A new month and many more competition details from Francesca!

Is it worth paying for a critique for your short story or novel when entering a competition? Some competitions offer them, but they can vary enormously in price. Some critique writers will give you more for your money than others, and often you won’t know if it’s worth the fee until it pops onto

your mat or up on your email. Cheaper critiques are often only a tick list, which in itself may not provide you with enough useful information.

Critiques can be invaluable in pinpointing areas to work on and can help you improve your writing. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re willing to take that advice. If you’re going to take offence at any suggestion that what you wrote is anything but perfect, a critique may not be for you. You might wonder why anyone would pay for one only to be praised, but it happens.

If you receive a critique but disagree with some, or all, of what it says, please don’t go onto social media and around all your friends to tell them what a rubbish person the critique writer is. (Yes, this once happened to me as a judge in a short story comp, and unfortunately I knew the person in real life.) Often it’s better after a first read to put the critique to one side and come back to it later with a fresh perspective. If it really does fall short of what was expected, in terms of length or detail of content (or really is offensive), then take it up with the people running the competition.

Good luck, everybody.

***Closing Soon***
2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize
Theme: Open. 2,000-5,000 words. Entrants must be citizens of a Commonwealth country
Prize: Regional winners £2,500. Overall winner £5,000.
Competition deadline: 1 November 2016
Entry: Free Details

Writing Magazine 500 Word Flash Fiction Competition
Theme: Any theme, 500 words max.
Prize: £200 / £50. Publication in Writing Magazine.
Competition deadline: 14 November 2016
Entry: £5 (£3 for subscribers) Details

Ink Tears Short Story Contest 
Theme: Open. 1,000-3,500 words. Can be previously published
Prize: £1,000 / £100 / 4 x £25
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016
Entry: £7.50 Details

The Betty Trask Prize
Theme: Romantic or traditional novel, published or unpublished. Writer must be under 35 on 31 December 2016.
Prize: Total prize money of £20,000, to be used for foreign travel.
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016
Entry: Free Details

Write Stars The Final Word Competition
Theme: Write the final 100 words of a story
Prize: £100 plus critique for of up to 1,000 words of your work
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016
Entry: £3.50 Details

The Writers Bureau Flash Fiction Competition
Theme: Open. Max 500 words
Prize: £300 / £200 / £100 plus WB course for all winners.
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016
Entry: £5 (3 for £10) Details

Retreat West Themed Flash Fiction Competition
Theme: ‘Success’. Max 500 words
Prize: £50 / £25
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016 (Different themes each month)
Entry: £5 Details

UK International Novel Writing Competition
Theme: Open. Unpublished or self published novels. Judged by the public.
Prize: £5,000 / £2,500 / £1,000
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016
Entry: £12 (additional entries £6) Details

1000 Word Challenge
Theme: ‘Very’. Max 1,000 words
Prize: £100 / £50 / £25
Competition deadline: 30 November 2016 (There’s a new comp every 3 months)
Entry: £5 (£10 with feedback) Details 

Retreat West First Chapter Competition 
Theme: All genres except children’s, first chapter (up to 3,500 words) of a novel.
Prize: Review of first 3 chapters, cover letter and synopsis by literary agent Sam Copeland of Rogers, Coleridge & White
Competition deadline: 10 December 2016
Entry: £15 Details 

Thanks, Francesca! And good luck to everyone who enters.

Francesca Capaldi Burgess has been placed or shortlisted in a number of competitions including Twyford Writers, Winchester Writers’ Conference, Chorley and District Writers’ Circle, Flash a Famous Phrase, Meridian Writing, Wells Festival and Writing Magazine. Her shortlisted entry for The People’s Friend serial competition will be published soon. She’s had stories published in magazines worldwide and in three anthologies, including Diamonds and Pearls and 100 Stories for Haiti. She is a member of the RNA New Writers’ Scheme.

If you would like to write for the RNA blog, then please contact us at elaineeverest@aol.com

This blog was prepared by blog team member, Louisa Heaton.


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