Sunday, May 9, 2010

Perfectly Formed

Waterstones are running there first ever short story competition. They're looking for a story that is "small but perfectly formed." (?!) Its open to writers from the UK and Ireland. Stories of 2,000 words or under. Looking at the short stories I've written to date I think competitions and submission guidelines have certainly had an influence in the length of my work, most are 2,000 words or under, the longest being 3,000. There is a skill to writing shorts but does it limit a writer in some way if you don't explore a longer short story form? I'd be interested to see how I'd get along with a longer story of 5,000 to 10,000. http://www.wbqonline.com/feature.do?featured=505

12 comments:

Alesa Warcan said...

May the muses whisper you the trappings of a wonderful tale.

Theresa Milstein said...

2,000 or 3,000 words isn't very long. My blog posts come in just over 1,000. I haven't tried too many short stories.

Words A Day said...

Hi Theresa, its not long at all, a few pages. At first draft mine could be 5,000 and when the repetitions and flab are trimmed they work out at 2,000... i thought this was a "natural" process, but I wonder? Your post about your father would make a wonderful short story i think.

Words A Day said...

Thankyou Alesa!

Michael Farry said...

Yes Niamh and the same applies to poetry, too many poems under 40 lines because of competition limits. Let's have more Rimes of the Ancient Mariner.

Words A Day said...

Hear, Hear Michael! We're being stunted! Stunted!

Barbara Scully said...

Hi Niamh: firstly thanks for telling us about the Waterstones competition. I totally agree.. my first ever short story was about 4,000 words and I culled it to fit a competition and since then I find my stories seem to automatically end at about 2,000 - 2,500 words. So thanks also for reminding me to experiment with growing a longer story!

Words A Day said...

Thanks Barbara, its a hard one isnt it? Competitions and esp small magazines that publish short stories do a great job and are very necessary but a side effect of an emerging writers dependence on these outlets for their work could be a generation of writers whose form is influences not by the content of their writing but submission guidleines... (thats possibly a generalised exaggeration, i tend towards those! Next post could be "Death of the long short story"!)

Ann said...

Thanks for the information on the Waterstone competition. Small but perfectly formed.

I find most of my stories are edging towards the 2000 words. I have to make a real effort to expand on that and I need to practice writing longer.

Words A Day said...

hi Ann - Thanks and same here!
I was also thinking further about this and wondering who/where would publish my (yet to be written) 10,00O word story)? Does anyone know of a publication who publishes longer work?

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for the heads-up about the competition and good luck writing!

Words A Day said...

Thanks Talli!