Our regular themed competition has a 500-word limit. You can send prose, script or poetry; fiction or non-fiction; a complete story or an extract of a longer work.
Submissions will be read anonymously, and the Reader’s favourites published on this site. Want to be a Reader for a future theme? Get in touch via email@example.com.
We will aim to announce the winning pieces as soon as possible after the close of the competition, but please bear with us – it can take our Reader time if there have been a lot of entries! A single winner and a handful of other ‘Reader’s Choice’ pieces will be published on this site shortly thereafter – usually a week or two after the competition closed. Read work selected as ‘Reader’s Choice’ in previous competitions here.
As we focus on getting our competition-based anthology out in time for Christmas, the next theme is going to last for a mega four months! And as such we actually have three themes for you. You do not have to hit all three in one piece – though they are linked.
Our current theme is: Apple – Trees – Woodland
Maybe your story is set in an orchard or a forest, perhaps your protagonist is named Apple, or the woods feature as a metaphor for the dark days of their youth. Maybe your characters are trying to construct a family tree, or your story is about the Root and Branch petition and the English Civil War. It’s up to you how you interpret the theme, so maybe take a walk down the nearest tree-lined avenue and see what you come up with!
If you want to enter more than one piece, the usual procedure applies: your first entry is free, and you can enter as many additional pieces as you like for a fee of £5 each. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how many you’ll be sending and we’ll send you a PayPal money request. If you don’t let us know, we’ll only accept the first entry from any author. See below for the full guidelines and the link to the form where you can submit your work.
Deadline for submissions: 31st December 2020
- Respond to the theme/challenge/prompt [this autumn – you only have to cover one of the three themes]. If you’ve got the perfect piece of work but it doesn’t fit the current challenge, get in touch to suggest a theme for next time!
- There is no lower word limit. The upper word limit (not including title) is 500 words.
- There are no strict formatting requirements, but nothing too weird please.
- Please title your document with your entry title, and also put the title at the top of the work. Do not include your name in the document as entries will be read anonymously. Full credit will be given to the author if the work is published.
- No really bad swear words or explicit content, please.
- Submissions are welcomed from around the world, but must be in English.
- We don’t mind if it’s been published elsewhere in the past, but please make sure your work is copyright cleared for it to be published online if chosen. (For example, if you need to include the line ‘first published in…’ to comply with a former publisher’s terms, let us know.)
- If your work is selected as winner or ‘Reader’s Choice’ it will be published on our website. We reserve the right to make minor edits. We would like to leave your work on our site indefinitely, but if you would like it removed after a minimum of 12 months online please get in touch.
- There will be no monetary payments to authors for work accepted as this is a non-profit competition run by volunteers; there is a possibility your work may be included in a printed/ebook anthology in future – we will get in touch if we want to include your work.
- We will keep your data in accordance with GDPR, and use your email address only to contact you to announce the competition winners and let you know of new competition opportunities (maximum one email a month after the announcement of winners). You can unsubscribe at any time, just email email@example.com.
How to submit:
Submit your entry via the google form here (you will need to sign in). Please make your document title the same as the title of your entry. Technically the deadline is midnight GMT on the date stated (but if you’re running late, rest assured that usually the site isn’t updated until the morning of the 1st). The email address is still monitored for enquiries, but we are no longer accepting entries this way.
There is no charge for your first submission in each month. If you wish to submit more than one piece a £5 fee will apply for each additional work (drop us an email and we’ll send a Paypal money request).
If you enter multiple pieces without getting in touch, only the first will be accepted. It is possible to log in and make changes to your submission before the deadline, please don’t submit a second version, as only the first entry will be accepted in this case.
Want feedback on your work?
If you would like feedback on your work (that is, a ‘track changes’ version to give corrections, comments and suggestions) one of our team can provide this for an £8 fee. Just send your work to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send a Paypal money request. Once this has been paid we will send you feedback on your work.
We cannot guarantee that feedback will be given before the competition closes (please allow two weeks after payment is received), and we cannot guarantee that your story will be chosen as winner or ‘Reader’s Choice’ as a result of our feedback.