Table of Contents:
It is always a good idea to actually read a couple issues of any Magazine or publication associated with a contest before you enter. Read the submission guidelines carefully. Pay attention to preferred formatting, word count, and any specific types of stories (i.e. violent, gory) that a publisher is not interested in.
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future – A contest for new writers in the categories of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, as well as for illustrators who are interested in the art of the same. Check out the site, make sure to read the contest submission rules, and watch one of the ceremonies! (Winning this contest has long been a goal of mine…) Keep in mind, however, that this is for non-professional writers. All the guidelines and definitions can be found on site.
A List of Twenty-Seven More Contests – rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m just going to link to someone who has already done a good deal of work on down writing contests. Thank you, Kelly Gurnett of The Write Life. All of the contests listed are free to enter and have cash prizes. Make sure to visit every site for every contest, read and understand the rules before submitting if you have any intention of making a serious entry. Make special note of which contest is number one on the list!
Clarkesworld Magazine – a Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine that publishes both in e-format and in a trade paperback that comes out annually.
Strange Horizons – A Science Fiction magazine online, you can read it right on the website. Includes poetry and reviews, as well as podcast readings of the website’s material.
National Novel Writing Month – nanowrimo – Exactly what it sounds like. November is the month. Are you ready?
The Mystery Place – Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: Mystery and Suspense! A venue for every kind of mystery and crime story, including, potentially, supernatural crime. Investigate both sites if you are interested in writing mystery and crime, as each magazine has a slightly different twist on the genre.
Asimov’s Science Fiction – one of the premier Science Fiction magazines of today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Asimov’s except Science Fiction, science fantasy, science fiction poetry. Make sure to check the site for details.
Analog Science Fiction – its predecessor, Astounding Science Fiction, was one of the first Science Fiction magazines, ever. Today it is known as Analog, a magazine for hard Science Fiction and science fact. If you put the “science” in Science Fiction, this magazine is for you.
The Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy (SF&F) – In addition to Science Fiction–which the editors complain they don’t get enough of–this is one of the premier magazines for submitting works of fantasy fiction. Make sure to read the guidelines.
Names – probably the handiest name resource on the Internet, this trio of tools can save the day if you’re having trouble naming your characters: Behind the Name, Behind the Name: Surnames, and the Random Name Generator.
Formatting – William Shunn provides a great couple of pieces to help you make certain your manuscript is ready to go. It comes in two flavors, Short Story and Novel. There’s a lot more good stuff on his website; check it out!
What Not to Do: Stories Seen Too Often – there are plenty of examples on the Internet of things to avoid when you are planning to submit a story for publication. But since you aren’t sitting in the editor’s chair, it’s hard to know what sorts of stories editors are not looking for. There are two great examples of lists created by magazine editors detailing exactly that: find them here at Strange Horizons and here at Clarkesworld. As pointed out at Strange Horizons, these lists are not to be taken as canonical or as be-all-end-all list of what editors will not accept. You may, like I did, find yourself trying to come up with ways to warp these overdone ideas/plots/stories into something salable. No matter what you take away from it, these lists are an interesting read. Funny at times, sometimes sad, sometimes a bit scary.
The Editor’s Blog – This particular site deserves its own separate link because The Editor’s Blog, home of Beth Hill, is chock full of useful information. In addition to blogs about grammar and punctuation, she makes recommendations on books about writing–I’ve nearly collected them all. There’s lots of good advice, all from the point of view of an editor. This is good, because The Editor is the very person you’re trying to impress, right? So it makes sense to visit and see what impresses Beth.
Your Logical Fallacy – A great resource for helping us understand what it is that people are thinking and doing in the heat of an argument. What sorts of Ad-Hominem attacks might a character use, and what exactly is that, anyway? Find out here!
chaoticshiny.com – contains a plethora of interesting generators for all sorts of things. You have to go take a look to see what the heck I’m talking about here. Trust me. I’m a writer.
The Alphabetizer – In case you are having difficulties with your word processor doing this particular job, you can use this website. Cut and paste, crunch, cut and paste. Mmmmm…. Paste.