Romantic Novelists' Association

May 2019: Competition Monthly

20 May 2019

Francesca talks this month about keeping a record of your entries

This month I’d like to mention record keeping. I’m certain I’d have got into a right mess with my submissions without my spreadsheets. I originally added the competition entries to the sheet for my magazine subs, but realised it was better to create a new spreadsheet especially, which I’ve found much more useful. These are in date order. The columns are named Date, Title, Competition, Theme & word count, Closing date, Type of story entered, Result date, Result and Website. If an entry is unsuccessful I colour it red, if placed or shortlisted, blue. It helps with keeping an eye on when to check websites for results, since many will only contact you if you’re shortlisted or placed.

I also keep a paper system. This is an exercise book set out by story, which allows me to see exactly where each of them has been sent. It’s also handy when your laptop crashes and you can’t reload your spreadsheets. (Yes, it happened to me!)

If you’re a newer or unpublished novelist, check out the three competitions below for unpublished and /or unagented writers. The Society of Women Writers & Journalists’ competition is good value, and not just for women or members.

See April 2019’s competition post for further competitions that are still open here

Good luck everyone.




Rolling competitions:


Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition

Theme: Open. 1,000 – 3,000 words

Prize: £300 / £150 / £100

Closing date:  Ongoing

Entry: £3 subscribers / £6 non




Closing Soon:


Retreat West Flash Fiction Competition

Theme: ‘Wind’. 500 words max

Prize: £300 / 2 x £100

Closing date: 30 June 2019

Entry: £8



Daily Mail First Novel Competition

Theme: Any except children’s, sagas, sci-fi and fantasy.

Prize: £20,000, the services of literary agent Luigi Bonomi and publication by Penguin Random House.

Closing date: 14 June 2019 at 17.30

Entry: Free



Writing Magazine Timely Topic Competition

Theme: ‘Throne’. 500 words max

Prize: £100

Closing date: 23 June 2019

Entry: £5



Aurora Prize for Writing

Theme: Short stories, 2,000 words max (also poems)

Prize: £500 / £150 / One day course of your choice

Closing date: 26 June 2019

Entry: £9 / £7 subsequent entries




July Competitions


Writing Magazine Crime/Thriller Short Story Competition

Theme: 1,500 – 1,700 words

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

Closing date: 15 July 2019

Entry: £4 subscribers / £6 non




August Competitions


Curtis Brown First Novel Prize

Theme: Open, for adults (no children’s or YA).  Entrants must be unrepresented at time of entering. Up to 10,000 words of the opening plus 1 page synopsis, max 400 words.

Prize: £3,000 plus offer of representation by CB / Place on CB novel course plus mentoring / 4 x places on CB online course.

Closing date: 1 August 2019

Entry: Free



The Retreat West Novel Prize

Theme: For new, unagented authors. First 7,500 words plus 500 word max synopsis

Prize: Contract with Retreat West Books plus £500 advance / Full manuscript critique / Year’s Gold Author membership with RW

Closing date: 18 August 2019

Entry: £15



Blue Mesa Review Summer Contest

Theme: Open. 6,000 words max. Fiction and non-fiction

Prize: $500

Closing date: 31 August 2019

Entry: $12



Exeter Flash Fiction Competition

Theme: Open. 750 words max

Prize: £200 / £100 / £50

Closing date: 31 August 2019

Entry: £6



Exeter Short Story Prize and Trisha Ashley Award

Theme: Open, except for Trisha Ashley Award which must be humorous. 10,000 words max

Prize: £500 / £150 / £100. Trisha Ashley Award £200

Closing date: 31 August 2019

Entry: £12



Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Theme: Open. 2,000 words max

Prize: £1,000

Closing date: 31 August 2019

Entry: £18



Society of Women Writers & Journalists / Floella Benjamin Trophy

Theme: ‘Children are our future’, short story, essay, article, letter interview, monologue, 500 words max. Poems 40 lines max

Prize: £200 plus one free year’s membership

Closing date: 31 August 2019

Entry: £2.50





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.