I consider poetry my first love. However, I have also written short stories and have had some success with this genre. Back in college, my story, Playground in My Mind was a finalist in the Heinemann Short Story competition. Later in the academic year when my dorm magazine held a writing contest which allowed for entry of previously published work, I entered my same story. To my delight, my story placed first, I earned an attractive monetary prize, and my story lived on in the magazine.
My second success occurred when I entered the Tallahassee Writers Association’s short story competition last year. My entry, Rashida’s Letter, tied for third place. It was eventually published in their anthology, The Seven Hills Review, and I also benefited from valuable feedback from one of the judges. This is after another publisher had previously passed on my story!
If you like writing short stories, but are a bit discouraged by your efforts so far, don’t lose hope. Below are a few tips I would like to share:
1. Look out for short story competitions. Funds for Writers is a great place for this. You may think your story is not good enough, but you will never know until you enter.
2. Don’t limit yourself to just contests in the United States. Think global. Another plus is that some contests have no entry fees.
3. Whether your stories win contests or not, you can still compile them in a short story collection, which is what I eventually hope to do. It is ideal if your stories follow a central theme or sub-themes, but they don’t have to. You can then query publishers who are interested in short stories.
4. Join a writing group and bond with writers who like the short story genre.
So, step out of your comfort zone and be bold. Enter a contest. Breathe new life into old stories by finding creative ways to re-use them.
Care to share your tips or experience with the short story?