Romantic Novelists' Association

October 2020: Competition Monthly

12 October 2020

Competition Deadlines

This month I’ve been thinking about the importance of competition deadlines. If you don’t enter a competition by the date stated, you’ll almost certainly be disqualified. But is there an optimum time to enter competitions within the time frame? First of all you have to check whether a competition has an opening date – some do.

Let’s face it, many of us enter competitions as close to the deadline as we can, whether from being overkeen editors, having too much else to do or simply putting things off. However, there could be an advantage to getting our entries in sooner rather than later.

Consider the person doing the judging, or the initial judging if the long/short list is going on to someone else. Having judged competitions myself, I know that the entries that dribble in at the beginning of the time period get more attention than those that come with the deluge at the end. Judges in that position may well be looking for reasons to reject a story, having so many others to read. If something at the start of your story doesn’t appeal to them, they may not even read to the end, so your wonderful denouement could be for nought.

I realise I am also guilty of leaving competition entries to the last minute, but getting them in quickly may well increase our chances of being shortlisted. It certainly can’t do any harm.


Good luck to you all in your competition endeavours.


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





Ongoing competitions


Retreat West Monthly Micro Fiction Competition

Theme: New prompt on first Monday of each month, 100 words exactly

Prizes: 30% of entry fees and publication / 20% of entry fees and publication / free entry to the next month’s competition. Winner is decided by a vote

Closing date: Around one week after the prompt is posted.

Entry: £4





Closing soon


Secret Attic Short Story Competition

Theme: Open, 1,500 words max

Prizes: £30 plus publication

Closing date: 31 October 2020

Entry: Free




November Competitions


Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize

Theme: ‘Travel’, 3,000 words max

Prizes: Aus$5,000 / 2 x $750

Closing date: 16 November 2020

Entry: Aus$20



Erewash Themed Free Entry Writing Competition

Theme: ‘Course’, 500 words max

Prizes: £10 plus publication

Closing date: 26 November 2020

Entry: Free



Fiction Factory Short Story Competition

Theme: Open, 3,000 words max

Prizes: £200 / £50 / £25

Closing date: 30 November 2020

Entry: £6



Writers’ Bureau Flash Fiction Competition

Theme: Open, 500 words max

Prizes: £300 / £200 / £100 plus a course of your choice with all prizes

Closing date: 30 November 2020

Entry: £5




December Competitions


The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award

Theme: Open, 6,000 words max. Open to writers published in the UK

Prizes: £30,000 / £1,000 shortlisted. Inclusion in anthology plus audio version, which will pay and extra £1,000 each

Closing date: 4 December 2020

Entry: Free



Writing Magazine Epistolary Short Story Competition

Theme: Written as correspondence of some kind, 1,500 – 1,700 words

Prizes: £200 / £50

Closing date: 15 December 2020

Entry: £6 / £4 subscribers



Arkbound Writing Competition

Theme: ‘Hope’, 1,000 words max

Prizes: £100 / £50 / £25

Closing date: 31 December 2020

Entry: £3



Audio Arcadia’s Themed Short Story Competition

Theme: ‘Lockdown’ or general theme, 5,000 words max

Prizes: Fifteen winners will receive a share of the royalties on net sales of the paperback

Closing date: 31 December 2020

Entry: £6.50



The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction

Theme: Open, published or unpublished, 10,000 words max

Prizes: $1,000 / $100 for each finalist

Closing date: 31 December 2020

Entry: $15







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 in December. Her first historical saga, published by Hera Books this year, is called Heartbreak in the Valleys. 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.