How about a contest that is free to enter and offers prizes for your cleverest twenty-five words? I received this announcement recently for the Gotham Writer’s Workshop, “Hint Fiction Writing Contest.”
As they define it, “hint fiction” is a complete story of no more than twenty-five words that hints “at a larger chain of events.” The word limit does not include the title. Here is an example given in the announcement:
Corrections & Clarifications
It was Fredrick Miller, not his murdered son Matthew, who was executed Monday night at Henshaw Prison.
The deadline for entries is October 11, one entry per person. It’s anything but easy, of course, but the interesting thing is, one can begin with almost any image or phrase that comes to mind, and create something complete from it in one sitting – who knows, perhaps the seed of something larger. After reading the announcement, the phrase, “ends of the earth” popped to mind and I sat down with a cup of coffee and a pencil and came up with a credible first draft. Beats crosswords any day IMO.
One caution: last fall I entered a “first hundred and fifty word” contest from these folks (you would already know if I’d won) and I continue to get periodic announcements from them. I’m sure there is a way to opt out, but I haven’t looked for it, since additional interesting tidbits like this come along, and there is a delete key for the rest.
LATE BREAKING NEWS:
While we’re at it, this arrived in my inbox this morning, an announcement for a more traditional (5000 word) short story contest from Writer’s Digest:
For those who delight in short fiction, why not?