Competition Time!

Yes, I’m full of competitions at the moment as I am keen to get myself out there and established as a writer.

One of the job boards I look at regularly, though not that often because it usually just links to other sites that have jobs listed, is I’ve found it a useful general resource so far and have used the site for some advice.

At the weekend though, I discovered the Writing Contests section of the site. A lot of these have entrance fees (expressed in US dollars) but there are many.

Another competition resource for you anyway and it is now free (unlike Duotrope which this year has started to charge for its services).

Goals for the Next Six Months

I’ve already discussed that I want to enter the James White Award and though I initially said that I would enter 50% Match?, they story I initially entered into Arcfinity, I’ve had a change of heart. I’m sure I have discussed this before but a couple of years ago I started a short story about a young boy who keeps having strange waking dreams in which he sees himself dressed as a nobleman on a sailing ship. Each dream sequence gets weirder, making it quite clear that this isn’t from anywhere or any time on Earth. Continue reading

James White deadline missed!

Damn it, damn it, damn it! I could have sworn when I looked last spring that the deadline was the end of January (as it was when I intended to enter last year’s competition) but it seems that sometime in 2012, the organisers of The James White Award decided to push forward the deadline for their 2012 competition to the end of December.

And I had my dinner date story (called 50% Match?) all wrapped up and ready to go too! Continue reading

Recycling competitions

The answer has been staring me in the face all along. Originally, I had written the dinner date story for the Arc 1.1 competition for entry into Arc 1.2 but due to the very late nature of the discovery and despite my best intentions, I didn’t get it done in time. The premise is that two people have been matched through a dating agency on their love of travel yet their ideas of travel are vastly different.

Continue reading

Arc 1.3 competition announced

So Arc 1.3 finally has a release date – Monday September 24th. By my reckoning that makes it a month overdue. Never mind, at least we can rest assured that the publication hasn’t died after the second edition. This would have been a shame because the first two editions have shown a lot of promise. If you haven’t bought either edition of this amazing digital magazine yet then get on over the Amazon to check them out.

They are already putting out a call for submissions for the next competition (scheduled to be published in Arc 1.4 due out December). The concept for this one is intriguing: Continue reading

Competitions and long term goals

All of this rewriting of old material and recognising how much my writing has improved has created a new hunger to create new material. I do miss it right now despite other things that take up my time. I know I’m planning to release my compilation for the end of the year but I’m ever conscious of the two major competitions I have entered before and how much I want to keep up with the game by continuing to enter them.

I’m thing ahead already to the James White Award (deadline January) and wondering whether my dinner date story which I had initially intended to send to the Arc 1.1 competition could be suitable. It has the right feel based on their guidelines and my understanding of previous winners.
Continue reading

I have my premise (Arc)

For the Arc 1.2 short story competition. You may remember a few days ago when I posted the email that there must be strong emphasis on credibility of technology and of human interest.

The solution came to me at the weekend and I’ve decided that the setting will be a dinner date between two people who have wildly different views on a shared common interest. My personal views strongly echo one of these characters but it has been fun seeing it from the other side. I’ve been playing around with ideas tonight and have a cursory introduction typed up.

One way or another, all will be revealed soon.

James White Award Jan 2012 deadline – and a thank you

I don’t think I’m going to make it. Any attempt to plough through to get it finished in time may sacrifice quality. I’d rather send a more polished piece of work for another competition or another year. I could if necessary make it a bit longer and send it to the Ron Hubbard competition but I’m not quite sure it will be suitable for their tastes. You never know though.

New targets coming soon!

A thank you.

Yesterday saw my 754th hit for the month. That figure means nothing in itself but it has – with six days to go – made January 2012 the busiest month for this blog. The previous busiest month was September 2011 which is amusing because I was away on holiday in Malta for half of the month and barely posted. This is a thanks to all of you who visit, subscribe and comment. If it wasn’t for the interaction of my visitors and subscribers I would almost certainly have either reduced my content or given it up as a useless waste of time.

Let’s see if we can hit 1000 for January! (246 to go in 6 days means average of 41 per day)

Here we go…

Deadline for The James White Award is the end of the month, giving me 18 days to finish my story and submit it. It is going to be a bit tight but I think I can manage it. It is currently just over 2000 words so I have (up to) another 4000 words to write. Pretty doable as it stands and I am looking forward to the challenge. I know vaguely where it is going but I’m not certain of how it is going to end. I have a few ideas to play with.

Continue reading

Elfwood in limbo and news about the L. Ron Hubbard competition

A couple of days ago I received this letter from the founder of Elfwood.


When I started Elfwood fifteen years ago, I could never dream of what
a success it would be and how I would affect the lives of thousands of
young artists and writers. I have received many emails over the years,
thanking me for everything from career paths chosen in the art world
thanks to Elfwood, to married couples who found each other in the

What started out as a tiny, script based web site running at a
computer club server at the university is now a full professional
site, with over a hundred thousand registered members and half a
million pieces of SciFi and Fantasy art and writings.

Lets say you spend all your time awake (Like 16 hour a day) constantly
browsing Elfwood – stopping by just quickly to look at each picture
for 15 seconds and each story for two minutes, then you would spend
over 200 days at the site!

However, after fifteen years as head of Elfwood I slowly become to
realize that Elfwood might need a new warden to further tend to it and
make it grow in a good way. Although we started a new company around
Elfwood some years ago, the income from the adveristments and the
patron donations isn’t enough to make me work with Elfwood as a
paid job. Sure, It does cover the running costs, the administration,
…and some more, but this isn’t a long term roadmap.

In order to stay up to date with the development on the Internet,
adding new functions and make Elfwood into something unique; more time
(and money) would be needed. The competition for the attention on
Internet is fierce today, with Facebook, Twitter and other sites
continuously expanding and growing. (Just to be clear, I don’t want
Elfwood to go there, we should stick to our roots and remain a niche
community for lovers of SciFi and Fantasy – not become a new
Facebook). In addition to this, being responsible for this and running
the site for fifteen years in my spare time at evenings and weekends
sure takes its toll – and I believe now is a good time to starting
thinking of how Elfwood could be managed differently…

One solution for Elfwood would be to find new investors, another to
sell the website to some company that could appreciate and leverage
the unique value of Elfwoods long term existence and extremely good
reputation and brand. Thanks to input from you, our users, we have
tons of great ideas on how to improve the site, and also new
commercial concepts that could be realized to add new revenue streams
(for example by creating an Elfwood yearbook or adding
merchandise). However – to realize these plans also need time and

Anyways, the reason I write to you is NOT to announce that I’ve sold
Elfwood (far from), but I wanted to share my ideas and plans with you.

I’d like to ask you for a favour – do you know some wealthy person
interested in SciFi / Fantasy who’d like to invest in Elfwood, or of
some nice company/orgnisation that could be a good candidate for
simply purchasing the entire site? – Just let me know… All ideas are
appreciated! I can be emailed at: thomas AT elfwood DOT com

Best regards,
Thomas Abrahamsson, Elfwood founder

I appreciate the hard work he has put in, I have had a page there for about ten years. The site is well presented and despite persistent technical issues, I appreciate that he and his team have put in a lot of hard work. It would be a shame if Thomas decided to shut the place down through exasperation and financial difficulties.

It still has the best format for writers and artists but the method of getting around is better suited to the artists than the writers. I rarely get comments now despite making a renewed effort to read and comment on the work of others. There is some superb work on there and when I signed up for at the beginning of the year it made me realise just how well Elfwood’s insistence on quality has worked.

In some ways Elfwood has moved with the times; in some way it has not. Though Thomas says that he had no desire to turn it into a social media site, I personally think he is missing a trick. There exists the potential for Elfwood to become a great network for budding sci fi and fantasy writers. I feel that Wyvern (the library) has been left to its own devices and has stagnated because of it. I revamp is certainly in order here.

I hope this gets resolved soon. Though I will probably not submit any more work to Elfwood, I will keep my library there for now.

L. Ron Hubbard “Writer’s of the Future” Competition

As much as I would like to say that I won, I didn’t. I’m not disheartened as I found the target of writing such a long short story for the purpose of a competition a reward in itself considering it had been so long since I’d written anything. I’m pleased with the finished result. I might put it up on the web somewhere, perhaps even Elfwood but I want to explore other avenues for sale / competitions yet.

There’s still the James White Award though due to studying GIS at the moment (I may take a second module) I’m worried I may not make the 2012 deadline. Updates – as ever – will be here in due course.