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St Ives short story competition: calling all writers!

Is there a Tolstoy or Austen in our midst?

Whether you’re a seasoned novelist or have just always enjoyed dabbling, the inaugural St Ives short story competition is for you! In conjunction with the Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre, we’re offering a workshop voucher and one-year membership to the KSP Writers’ Centre for the best short story (500-800 words), as judged by published author and experienced judge Carolyn Wren. Second and third place will also receive a one-year membership.

What are we looking for?

Creativity! There are no boundaries on what you can submit outside the word limit. Make it funny, sad, exciting, descriptive, fiction, non-fiction, modern, ancient or anything in between – the genre is up to you.

Tips for preparing your short story.
500 – 800 words is a tiny amount to tell an entire story. Here are some tips from judge Carolyn Wren and the KSP Writers’ Centre that may help.

  • Most short story writers get caught up with the beginning and end up rushing the end. Try to pace your story, giving the reader full enjoyment right to the final word. To give you an idea, here are some classic concise first lines from novels, each one setting a scene in a single sentence.
    »» All this happened, more or less. — Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
    »» Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature. — Anita Brookner, The Debut (1981)
    »» Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. — George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872)
    »» He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. — Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)
    »» It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. — Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  • Another classic trap of short story writing is unnecessary detail. I’ll always remember some advice I was given when I first started writing. ‘If a character walks into a room and throws his keys on the table, do not describe the keys, or the table, unless both are essential to the plot.’
  • The same thing goes with minor character details. Use those intricate details to bring your major characters to life. And leave the minor characters to the reader’s imagination.
  • Editing is important. It is also subjective. Yes, the story needs to be punctuated, to allow it to flow, but do not obsess over every comma and every full stop. Contest judges would rather ‘feel’ the story and ‘hear’ your writer’s voice.
  • If you need an extra hand constructing your story, consider dropping in to the KSP Writers’ Centre. On Saturday May 19 an award-winning author is presenting a workshop on ‘How to Find the Story’ which may help you with ideas. Otherwise, KSP Writers’ Centre offers regular writing groups that you can share your story with and gain helpful feedback from fellow writers. Plus enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake! The Tuesday Writers Circle on Tuesday mornings and Writefree Women’s Writing Group on Wednesday mornings are a good place to start. Visit the KSP Writers’ Centre website for more information: www.kspwriterscentre.com

Competition T&Cs

1. Entries are open to St Ives Retirement Village residents only.

2. Entries are to be a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 800 words.

3. Entries must be submitted by 5.00pm on 31st May 2018.

4. Entries are to be submitted via email to thrive@stivesretirementliving.com.au. If unable to email, please speak to the staff at Village Reception for assistance.

5. Winners will be selected by Carolyn Wren.

6. Winners will be notified by July 1, with winners announced in the next edition of Thrive.

7. Prizes are non-transferrable and cannot be redeemed for cash.

8. By submitting their story to the competition, entrants give St Ives permission to publish their piece across print and online publications (including but not limited to Thrive magazine, Village newsletters, St Ives website, social media).