Romantic Novelists' Association

February 2019: Competition Monthly

20 February 2019

What’s in a title?


Titles are important. You need something that will catch the judge’s eye and interest before they even start on the story. Long, rambling titles might seem indicative of a long, rambling story, so try to avoid them. Short, snappy titles are usually best, probably no more than five words. Make sure it’s relevant to the story, not just eye catching. Often popular sayings, famous quotes or song titles are a good place to start if you’re not good at making up titles.

It’s also better to avoid common titles if you can, though that can be difficult if you’re not sure how common your title is! One of my first published stories was called New Beginnings. I now know several people who’ve had stories with that title, or the similar A New Beginning, including my blog partner, Elaine Roberts. Other common titles include Lost and Found, The Homecoming, Rebirth, and The Awakening.

Neil Clarke, the editor of a science fiction magazine called Clarkesworld, put all the words from story titles he’d had submitted to him into a word cloud to ascertain their frequency. Some of the most common words used were man, time, house, last, new, moon, black, dead, death, world, one, little, life, red, day, love, night and dream. The fact it’s a sci-fi mag might account for some of those words, of course. To see the rest of the word cloud visit here.

Basically, you want a title that is neither too simple or common, nor too obscure or convoluted. Easier said than done, I know. If you get stuck, you could always try my old favourite, mind mapping.


Good luck everyone.



Rolling competitions:


Telegraph Travel Just Back

Theme: Feature article on travel experiences. 500 words max.

Prize: £250 every week with a £1,000 prize for writer of the year.

Closing date:  Midnight every Wednesday

Entry: Free



The Drapers Guild Perpetual Short Story Contest

Theme: Open, any length

Prize: Best story judged after each batch of 15 stories is received wins $100.

Closing date:  Ongoing

Entry: $10



Closing soon:


Reflex Fiction

Theme: Open flash fiction 180 – 360 words

Prize: £1,000 / £500 / £250

Closing date:  28 February 2019

Entry: £7



1,000 Word Challange

Theme: Crime

Prize: £150 / £75 / /£50

Closing date:  28 February 2019

Entry: £5



Lymington Writers Creative Writing Competition

Theme: Short stories up to 2,500 words on ‘community’ or Flash Fiction up to 500 words on ‘the centre’.

Prize: £100 for short story / £50 for flash fiction

Closing date:  22 March 2019

Entry: £5 for short story / £3 for flash fiction



The Page is Printed

Theme: Any genre, one side of A4

Prize: Open prize £100 / Somerset prize £100

Closing date:  31 March 2019

Entry: £5 / £10 for up to 3 entries



April competitions:


Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize

Theme: ‘Identity’, 2,500 words max

Prize: £10,000 / £3,000 / £2,000

Closing date:  April 1st 2019

Entry: Free



Writing Magazine 750 Word Competition

Theme: Open

Prize: £200 + publication in magazine / £50 + publication online

Closing date:  15 April 2019

Entry: £6 / £4 subscribers



May competitions:


Bridport Short Story Prize

Theme: Open, 5,000 words max

Prize: £5,000 / £1,000 / £500 / 10 x £100

Closing date:  31 May 2019

Entry: £12



Bridport Flash Fiction Prize

Theme: Open, 250 words max

Prize: £1,000 / £500 / £250 / 3 x £100

Closing date:  31 May 2019

Entry: £9



Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for First Novel

Theme: Open. 8,000 words max, 5,000 minimum, of opening chapters.

Prize: £1,000 / £500 / £250 / 3 x £100

Closing date:  31 May

Entry: £20



Frome Short Story Competition

Theme: Open, 1,000 – 2,200 words

Prize: £400 / £200 / £100 plus local prizes

Closing date:  31 May 2019

Entry: £8



Yeovil Literary Prize: Short Story

Theme: Open, 2,000 words max

Prize: £500 / £200 / £100

Closing date:  31 May 2019

Entry: £7



Yeovil Literary Prize: Novel

Theme: Open, 15,000 max including synopsis and opening chapters.

Prize: £1000 / £250 / £100

Closing date: 31 May 2019

Entry: £12






Francesca Capaldi Burgess has been placed or shortlisted in a number of competitions including Winchester Writers’ Conference, Twyford Writers, Chorley & District Writer’s Circle, Retreat West,, Meridian Writing, Flash a Famous Phrase, Wells Festival, and Writing Magazine. She’s had stories and a serial published in magazines worldwide. Her first book, Danger for Daisy, was published by My Weekly Pocket Novels at the end of 2018. Apart from the RNA, she’s also a member of the Society for Women Writers and Journalists. Francesca runs a writing blog along with RNA member Elaine Roberts called Write Minds.