Being Brave: Entering a Short Story Contest

Entering a short story contest is like putting on a bikini (or speedo if your a guy) and walking onto a crowded beach. In your mind everyone is looking and critiquing. Some of them actually are. It’s a cringe-worthy, anxiety-ridden moment. But you want to get in the ocean so you take a breath and step onto the sand.

My writing friend, Katrina Bender, has done this very very brave thing. She entered her short story,ย The Owl’s Omen, in a contest online over at Figment. If you have a moment, please check it out. It’s a Edgar Allen Poe meets Dickens, Victorian gothic with a touch of horror. An incredibly enjoyable read. I’m so impressed by her skills. She’s not just an awesome crit partner but a truly gifted writer!

The grand prize is having your story included in the print edition of Defy the Dark, $500 cash prize awarded by HarperCollins and five copies of Defy the Dark. My fingers are crossed for Katrina.

You can log in with your Facebook or Twitter account to leave a comment or give it a rating. Please show a little love for a fellow writer who’s stepping out onto the beach in an itsy-bitsy bikini.

Here’s her description of her story: A young poet in Victorian England decides to end his life, until he receives an unexpected visit from a most unearthly caller. Gothic fiction for the Defy the Dark contest. Inspired by the work of Dickens, Goethe, and of course Poe.

While you’re there, you might want to take a look at Figments upcoming contests. After reading Katrina’s short story, you might be inspired to Be Brave too!

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36 Responses to Being Brave: Entering a Short Story Contest

  1. lgzpoetry says:

    Haha, I can relate ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. limebirdbeth says:

    Good luck to Katrina! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Yes, you’re absolutely right. We should all be so brave.

  4. Cat Forsley says:

    So Kind of You K xx
    wow i will check her out ๐Ÿ™‚
    like your analogy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are so sweet – sounds like a great Short story xx
    cat xx

  5. Cat Forsley says:

    Okay i made an account there ๐Ÿ™‚ That place is like a Fun maze ๐Ÿ™‚
    I just saw your vote ๐Ÿ™‚
    Going there in a sec ๐Ÿ™‚
    inspired by your kindness Sweetheart xx

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    I wish your friend well. Nice of you to support her. Entering writing contests can certainly make one feel vulnerable and exposed. But look how far you got in the Amazon contest! One never knows until one tries. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! I entered several contests before Amazon and never placed. It’s really hard to put yourself out there. But you are right, you never know which contest will help your writing get noticed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 4amWriter says:

    I will most certainly go over and read her story. Although if it’s horror, I need to read in a well-lighted area with a phone by my side. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is very hard to put yourself out there, and somehow for me, contests are more difficult than submitting to an agent. I don’t know why. Wishing her the best of luck.

    • Thanks Kathryn! It’s not gory horror. It’s more Suspense horror ala Poe or Hitchcock. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It really is. Contests like this especially where you are putting your work out there for any and everyone to judge it. At least with an agent only you and the agent know what happened. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Cat Forsley says:

    Just signing out for the day – wanted to say Thank You for all that you are miss K xx
    u bring sunshine into my life every time i read you xo
    love xo

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    I will check it out. I haven’t had the courage to do any such thing, yet. But this month’s Writer’s Digest got me wondering if I should prep something for their 1,500-word short story contest next year…. Hmm….

    • One nice thing about the WD contest is that entries aren’t posted online. So it’s a little less exposing. I did it a couple years back. Never placed or anything. But it was a good way to start putting my stuff out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Do it next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Oh my gosh… Thank you so much for featuring my story in your blog! You’re the world’s best crit partner. ๐Ÿ˜€ I was out all day, so I didn’t think to check my email until past midnight. Then I noticed this in my inbox, and my mouth dropped open. This is the coolest encouragement I’ve ever received as a writer, and it means so much to me. Thank you again for all your help with editing this story, and also for keeping me sane every week. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You are so kind and generous with your time, and I don’t know what I’d do without you.

    P.S. I’ve been meaning to text you… I’ve been reading your new pages. I won’t get into specifics here, but WOW. You blew me away. Seriously. I enjoyed the first version I read, but I adore this new draft. Kai’s point of view is perfect. I couldn’t stop writing happy faces all over everything. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s nothing scarier than doing a huge revision like this, and you rose to the challenge. And your story is even better for it. I’m so proud of you!

    • You are very welcome! After our chat on Monday, I couldn’t stop thinking about how brave you are to put your work out there in a public forum. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a terrific story and I hope it wins a place in the anthology! Aw, it’s just me being proud of you. You worked so hard on the short story and created a wonderful piece of writing. Especially since you only had a few weeks to draft, edit, and polish! Proves you can write and write extremely well under deadline!

      Glad to be your beta/crit partner. And the sanity thing is just me reciprocating. You have kept me from becoming a lunatic on too many occasions to name. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And your ability to pull the story out of my head AMAZES me. I feel the same way!

      Aw thanks! I am so happy to hear that. It was really tough drafting all those new scenes and trying to get them as polished as the scenes that had been there for two years. ๐Ÿ™‚ So happy to hear this!!! It would have been 100 times worse without you there holding my hand and encouraging me every step of the way.


  11. I love short story contests. I used them a lot when I started writing, as a way to create deadlines and productivity. Then I realized that “short” is not my style; one turned into my first novel. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Can’t wait to check Katrina’s story out. Thanks for supporting fellow writers!

    • They are a great way to test out your writing and to learn to use your words carefully. You can’t be too wordy in a short story. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Six Train to Wisconsin started its life as a short story too. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s got a really cool story there. I hope you enjoy it!

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