No Explanation Needed

I hope you’re all coping with the current round of lockdowns (or variation, depending on where you are). Here are some more competitions to enter, which may take your mind off the present situation for a while.

Now, this is most likely something none of you would ever do on a competition entry, but it has been reported by judges in the past, so it’s worth mentioning. Don’t ever be tempted to explain on your competition entry form or manuscript where the story originated, or that it’s based on something funny that happened to your cousin Billy. Don’t attach photos of the setting you’ve based it on or add illustrations in the margins. The judge isn’t interested in any of these things and it will make no difference to whether they like your story or not. What they’re looking for is a thumping good tale. If you have to explain your story, then maybe it needs to be rewritten.

There are a variety of competitions this month, including ones for historical and crime novels. There’s also a poetry contest, if you fancy entering something a little different, along with a Haiku competition.

Good luck to you all in your comping endeavours.

Click October 2020 for posts detailing further competitions closing in November and December.





Closing soon


Evesham Festival of Words Haiku Competition

Theme: Winter

Prizes: £70 / £40 / £20

Closing date: 5pm 30 November 2020

Entry: £5 for maximum of 4 entries



Fiction Factory Flash Competition

Theme: Open (excl. children’s and YA), 3,000 words max

Prizes: £200 / £50 / £25

Closing date: 30 November 2020

Entry: £6




January Competitions


Exeter Novel Prize

Theme: Unpublished novel, first 10,000 words including synopsis

Prizes: £500 / 5 x £100

Closing date: 1 January 2021

Entry: £18



St Martins Minotaur / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Theme: First crime novel of unpublished author

Prizes: Publication and advance of $10,000 US

Closing date: 1 January 2021

Entry: Free



The Tuscorora Award for Historical Fiction

Theme: Historical novel

Prizes: Publication and $1,000 US

Closing date: 15 January 2021

Entry: $22 US



Sandy Run Novella Award

Theme: Novella between 17,500 and 40,000 words

Prizes: Publication and $1,000 US

Closing date: 15 January 2021

Entry: $20 US



Writing Magazine Open Short Story Competition

Theme: Open, 1,500 – 1,700 words

Prizes: £200 and publication in magazine / £50 and publication on website

Closing date: 15 January 2021

Entry: £6 / £4 subscribers



Bath Novella-in-Flash Award

Theme: Open, 6,000 – 18,000 words total. Each flash no more than 1,000 words

Prizes: £300 / 2 x £100 plus publication for all three

Closing date: 17 January 2021

Entry: £16



Lancashire Authors Association Open Flash Fiction Competition

Theme: Open, Exactly 100 words

Prizes: £100

Closing date: 31 January 2021

Entry: £2 / £5 for 3



Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition

Theme: Open, any style of poetry, 40 lines max

Prizes: £1,000 / £300 / £100 / 4 x £50

Closing date: 31 January 2021

Entry: £5 / 3 or more poems £4



Retreat West First Chapter Competition

Theme: Open, first chapter only (no prologues or synopses)

Prizes: Submission package, review and feedback from a publisher / Other prizes of feedback

Closing date: 31 January

Entry: £10



Fiction Factory Flash Competition

Theme: Open, 1,000 words max

Prizes: £150 / £50 / £25

Closing date: 31 January 2021

Entry: £5




Looking Ahead


Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition

Theme: Open, 2,500 words max

Prizes: £150 / £50 / £30

Closing date: 5pm on 12 March 2021

Entry: £5







Francesca Capaldi Burgess has been placed or shortlisted in a dozen competitions including Winchester Writers’ Conference, Retreat West, Meridian Writing, Wells Festival Book for Children, Writing Magazine and The People’s Friend serial competition. She’s had stories and a serial published in magazines worldwide and her fourth DC Thomson pocket novel, is due out on 10th December. Her second historical saga, War in the Valleys, published by Hera Books, is due out on November 25th. Apart from the RNA, she’s also a member of the Society for Women Writers and Journalists. Francesca runs a writing blog with RNA member Elaine Roberts called Write Minds.




Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


©2023 Romantic Novelists' Association | Privacy Statement


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?