Send in a winner

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  6. YOU GO FOR IT!!! Heck, a song can pull in billions of dollars and they are super short. I will venture to say the short stuff can be harder than the long stuff because you have less words and less time to bring characters and stories to life. Get off the net and go enter NOW!!!

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    1. Shorter can be harder for some people, but I find it easy. It's those pesky full length novels I struggle with!

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  7. There is no reason you can't win. Your stories are really great and I think you should do it. Your story is definitely worth it and you are a great writer.

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    1. The higher the prize money, the more people enter... unfortunately.

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  8. Definitely do it. You're such a fantastic writer that it would be a serious shame not to enter.

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    1. I'll try, Sandra, I'll definitely try :-)

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  10. Annalisa, go for it! Never feel guilty about entering your incredible work for a nice chunk of change. Heck, just think of all of the hard work, time, and dedication it took you to get this far! As authors, we are not paid by the hour. So if our creativity and musings can be rewarded by the universe, I mean, contest managers, then do it! Do it! Do it!!! Best of luck and I'm looking forward to your book, Our Beautiful Child. I'm putting it on my Kindle now so I don't forget and will be reading it over the summer=)

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    1. Oh, it would be far too depressing to work out a wage per hour, wouldn't it?

      Thanks for downloading Our Beautiful Child, I hope you enjoy it :-)

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  11. Go for it! Go for it! And go for it! Send in what you're most proud of, and let the judges decide what's worthy of the 10K win.

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    1. Sometimes I enter competitions just because I admire the judge.

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  12. I say if they are willing to part with such a huge amount, why not submit for it? :) That would be such an awesome prize!

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  13. I have never entered a writing competition but WOW that is a lot of money for a short story! I don't know I think I would have some questions. What is involved? What are the obligations should you win? That much money for a short story sounds almost too good to be true doesn't it?

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    1. You have to turn up at the presentation and take part in promotion etc. But it's affiliated to a huge university, so it's completely legitimate. I just question whether I'm good enough for the prize. I have inferiority issues instead :-)

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  14. Hi Annalisa - everyone has to win ... and if you do - that'd be great and really push you forward .. I think I might write for £4 a word ... this comment is worth over £100!!! Cheers Hilary

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Please comment - I love a good chat!