Time to share your skills in our 7th Annual Short Short Story Contest
Seven years ago, we here at The Pulse had an idea: let's start a contest to collect the best short stories written by local writers. With one caveat: it had to be a really short story. As in, 500 words or less.
If you've ever tried to tell a story in less than 500 words, you realize it is quite a challenge. That said, we were very pleased to see dozens of writers submit a fantastic collection of pieces, which made our job to pick the winners much harder than anticipated.
This was a good thing.
And now we are pleased to announce that we are soliciting new works for our Seventh Annual Short Short contest.
The premise is simple: it can be any topic, fiction or nonfiction. The only requirements are that it be 500 words or less, must be original, and cannot have been previously published anywhere else.
Once you finish your story, all you have to do is send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (we prefer .doc or .txt files, but can open most common files). Deadline for entries is Wednesday, June 29th (though earlier is always appreciated to give us time to read everything without being snowed under, so to speak).
We have put together a team of judges—including past contest winners—that will read each submission. Once the votes are tabulated, we will publish the top three entries plus however many honorable mentions we can fit in print for that issue, which will be published in the July 7th issue of The Pulse.
And, yes, we will also be putting together a nice prize package for the winners. Because we like giving stuff away.
Which brings me to advice time. Having been a writer and editor myself for nearly 30 years, I have picked up a lot of tips and tricks over the years. Some of which have even worked. And the best advice I have ever been given is, “just write.”
Simply put, open your laptop, sit down in front of your desktop, pull out a pen and a stack of paper, or however you like to write, and start writing. Don't worry if it's any good, don't worry about grammar and suchlike, just write until you finish (and yes, finishing is just as important as starting). Once you finish, then is the time to go back and edit for things like grammar—and also to see if your story makes any sense and is any good.
The next best piece of advice I've ever been given is to then have someone else, someone whose opinion you trust (and whom you trust to be honest with you), read it with a critical eye. In the professional writing world, these are known as “first readers” and are absolutely critical.
Lastly, the third best piece of advice I've received was to then submit the work. Stories are like children: once you've created them and let them grow, you need to set them free into the big wide world for all to meet and (hopefully) appreciate.
So, let's get writing. I look forward to seeing what you all have to share with us and our readers.