Issue #90

Free Writers' Newsletter

Sep 26, 2010  



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Poetry competition deadline delayed

With the deadline for's Ninth International Poetry Competition fast approaching (October 1, 2010), has announced a last-minute delay to allow for final entries to be submitted. If you haven't yet entered your poems for your chance to win £500 (that's over $750) plus a free licence for WhiteSmoke 2010+ (worth $99.95) you can enter online now in seconds by going to  

As well as the £500 first prize there are prizes of $150 for the best US runner-up, and £100 for the best runner-up from the UK. All winners and ten special commendations will also receive vouchers worth $36 / £24, which can be used to take out an annual subscription to for free, giving full access to our database of over 850 literary agencies, over 1,300 magazines, over 1,300 publishers, and over 200 constantly-changing competitions (you can start enjoying all these benefits now by clicking here). Writing Contests - Click Here

Short story contest winners and new issue of magazine

This month, has announced the winner and special commendations of its Sixth International Short Story Contest, as well as releasing Issue 17 of firstwriter.magazine, To Coin a Phrase

Douglas Bruton of West Linton, United Kingdom, was announced as the winner of the competition for his short story "Barken, Mad Sometimes", and wins £200. The winning story can be read online at

The story will also be published in a future issue of firstwriter.magazine, and the winner will also receive a voucher worth £24 / $36 – as will the ten Special Commendations:

  • Ann Mullen-Martin, United States, "Love Doesn't Stop at the Grave";
  • Tonya Mitchell, United States, "Glimmer";
  • Mark Frankel, United Kingdom, "When the wind blows . . .";
  • Joanne Weck, United States, "Lost Sister";
  • Anne Skelly, Ireland, "The Lonely Orbit";
  • Joshuah Pursley, United States, "Hiding Hussien";
  • Stephen Lundy, United States, "Open Your Eyes";
  • Warren Paul Glover, United Kingdom, "Escaping to Venus";
  • Michael Richardson, United Kingdom, "Frank Buckley";
  • Roger Jones, United Kingdom, "The Cook's Tale".

The Sixth International Short Story Contest is currently underway. To submit your work for the chance of winning £200 (that's around $300) click here

Why do you write?
By Marcella Simmons

I must have written a hundred articles on "why I write" so I won't attempt another article of this nature – this one is about you. Why do you write?

There are so many different reasons why we write: for business, for pleasure, to see our name in print or just because we have little else to do but scribble in a diary or journal or write poetry – whatever it is we're
doing, at least we're writing.

Let's assume that you are writing to become published, and go from there. Where and how do you start? What do you write and how do you submit your manuscript to publishers? Who will you send it to? Will it be accepted or rejected? When do you submit? How will you react if it is rejected? What do you do with a piece that an editor rejects but suggests advice on a rewrite? Do you need an agent? These are legitimate questions that need a legitimate answer. 

1) First, you need something to write about. You can wait for an assignment from an editor or better yet, you can browse several back issues of a particular magazine that interests you – read articles that you are
interested in writing about or if you have an idea of an article or story that might be of interest to the editor and readers of a magazine, start with that. Do the necessary research on the publication of interest – request writers guidelines and get a feel of the interests and needs of that particular publication. That way, you'll know exactly how to slant (or how to write) your article or story.

2) Once you have done the initial marketing research above, and know what it is that you need to write, get busy. Lay it aside for a few days, revise and edit it. When you feel that it is ready to be submitted, follow the guideline submission rules, and submit it. The internet has afforded us such a luxury these days that it might be easier to email it. But be sure of what the writers guidelines says about internet submissions. 

3) There is no way of knowing that a piece will be accepted or rejected but you will never know if you don't submit your work to the editor. Give it at least 6 to 8 weeks before contacting the editor about your piece if you do not hear from them during that time.

4) If you receive a letter from an editor accepting your work, congratulations! Enjoy the ride! If they request a rewrite, it will be up to you to do the work required and again, you must wait for their response once
you resubmit your rewrite. 

If it is then accepted for publication, again, congratulations. 

If not, the best thing to do is keep trying until you get it right. Put the piece away for a while until you feel that you can come back and edit and rewrite it with a different perspective. Sometimes we writers think our work is perfect and can't see it in any other way. If you let it set a while, you'll be able to see it in a different light. Then is the time to rewrite and resubmit it.

In the meantime while that piece is cooling off, keep writing – having something simmering on the back burner will always keep you well stocked or "well fed". I remember back in the day when my grandmother use to simmer beans on the stove all day long. We'd nibble around on food all day but when it came suppertime, we had a feast of beans and rice or whatever it happened to be simmering on the back burner. Though we were poor, we always had a pot of delicious food cooked for us each day. The same applies to writing – keep working on different writing projects between submitting and waiting for an answer. You will always have a stock pile of submissions and possible acceptances.

5) You do not necessarily need an agent to get started in writing. I never had one. But I do not have a book published yet so I will not answer that until that day comes. But in the beginning of my writing career years ago, I never had an agent, and still don't today. It really depends on what you write. The choice is yours. 

Now that you have a clear idea of why you write, get busy – stock up the stories and articles and get those pots on the back burner simmerin'!

Start writing!

About the author
Simmons is the leader of the Ark-La-Tex Writer's Circle in Logansport ( She recently started a website to attract travel writers called The Sisterhood of Traveling Writers
( Travel writers are encouraged to stop by! Simmons is also an active member in the Shreveport Writers Club ( 

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"Inspired by science" – new screenwriters' competition launches

The London Screenwriters' Festival has announced the launch of the "Inspired by Science" Treatment Award, a new competition for TV and film screenwriters in association with the Wellcome Trust.

The competition is aimed at encouraging the development of film or TV drama, which engages the audience with issues around biomedical science, in an innovative, entertaining and accessible way.

"Writers have an amazing ability to bring ideas, thoughts and knowledge to life in a way that's exciting and entertaining as well as being informative," explains David Chamberlain, Manager of the London Screenwriters' Festival. "This new award recognises their talent and encourages them to look to biomedicine as a source for fresh, exciting and distinctive ideas."

"Biomedicine offers an embarrassment of riches in terms of inspiration for screenwriters," says Daniel Glaser, Head of Special Projects at the Wellcome Trust. "We look forward to building links between the winning screenwriter and experts in fields as diverse as global pandemics, the ethics of genetics and consciousness and the human brain." 

The award will enable a drama idea to be developed into a high impact, well-researched proposal – known in the business as a "treatment" – to be utilised in securing further development.

The winner of the award will be announced at the inaugural London Screenwriters Festival, sponsored by The winning writer will receive £5,000 and will be assisted over a period of six months by the Wellcome Trust Broadcast team in developing their proposal. They will be given access to some of the UK's leading scientists to aid their research and fulfil the promise of their best ideas.

Ten shortlisted finalists will each receive complimentary invitations to the Festival, which runs from October 29–31, 2010.

The deadline for entries is midday on October 15, 2010. Application forms can be found on the website for the London Screenwriters' Festival. 

fwn readers can enjoy a £37 discount on the price of passes to the festival by clicking here and entering the code "firstwriter". 

For over 200 other competitions, click here.

New poetry magazine requires submissions

Kaffeeklatsch is a new poetry magazine looking for verse that shows a certain inventiveness with language. They are open to poetry in many forms and guises, though perhaps showing a certain tendency toward the more experimental side of things.

The magazine will be a print mag and the publishers are hoping to split any profits evenly amongst the contributors, who will also receive a free copy. Submissions can be sent by email to, or by post to:

38 Palatine Road, Flat 1
M20 3JL

For details of over 500 other poetry magazines, click here

Click here for great value writing classes!

Competition to see your short story become an App

Scheduled for release early in 2011 is "Travellers Friend", a new Short story and Puzzle App created by the team at M-Y Books Exclusively for the Apple Ipad. The App will feature interactive puzzles, travel information, and short stories. Paid for solely by advertising from some of the biggest names in travel the App (interactive Ebook) is expected to be downloaded thousands of times in the first 3 months alone.

M-Y Books is holding a competition for writers to enter their short stories for inclusion in the first volume in the series, with the winners not only having publication of their short story but also an advert for their book or author website of choice with live buy links.

Entry to the competition is £10 and is by email only (please attach a text document to the email or put the story in the body of the email). The word count can be up to 10,000 word approx – and tales with a travel theme will be favoured (although all will be read and judged according to merit).

Contact in the first place.

For over 100 other fiction contests, click here

CALYX Journal opens to submissions

CALYX, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, will open for submissions of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction on October 1, 2010, through to December 31, 2010.

Prose (including essays) should be double-spaced and not exceed 5,000 words. Interviews should be double-spaced and limited to 2,500 words. Poetry submissions are limited to six poems.

Book Reviews should be double-spaced and from 500 to a maximum of 1,000 words. Reviews of chapbooks should be limited to 50-100 words. If you are interested in reviewing books, send a resume, published samples of review writing, and an SASE. After reviewing these, you will be contacted about the book review list. The journal is always open for review submissions. 

All submissions should include the author's name on each page and be accompanied by a brief (50-word or less) biographical statement, a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope with “forever stamp”), phone number, and email address. Even if you indicate that it is unnecessary to return your submission(s), enclose a SASE for your notification. Prose and poetry should be submitted separately with separate SASEs for each submission category.

A contributor’s payment for publication in CALYX Journal includes copies of the issue and a one-volume subscription following that issue. Sample copies of CALYX Journal are available for $10 plus $4 postage (US) and handling; see website or front page of CALYX Journal or write for subscription information.

CALYX Inc. is a nonprofit 501(C)3 organization; all donations are needed and gratefully accepted. To make a donation you can use the website at or mail donations to support CALYX Journal and CALYX Books to Box B, Corvallis, OR 97339. 

For the details of over 1,300 other magazines, click here


Get Your Stiletto in the Door competition

The Chick Lit Writers of the World RWA chapter 2010 Get Your Stiletto in the Door writing contest is open, this year with two divisions, two new categories and an impressive slate of final round judges.

Prizes will be awarded in separate divisions for unpublished manuscripts and published novels. The first place winner in each category will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. Winning authors' names and book titles will be published in RWR®.

Red Hot and Women's Fiction are new categories, joining Single Title, Thrill, Paranormal, Inspirational, and Young Adult.

Whatever the category, the judges anticipate reading a compelling story that demonstrates a strong grasp of the craft of writing.

Agent Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency, a Red Hot final round judge, expects the winning entry to include more than a heroine who's willing to jump the hero's bones.

"I am looking for characters that leap off the page," Bradford says. Her top choice will be a manuscript that "reinvents the chick-lit sensibility in a fresh, fun and contemporary way."

Pacing is crucial in a well-told story, says Agent Kelly Mortimer, Mortimer Literary Agency. A final round judge for Inspirational entries, Mortimer can spot pacing issues at a glance. "If there's no white space, too much exposition, which means slow pacing. If there's too much white space, too much dialogue, which means the pace is too fast."

Inspirational qualities shine in other categories, as well. "I want stories that women would sit around and discuss, sharing how they felt about the things going on in the story," explains Agent Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency, a Women's Fiction final round judge. "Women's fiction has nothing to do with the amount of romance in the story. It is a study of the female character."

A character needs a distinctive voice to attract the attention of Editor Megan Records, Kensington Publishing Corp., a final round judge in the paranormal category. "I want to be dragged into the story and kept there for the duration," Records says. "I'm looking for the entry that I think about the next day and go, `Yeah, that was awesome. I really need to get that full because I'm dying to read the rest.'"

Get Your Stiletto in the Door by polishing the first 5,000 words of your unpublished manuscript and submitting it electronically by Oct. 1. Member entry fee, $15; non-member, $25.

Published novelists must submit four printed and bound books by October 15. Entry fee, $25.

For rules, an entry form and updates on judges, go to Get Your Stiletto in the Door-- 

To sign on as a first-round judge, contact Stiletto Contest Coordinator Brooke Wills,

Other final round judges include:
Single Title—Editor Amanda Bergeron, Harper-Collins
Agent Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management
Thrill—Editor Kathleen Gilligan, St. Martin's
Agent Stephanie Kip Rostan, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency
Red Hot—Editor Sharon DeVita, Red Sage Publishing
Women's Fiction—Editor Leis Pederson, The Berkley Publishing Group
Paranormal—Agent Chelsea M. Gilmore, Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.
Inspirational—Editor Beth Adams, Guideposts
Young Adult—Agent Mandy Hubbard, D4EO
Editor Emilia Rhodes, Simon & Schuster 


New England Book Festival

The 2010 New England Book Festival will hold its annual awards ceremony for its annual competition honoring the best books of the holiday season on January 15, 2011, at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston.

The competition will accept entries in the following categories: nonfiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, young adult, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, photography/art, poetry, spiritual works, compilations/anthologies, gay, unpublished stories and wild card (for books that don't neatly fit elsewhere). All entries must be in English.

The grand prize for the 2010 New England Book Festival winner is $1,500 cash and a flight to the awards in Boston in January, 2011.

Submitted works will be judged by a panel using the following criteria:

1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.

2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.

Entry forms are available online at


New quarterly e-journal

Spilling Ink Review is a new, quarterly e-journal in search of quality prose. The aim is to create an environment where the unexpected can thrive, where the serious and the humorous can sit comfortably side-by-side, and where both the process and the product of creative writing can be celebrated. 

The magazine is also running competitions for short stories, flash fiction and prose poetry, and creative nonfiction. 

For more information click here or visit the website at 

For details of over 500 other magazines publishing fiction, click here 


10th Poetry Plus Festival

Poets Anonymous are celebrating 20 years of poetry with the 10th Poetry Plus Festival, Saturday, October 16, 2010, 10.30am–8.00pm at the CVA Resource Centre, 82 London Road, Croydon CR0 2TB.

The festival will feature Emile Sercombe, Myra Schneider, Janice Fixter, Poets Anonymous, Poetry Workshops, the return of the Aeronautical Poetry Competition, Music, and Floor Poets.

Cost is £10 for the day, £7.50 Concessions. £2.50 for the Poetry Workshops (spaces are limited for the workshops).

For further details contact 


Straitjackets Magazine open to submissions

The autumn issue of Straitjackets Magazine is now available online. Submissions are open for the winter issue, closing December 1, 2010. The issue is scheduled for publication by December 15, 2010.

For more information click here, or visit the website at

For the details of over 1,300 other magazines, click here


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