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  1. #1

    The November/December 2014 Short Story Contest!

    THEME: Leftovers
    WORD COUNT LIMIT: 3,000 - 7,500 words
    FIRM DEADLINE: December 23, 2014 (5pm Eastern Standard Time | 2pm Pacific | 10pm London | 12am December 24 Istanbul | 9am December 24 Sydney Australia)

    Got a story that you meant to finish, but never did? In honor of one of the great holidays on the American calendar in November, Thanksgiving, I'm going with the theme of "Leftovers".

    It's NaNoWiMo, Thanksgiving (for us Yanks), and Christmas in most of the Western world, which means that there won't be a lot of time for people to sit down and write a brand new story, so I'm offering everyone a bit of an out. If you've got some "leftovers" sitting in your quiver; stories that you started but never finished, perhaps even for a contest here, go ahead, finish them, polish it up and submit it! As a bonus, if it was for a contest here, let us know for which one you originally intended to write your story. The "leftover" story must still have speculative fiction elements in it (fantasy, sci-fi, horror).

    Additionally, if you want to go ahead and write a new story with the theme of "Leftovers", have at it! I'd personally be interested to see what someone comes up with using this theme.

    Let's get a boatload of entries for this one! We had six this past go-round, and I think we can easily top that. I know a lot of you have some unfinished gems sitting around!

    If you are new to the contests, here's a general outline of what to do:

    1) Think of a story idea (or find an unfinished one that is sitting around) that includes speculative fiction elements (fantasy, science fiction, horror elements)
    2) Write/finish story
    3) Edit story (3 times!)
    4) Post story in the Stories sub-forum.
    5) Come back here and let us know that you posted your story and provide a link to that story (makes it easier for me to find your story when it comes time to vote).
    6) Read the other entries and offer comments that help the writer both know what they did right and what they did wrong (in your humble opinion)
    7) Vote when the voting poll goes up. I plan to make a post for a vote immediately after the close of the contest, and plan for voting to end on December 28 at 5pm Eastern Standard Time.

    The winner takes over the next contest and has the honor of picking its theme, unless it's me, as I will be out-of-contact starting December 30, 2014. If I somehow manage to win, the honor of hosting the next contest goes to the runner-up.

    CONTEST GUIDELINES:
    PG-13 - generally, the forum restricts its contents to what would be acceptable at the PG-13 rating. However, we are lenient for creative purposes in the writing forum (and I am certainly pretty lenient - I never want restrictions getting in the way of creativity). Please warn readers if your story contains adult situations by putting "NSFW" in the title.

    Once you post your contest entry, we discourage writers from altering the original text submitted. While it may be okay to change a few typos here and there, please do not revise your piece substantially. If you would like to respond to feedback, you are encouraged to post your revision within the thread (but not the original post).

    Please refrain from voting for your own story.

  2. #2
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Awesome theme!

    I'll definitely get something in. I'm thinking I might write something new, though. Leftovers brings up so many good ideas.

  3. #3
    Beast on Board Luka Datas's Avatar
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    great theme

    I've had an idea percolating in my kettle for ages, that if written around this precise theme, might get its serious boil on.

    Heads down. Tail-feathers up... and we're off and... not moving too much.

  4. #4
    sf-icionado / horr-orator Andrew Leon Hudson's Avatar
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    Just before I have a moan - I also like the theme, Sarunus!

    However, I meant to raise an issue with Nila on the voting thread of last month's contest and forgot, so I'm going to do it here instead: Is there a reason why the maximum word count has jumped from 5k to 7k (now 7.5) on the "short" story contests?

    There's a few reasons why I'm not convinced it's a good plan. On a fairly trivial level, reading off a monitor isn't the most comfortable way to do fiction, so the longer a story is the less fun it is too, but that's not the biggest problem. The contests have always been a little flexible on word counts, I think - and that's fine, I'm sure no-one thinks an entry should be dismissed for running a hundred words over. However, it's worth remembering that writers will often write to the limit set. I wasn't at all surprised to see that last month's 7k-firm provided us with three entries over 5k, one just by ten percent or so but two approaching the upper edge.

    I feel like the discipline of hitting a workable submission target is being lost. 5k is a common limit, it's even too long for some good markets, whereas 7-thou-plus is the kind of territory that makes me wonder what the value to the craft is.

    Also (and I mean this not as a criticism but a statement of fact) few people are lucky enough to be able to churn out superbly polished work in just a month alongside everything else they might have on their plates in life - the prospect of reading ever more sprawling first draft stories doesn't fill me with major anticipation. Even if I don't enter in a given contest, I enjoy them and want to offer feedback - but obviously it's not fair to read some entries and not others. Unlike the workshop thread, where I might simply not volunteer to read something longer than I have time or inclination to, in effect with the contests it is obligatory: read one, read them all.

    Just saying.

  5. #5
    It's a fair criticism, but the reason I went with the longer word limit is that I anticipated that at least a few people would be dusting off old stories for submission. My habit, when dusting off old stories, seems to be to add quite a bit to it; after all, you are injecting new life into the story. I trend toward not stifling the creative process, so I didn't want word count getting in the way of a good story, if at all possible. Some may disagree, but I hope it works out for the best.

    For many around here (though not me), the time period of December 23 - December 28 is pretty lax on the work front (even if 24-25th is family heavy), so I elected to end the contest then to provide a decent window for reading and voting.

    I'll let the chips fall where they may. I hope participation is high for writing and voting, but if not...well, it is what it is.

  6. #6
    sf-icionado / horr-orator Andrew Leon Hudson's Avatar
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    Okay, that's probably true enough as far as picking up old things is concerned. It'll be a happy new year for me though if the Jan-Feb winner claps us all in creative irons!

  7. #7
    Beast on Board Luka Datas's Avatar
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    eventual motion

    I've done something I've never done before. An actual story treatment. A 1143 word story treatment. Feel almost like a professional.

    Yeah with the story limit. I probably wont get anywhere near it but it's good to know the lee-way's there if the story runs long.

    Probably won't though. Got to research everything in the story because I know almost nothing about any of the science or medicine I'm gonna be writing about. So I may even need to pad it out to hit the 3000 min. I should be OK though.
    Last edited by Luka Datas; November 3rd, 2014 at 09:25 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User Facing's Avatar
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    I promised myself I'd enter the contest this time no matter what the topic. Now that it's come to it I'm not sure what is more frightening, dusting off an unfinished story or exploring the furthest reaches of my fridge looking for inspiration. I'm not sure what I'll write but...I'm in.

  9. #9
    I did find the length of the stories daunting and so didn't get a chance to read them or vote, but then Sept-Oct is the worst time of year for me as it's the start of our new semester (I work at a uni) so I probably wouldn't have read them even if they'd hit 5000.

    I'd prefer to aim for 5000, as it's a good publishable length.

    Not sure about the theme. All I can think of at the moment is that HBO tv show that's currently showing here in the UK. Anybody inspired in different directions?

  10. #10
    Beast on Board Luka Datas's Avatar
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    Publishable Length?

    I looked up something about one of the SF publishers the other day and I've cut and pasted this directly across from their (Asimov's) 'manuscript (submission) guidelines' page. Isn't this representative of the SF market? Is the Fantasy market totally different?

    -----------------------

    Asimovís Science Fiction magazine is an established market for science fiction stories. Asimovís pays 8-10 cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words, and 8-8.5 cents per word for longer material. (Works between 7500 and approximately 10,000 words by authors who make more than 8 cents a word for short stories will receive a flat rate that will be no less than payment would be for a shorter story.) We seldom buy stories shorter than 1,000 words or longer than 20,000 words, and we donít serialize novels.

    -----------------------

    I suppose I'm gonna read the stories regardless of how long they run because I don't actually read them anyway. I listen to them with my kindles text to speech. Because I always lose my place as soon as I try to scroll down the screen and reading from a computer screen also gives me a headache. I don't know how any of you can even read a flash story that way.

  11. #11
    There are a couple of really neat browser plugins that will send the text of a webpage to your kindle so I often use those, though for my one entry to the short story competiton, I provided a download as well.

  12. #12
    Beast on Board Luka Datas's Avatar
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    I do it the least modern way, maybe.

    I copy and paste the stories from SFF over to notepad. Save it as a text file then plug my kindle into my computer and copy and paste the text file into the documents folder on the kindle.

    That way I can listen to the story while I'm drawing or tidying up or driving around.
    Last edited by Luka Datas; November 4th, 2014 at 09:37 AM.

  13. #13
    We parley for nobody norm's Avatar
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    Today I picked up my story that I'd been working on last month; I'm up to almost 5300 words. Always feels good to get some decent writing done.

    It's been a long time since I've really participated on these forums; I haven't read any of the stories that have been posted in quite some time. I hope that everyone is putting forth their best efforts. I have a terrible habit of giving up on the stories I write, partly because I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and feel as though much of what I write just isn't good enough. . . But one of these days I'm actually going to finish and submit a story, and when that day comes. . .

    Well, I hope you're all ready to put up a good fight. I don't throw my hat into the ring often these days, but when I do, I show no mercy.

  14. #14
    Registered User Facing's Avatar
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    I've posted a story for the contest. A big thank you to Luka for sending me a PM pointing out that I had to paste a link to it here. I'm not sure how long it wouldn't have taken me to figure that out.

    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showt...-to-Broughdale

  15. #15
    Registered User D-Doc's Avatar
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