Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Give Your Story Its Best Chance


Following our recent short story competition, I thought I would post on this important subject. Some of those entering the 'Ridiculous' Short Story Competition, shot themselves in the foot, so to speak, by the way they set out their documents.

Title Page

This is your first impression. Make it count. Set out all the information in an orderly and clear way. You should include your name, contact details with email address and phone number, title of the story and word count. Also include your author name if different from your true appellation. This could be set out as follows:

Mr. N. Nobody,
Nowhere Cottage,
Somewhere Lane,

10100 500010


                                       A MURDER IN MIDDLESHIRE


                                                   NICK NOBODY

Word Count: 1439


You should not put your name on the story itself, but you SHOULD put the title and page number on each sheet in case pages become separated. Unless otherwise stated in the competition rules, it is a good idea to either put the story in a clear plastic punched pocket or hold the sheets together with a paper clip. It is customary to put the title in the header and the page number in the centre of the footer.

Check the document settings on your computer programme. Some put an extra space between paragraphs and this is not normally required. Double space the text only on A4 paper, indent the start of each paragraph and also each line of dialogue. 12pt font is the standard size; Times New Roman and Arial probably the most common type in the UK. Whichever font you choose, it must be clear and easy to read.

Do not fold your entry.

Check competition rules carefully as some larger comps will reject out of hand any entry which does not, in any way, comply with their requirements.

Also remember to check spelling and punctuation!

Word Count

Ensure your story is within the word count for the competition. If submitting to magazines, this may be a little bit flexible, but it is not so for competitions. If your story exceeds the stated word count, it will not be considered and you will lose your entry fee.

Entry Fee

Ensure you send the correct amount ~ and check the currency in which it should be submitted! $5 is not the same as £5! It might seem obvious, but it is amazing how easy such mistakes are to make.

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