Posts Tagged ‘contests’

Tarot Writing Prompt: Ace(s) Up Your Sleeve

TAROT ACES ARE CONCENTRATED UNITS OF PSYCHIC ROCKET FUEL! The Ace of Wands, for instance, blazes with a fire that impels action. The Ace of Cups drips with the sweet honey of love. The Ace of Swords slices swiftly to the truth, and the Ace of Pentacles fills our bags with the gold of family, health, and financial well being.

And then there’s flash fiction. This super-concentrated form of story-telling could easily be called the “Ace of Drama.” Typically between fifty and a thousand words (depending on your definition), flash fiction propels readers through dramatic situations at warp speed. To do so, it challenges its writers to create characters, setting, conflict, and some sort of resolution all within its super-tight framework.

Want to give this literary form of nitroglycerin a try? Check out the prompt below, inspired by my flash-fiction-writing tarot pal Bonnie Cehovet!

Tarot writing prompt

Pick a card, any card
First, choose your Ace.

If you chose the Ace of Wands, write a hundred-word action/adventure story.
If you chose the Ace of Cups, write a hundred-word romance.
If you chose the Ace of Swords, write a hundred-word story of double-dealing or deceit.
If you chose the Ace of Pentacles, write a hundred-word family drama (add an inheritance to the mix for extra credit!).

I’ll go first. I picked the Ace of Swords.

Thomas watched his brother’s fiancée from the perimeter of a dozen parties. Her gleaming hair. Her ridiculously long neck. The maw of her mouth issuing dark laughter. Whenever he got close enough, he wondered, was she laughing at him? He’d redden, unsure. Then his brother’s brakes failed. And his airbag. (Tragic, right?) When the fiancée was released, Thomas swooped in. Who better? She’d recover. They’d circle those same parties. They’d laugh. And, later, they would wrestle in sweaty pleasure, reviling their evening’s casualties. He woke from dreams of it, dark laughter in his mouth. If only she would stop crying.

My Swords-y idea was that Thomas tampered with his brother’s car. Is that clear? I dunno. Anyway, it’s a hundred words. So there’s that.

Flash fiction inspiration

Need more information or inspiration? Click on the links below for further guidelines and places to “flash” your short-short work.

FLASH FICTION ONLINE offers a ton of resources, from excellent examples, to how-to tips, to submission guidelines. Once you’ve tried this exercise, you might consider submitting the results to them!

NYC Midnight has an annual short story challenge that proceeds in heats: from a 2500-word story, to a 2000-word story, to a 1500-word story (aka, flash fiction!).

For more about writing flash fiction, check out this post: “Writing Short.” 

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Thanks to U.S. Games Systems, Inc., for kind permission to use the images of the Ace of Wands from the MORGAN GREER TAROT

Thanks also to book shepherd Tia Levings—who placed third in her first heat this year!—for the 4-1-1 on NYC Midnight.

Tarot Prompts You to Submit Your Writing: Contests and Calls for Submission

SWIFTNESS, CHANGE, OPPORTUNITY, MESSAGES ON THE WIND. Tarot’s Eight of Wands speaks to all of these. It’s a communicative card. It can signal the sudden appearance of new connections, information, or direction.

If you got the Eight of Wands in a tarot reading, the turbaned, hoop-earringed Gypsy turning your cards might say, “Favorable circumstances are flying toward you! Avail yourself of them, and positive changes are likely to occur.”

I’m not (currently) wearing a turban—or even my hoop earrings—but accept this message as if I were. Because, with this post, the Eight of Wands is delivering a quiverful of opportunities: It’s time to send your writing soaring out on the winds of literary chance!

Writing contests

Forthwith, in the spirit of the Eight of Wands, I present to you eight (and a half) writing contests—in order of deadline.

1) The Roswell Award, presented by the Light Bringer Project

The Roswell Award for short science fiction is an international competition. Finalists are read by celebrity guests at LitFest Pasadena. Submission closes January 28, 2019.

2) The Masters Review Winter Short Story Award for New Writers

This prize recognizes the best fiction from today’s emerging writers. In addition to cash prizes, winning stories and any notable Honorable Mentions will receive agency review. Submissions close January 31, 2019.

3) New Beginnings Short Story Competition

Accepting short stories in English from anywhere in the world in any genre. 2500 word maximum. Submissions close January 31, 2019.

4a) FanStory 100 Word Writing Contest

Write a flash fiction story on any topic that uses exactly 100 words. $100 first-place prize. Feedback on all stories. Submissions close February 12, 2019.

4b) FanStory 20 Syllable Poetry Contest

Write a poem—any structure, any word count—with exactly 20 syllables. $100 first-place prize. Feedback on all poems. Submissions close February 17, 2019.

5) Snowbound Chapbook Award, presented by Tupelo Press

Includes a cash award of $1,000, publication by Tupelo Press, a book launch, and national distribution. Submissions close February 28, 2019.

6) 2019 Screenwriting Contest, presented by Script Pipeline

Now in its seventeenth year, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition seeks talented writers. They focus on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production. Early submissions close March 1, 2019.

7) Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, presented by Aesthetica Magazine

The award celebrates excellence in poetry and short fiction, supporting new writing talent and presenting writers with a fantastic opportunity to further their involvement in the literary world. Submissions close August 2019.

8) Poets and Writers

And if that weren’t enough, the P&W writing contests, grants, and awards database has details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that have been published in the magazine during the past year. They carefully review each contest before including it. Theirs is the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

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Consider this a literary public service announcement from the Eight of Wands: Submit your poetry, short stories, flash fiction, chap books, screenplays, personal essays, and novels, now!

Thank you to U.S. Games Systems, Inc. for their kind permission to use the image of the Eight of Wands from the RIDER WAITE SMITH TAROT.

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Congratulations Station

CONGRATULATIONS TO Royal Palm Literary Award-winning author ANNE HAWKINSON on the publication of SCOTLAND’S KNIGHT: The Rose in the Glade. Now available on Amazon, The Rose in the Glade is the first in a new series that Anne is co-authoring with Scottish Book Trust author PAUL V. HUNTER. To Anne and Paul, may the Thistle bloom forever!

Hey, there, RYAN G. VAN CLEAVE! TWO new books out on Oxford UP? Nicely done, sir! Van Cleave fans (and creative types), check out Ryan’s co-authored VISUAL STORYTELLING and his CREATIVITY: A READER FOR WRITERS. See what you think! (Also, thanks, Ryan, for your shout-out to me in your recent THE WRITER magazine article on writing coaching. I’m thrilled to have been at your literary service!)

So happy to report that MARGARITA MCCARTHY’S poem “Cuba ’95” was a finalist in this year’s Royal Palm Literary Award contest, presented by the Florida Writers Association. May this be only the beginning, Margarita!

Finally! Syndicated political cartoonist DANA SUMMERS’ debut novel is available. Winner of the Florida Writers Association’s Royal Palm Award and Mystery Writers of America’s Freddie Award, DRAWN AND BURIED follows cartoonist Tim Ryder, who drew a cartoon series that earned him a Pulitzer, but drove a presidential candidate to put a bullet in his head. When we first meet Tim, local politicians begin turning up dead at murder scenes staged to resemble cartoons he has drawn. Uh-oh. Good luck, Tim!

Congrats, Dana! (And thanks so much for your appreciative note in your acknowledgements.)

Storytellers of Tomorrow

THE STORYTELLERS OF TOMORROW Florida High School Creative Writing Contest

CW_word_0is presented by the Ringling College of Art + Design. The Ringling College BFA in Creative writing was created to support, empower, and honor young writers. Now, the creative writing department of Ringling is inviting Florida high school students to submit unpublished, original stories of up to 2,000 words for this inaugural Storytellers of Tomorrow Contest. The deadline is February 29th, so skateboard those entries right in! Click HERE for the full scoop.

This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by Ryan G. Van Cleave, Creative Writing BFA Coordinator, Ringling College of Art and Design and author of THE WEEKEND BOOK PROPOSAL (Writers Digest), MEMOIR WRITING FOR DUMMIES (John Wiley & Sons), and more!

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