Submitting your writing

As it happens, I’ve been reading a lot of short story submissions recently – some of them as a judge for the wonderful Hysteria short story competition and others for a number of courses and publication opportunities.

So what’s leapt out at me from all this? A lot of mental notes for the number of ways “housekeeping” issues can result in wonderful writing failing to make it onto a longlist or shortlist. There are hundreds of “How to win short story competition” blogs out there and I’m not convinced of the utility of these. The real answer – write a good short story – is not, perhaps terribly helpful…

So, most of these tips have nothing to do with the quality of the writing. I’m not sure that it’s possible to teach people how to write a good story, and I’m certain that I shouldn’t be the teacher. But here are the other tips – the ones that’ll stop even your best story from winning, being accepted or being shortlisted. Most of them will seem like common sense, but I find that sometimes my common sense needs an explicit reminder.

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