Short story competitions are a great way to get another story out into the world; it’s like taking an eager puppy to the park and letting it loose. This time of year sees a string of submission deadlines for big short story prizes – or, as I like to call it, The Attack of the Killer Bs: Bath, Bristol and Bridport. Oh, and another B has landed this year as well: the inaugural Brighton Prize.

It’s enough to give anyone the hee-B gee-Bs.

But they’re all great competitions and are flying the flag for the mighty short story form. After all, short stories are the ninjas of fiction: cunning, short on words, and able to deliver the killer blow in the least amount of time.

One good thing about a competition is the deadline: it pushes you to create, to finish, and sometimes you end up with a story you had no idea you would write just a few weeks before, let alone complete and send off. And that’s got to be a good thing.

Also, competition winners and shortlisters get noticed by agents and publishers, and who knows where that might lead? And submitting a story gives you that hope, that aching hope that maybe, just maybe, your story will make it to the longlist, and maybe further still…

And you gotta have hope, intcha? It gets you up in the morning.

The downside, of course, is that this hope might turn to disappointment as you scroll down that longlist and reach the bottom without seeing the letters that make up your name, arranged in the right order.


But then again, after the sorrow comes the spring; there’s always another competition, another journal looking for entries. There’s always hope…

I’ve just sent a story to the Bath Short Story Award, ran out of time for Brighton, and I’ve got stories brewing for Bristol and Bridport. Busy, busy, busy.

The Attack of the Killer Bs is definitely in full swing, and I’m making like a ninja…


*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*  If you’ve got a spare few minutes, give one of my short stories a go. Click on the STORIES tab, or here, and take your pick.

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