I was delighted when Red Room, the wonderful site for authors, asked if I would give away three copies of my book as part of the prizes for their first short short story contest for Red Room authors. Here are the details, if you're a Red Room member, why not enter?
This week, Red Room author Robert Olen Butler, who won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for his collection of short stories, A Good Scent from Strange Mountain, will guest judge a short story contest for us. So write a short story and post it on your blog this week. There's no entry fee or run to the post office involved. Everyone will get to enjoy reading your story whether you win or not, since you enter by posting it on your blog. (For contest rules, please see below.)
Our esteemed guest judge, who will select a first, second, and a third place winner, has published eleven novels and five volumes of short fiction. The magazine Short Story recently published a retrospective of his work, which led him to unearth "Moving Day," his first published short story, which appeared in Redbook in 1974. His most recent novel is Hell, just released in paperback. It's a comic fantasy about a news reporter who dies and finds himself still delivering the evening news, this time in Hell.
Definitions of a "short story" include "fiction less than 10,000 words," "a brief, highly unified piece of fictional narrative," and "an essay written under the guise of fiction to protect the writer's family." Many literary journals and contests prefer 3,000 to 5,000 words for submissions.
We're calling this Red Room's "Scandalously Short Story Contest" because the word limit is only 1,000 words. That's something someone like Joyce Maynard could write in an hour but we'll give you two days to write, edit, and post it. When you're done, you might say: "It's so short, I can't believe it's a story!"We hope you'll participate. The first prize winner gets a trophy mailed to them. (Yes, an actual trophy!)
The first-, second-, and third-place winners will each receive a set of three books by Red Room authors. Margo Berdeshevsky's Beautiful Soon Enough (2009) is a collection that captures the lives of twenty-three arresting women. Robert Olen Butler called it a "thrillingly cutting-edge work of photos and short short stories flowing together." Tania Hershman founded The Short Review, a short-story collection review website. Her debut collection, The White Road and Other Stories, was published in 2008 by Salt Publishing. N. M. Kelby writes both nonfiction writers guides and fiction; her most recent book, 2009's ATravel Guide for Restless Hearts, collects stories "for those of us who suddenly find ourselves tourists in our own lives."As always, we'll feature all winners and other notable entries on the homepage the following week.
So post your scandalously short story contest entry as a blog entry todayFor help on how to blog, please see the directions here. We'll choose one of these blog posts to be featured on Red Room's homepage next week. Post your entry by Friday at 10:30 a.m. PDT (GMT-08:00).
Contest Rules: Only Red Room authors and members who joined before October 6th, 2010, are eligible. Entries will only be considered if posted on your Red Room blog by the deadline of Friday, October 8, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. PDT (GMT-0:8:00), and tagged correctly with the keyword term "short story contest" in the Blog Keyword Tags field so we can find it. (Please don't forget the tag. For more information about tags, click here.). Please do NOT post the story as any other content type (such as "story, article, or poem"). You must enter it as a blog entry or it will not be considered. Judging is at the sole discretion of Red Room. Your entry must consist of a short story that is 1,000 words or less. Email us if you have questions or need help with the contest.