It’s late and it’s short, for both of which please accept my apologies. Not content with having Covid earlier this year, I’m just in the middle of a breast cancer scare. After various investigative procedures it’s looking less like cancer and more like a sclerosing thingumajig, but there are more procedures to undergo before I’m in the clear. Anyway, hence the lateness and shortness. Oh, how I long for the health and stamina of my youth! ‘If youth but knew and age could do’…
Thanks as always for your support and kindness.
Much love to you all,
Here are some writing competitions and calls for submission, all with free, electronic entry.
As usual I’m passing these on in good faith but mistakes may be made, so do check all the submission guidelines carefully. Any info in quotes comes from the website itself and any dates at the start are deadlines. Also, I don’t know the sources personally, so do check them out for yourselves.
There are three headings (click/tap to jump straight to them):
If you aren’t a submitter (why not? Nothing to lose! Rejection is something we all share!) then the themes can make great writing prompts/exercises.
Although I mention only fiction or poetry, many publications accept non-fiction, art or other forms, so do check if interested. Good luck and do let me know of successes! The links are in the comments, and any dates at the start are deadlines.
Where possible, I have marked the relevant entries with ‘paying’, ‘contributor copy’ etc. However, you are best off checking the info for yourselves as I am not infallible and the info isn’t always available or clear. Please be aware that a contributor copy may be in print or digital format. Also, some publications offer several things, eg payment as well as a contributor copy. Where this is the case, I have assumed that payment is enough of an incentive, so I haven’t listed everything. It’s a rough guide and should be treated as such.
6th Oct ‘Spectator Contest No 3220: chapter and verse. You are invited to supply a newly discovered short story by a well-known 19th- or 20th-century poet (please specify). Please email entries (maximum 150 words) to email@example.com by midday on 6 October.’ PAYING. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-why-must-it-always-be-tomato-soup-
13th Oct ‘Spectator Contest No. 3221: one for the ode. You are invited to supply an ode to the Marble Arch Mound. Please email entries (maximum 16 lines) to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 13 October.’ PAYING https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competitions-winners-w-s-gilbert-makes-a-ham-sandwich
31st Oct Unpublished writers: travel nonfiction. PAYING http://www.storyhouse.org/contest2021.html
31st Oct Writing up to 30 words on the theme of Unquiet Earth. VOUCHER https://www.pepuptheday.com/competitions/the-unquiet-earth-2543/
1st Nov Write the opening line to a story based on the prompt provided. https://www.writersdigest.com/wd-competitions/your-story-114 (Cathy’s note: I don’t think that there’s a prize for this other than being published in Writer’s Digest, but I’ve included it because I think it’s fun.)
1st Nov (extended deadline) Age 16-30 LGBTQAI writers: ‘The genre of play can be anything – the only requirement is that it explores queer themes with an original flair.’ PAYING https://dukeslancaster.org/news/lancaster-playwriting-prize-encourages-lgbtqai-voices-to-be-heard
When full: science fiction, space opera etc 2000-12,000 words on the theme of Space Treks. ROYALTIES https://starryeyedpress.com/open-submissions/
4th Oct Fiction 3000-6000 words on the theme of Intimacy. PAYING https://www.derailleur.press/submit.html#/
15th Oct ‘A story does not have to be overtly sexual or erotic to be considered for the magazine. Sexy Fantastic simply wishes to deal with adult sexuality in an unashamed, mature and playful manner… As the slant of this magazine is toward the erotic and fantastic, such stories will be favored. But the greatest deciding factor will always be the quality of the writing.’ Theme: Interplanetary. 3000-10,000 words. PAYING https://sexyfantasticmagazine.com/fictionsubmissions/
15th Oct ‘Dark of the moon or full. These are times of great mystery. Of great magic. Moonlight is our companion in the night, lighting our way or giving us second thoughts. We use light of the moon in its monthly travels to mark the passage of time and reflect on our gains or losses. What does moonlight make you think of, be it mysterious or mundane? No bios, attachments, or poetry please.’ Send your best stories of approximately 50 words about moonlight in the body of an email to: email@example.com – http://www.blink-ink.org/submissions/
18th Oct Poetry and articles on the theme of Quaker Heroes. https://www.friendsjournal.org/submissions/
30th Oct ‘We accept and actively solicit chapbook-length submissions of poetry from writers in Canada and around the world. We strongly encourage women, writers of colour, LGBTQ2S+ writers, Indigenous writers, and writers with disabilities to submit.’ https://rahilasghostpress.com/submit-2/
31st Oct Spec flash and spec poetry on the theme of Autumn Trees. https://www.planisphereq.com/p/guidelines.html
31st Oct ‘Timber Ghost Press is proud to present Dead Stars and Stone Arches: A Collection of Utah Horror… For this anthology, all entries must have a Utah connection, either on the part of the author or the story itself (it is called Utah horror for a reason).’ Poetry, flash, short fiction and more. PAYING https://www.timberghostpress.com/dead-stars.html
31st Oct ‘The prompt: Write a story using a hero/heroine from any era or culture and the original major plot points from their legends to craft a retelling in an entirely alternate setting. Examples: The sagas of the sons of Ragnar set in Victorian England; the epic of Odysseus during the time of the Mayans; Mulan in a Gundam-esque space war.’ 3000-9000 words. PAYING https://lostboyspress.com/2021/07/heroes-spring-2022-anthology/
31st Oct ‘We’re looking for queer tales of supernatural love for our next major anthology, slated for a February 2022 release to coincide with Valentines Day. Sweet, sexy, scary or tragic… We’d love to see your own interpretations on what queer love means to you. We only ask that your story has a supernatural / Gothic / dark element of some kind.’ 1000-6000 words. PAYING https://ghostorchidpress.com/submission-calls/
31st Oct It Calls from the Veil: horror fiction 2000-8000 words. PAYING https://www.eerieriverpublishing.com/open-submission
31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more. https://www.laughingroninpress.com/post/submissions
1st Nov ‘DEATH IN THE MOUTH is a horror anthology showcasing BIPOC and other ethnically marginalized writers and artists from around the world.’ 1000-6000 words. PAYING https://deathinthemouth.com/
1st Nov Fiction (and occasionally poetry) 300-5000 words starting with the line: ‘Later that evening, they sat alone in their apartment, wondering if they had made the right decision.’ PAYING http://www.thefirstline.com/submission.htm
1st Nov Fiction, poetry and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://uwm.edu/creamcityreview/general/
1st Nov ‘We want sci-fi stories with a slathering of comedy. Think Galaxy Quest, Barbarella, Red Dwarf, Space Milkshake, The Orville. Must be primarily based in Space and full of comedy.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) https://www.blackinkfiction.com/sci-fi-calls
1st Nov Poetry, fiction and essays. PAYING https://cutleafjournal.com/submit/
(Publishers might not give out their pay rates on their submission pages, so make sure to find them out before signing a contract!)
‘We are currently open for submissions of science fiction novels, novellas and short reads for all ages. Please add a simple synopsis if your work is over 10,000 words.’ https://starryeyedpress.com/open-submissions/
Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. (Cathy’s note: scroll down to The Rail.) https://www.derailleur.press/submit.html#/
‘The editors want you to know they are hopeful to read poems that contain fall colors (reds, yellows, browns, etc.) for this issue. Also, the reading window will be shorter than normal. That information might give you an edge!’ PAYING https://poetryquarterly.com/submit/