It’s a bit nerve wracking. You make a cup of tea and sit down (with a biscuit!) to read through the
rules and regulations on the competition website.
It’s a bit overwhelming! So many rules! Why can’t I just write a story?
You can, absolutely you can.
There are dozens of writing competitions going on at any one time across Australia and around
the world, so if the competition you’re looking at doesn’t suit your style, find one that does. Some have
themes or prompts and some don’t, leaving it completely open to your style and genre.
Then there’s the other extreme! The Australian Writers Centre runs a quarterly Flash Fiction Competition called Furious Fiction. This hotly contested competition has strict prompts. For example, here is the prompt for the June 2022 competition:
Others have a general vibe they’re going for. For example,
Pushing yourself outside your genre and your writing comfort zone can bring far more benefits
than just a first prize or a shortlisting. When entering a themed short story competition or submitting to
a themed anthology, some benefits include:
Writing short stories is a wonderful way to develop new characters and stories without having to
write a novel. As Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper says in her article, “Short Stories: 6 reasons you should
write them,” short stories can work as a tester, giving you an audition with readers.
Short stories based on your current longer-form works can be beneficial in many ways. It can help clarify the direction of the larger story. Entering the story in a competition or sharing it in other ways (on your blog; on a platform like Medium, Reedsy or even Facebook) and asking readers for their feedback, can help you gauge reader interest in the story. If the story garners interest from the judges or readers, you’ll know that a longer form story has a chance of finding an audience.
Mostly, writing should be enjoyable, so make sure you are doing it in a way that brings you joy.
I hope you are!
We want you to write up to 1000 words on the theme of “Writing in the Sand.”
How do I do that?
If you are writing Romance, you might write about a marriage proposal literally written in sand.
If you are writing Horror, you might write about a monster that devours those who stumble on a
If you are writing a Thriller you might write about someone who goes missing in the desert or a
writer who moves to a beach shack to write their book and see something they shouldn’t have seen…
One last thing… One of the rules for this competition is *Please don’t use the Theme (Writing in
the Sand) as a title. Why? Well, we want you to exercise your creativity to its full extent and as the
three top stories will be published on our website we just don’t want them all having the same title!
For some inspiration, visit the winners page of the Queensland Writers Centre monthly flash
fiction competition Right Left Write.
Read Christine Betts’ winning entry for the November 2021 Knock, Knock theme here.
Read Kate Kelsen’s winning entry for the January 2022 GenreCon “Tarot” theme here.
Visit the Queensland Writers Centre monthly prompted short-story competition, Right Left Write
and have a go!
Christine Betts is an Australian writer. Christine trained in education and the visual arts.
She spent many years creating Australian-made gift ware and art for interior design projects.
Writing took centre-stage in 2017 when she left her management position with a market-leading art-seller and packed up her brushes.