I only write short stories for a specific purpose, not because there’s a story in my head that I simply have to write. Whenever I write, things grow. A short story becomes a novella. That’s happened to me quite a few times. I’m better when I have a specific goal, and meet that goal. That’s what I’ve been doing so far – entering short story competitions. Well, remove the plural and enter the singular, because I’ve only entered one so far. It was mentioned in a previous post of mine; the Adrien Abbot prize, which I discovered via Facebook.
It’s good networking with writers on Facebook. Since meeting and friending other writers, I’ve discovered a few things I would’ve otherwise missed. The Steampunk Exhibition was one, in fact. This is the kind of thing I would usually discover a few days after it finished. The short story competitions and publishing contacts I’ve since discovered. Smaller, local opportunities that I might otherwise have overlooked.
Short story competitions are harder to ‘win’ than getting published, I think. They come in shorter bursts, but I think get more applicants – especially if there’s a financial reward offered. I imagine this is why the bigger competitions charge an entry fee, to get rid of a lot of the fodder. Only a serious punter (or an incredibly deluded one, and I know there are a few of them out there) would bother parting with their $10 or more dollars per entry.
So far, all of the competitions I’ve entered (and am looking at entering), all declare the winner in the September/October period of this year, while their cut-off dates are usually around June/July. I’ve still got time.