We’re ready for the big party at the BSSA 2017 Last Minute Club with entries pinging into the entry email inbox every few minutes. We’re expecting this to continue until the stroke of midnight, Monday May 1st. Then the party will really be in full swing.
If you’re a procrastinator, read this interesting article Being a procrastinator myself, I am rather taken with the idea that delaying until the last minute increases creativity.
So what happens after we receive your last minute entries? Our band of experienced readers, who are all writers of different genders and ages, read batches of stories as they come in. All stories are read blind. Two readers read each one and decide together whether to submit stories to the long list.
The final long list and the short list is agreed by the BSSA team. Literary Agent Euan Thorneycroft is our short list judge. He’ll select the winners. We expect the final results to be out by the end of July. Subscribe on this site to receive email alerts and be the first to know who’s won.
Jude. April 29th.
We close at midnight Monday 1st May. Give yourself the chance of hitting the bull’s eye and winning £1000 first prize, second prize of £200, third prize of £100, £50 prize for an unpublished writer or £50 local prize by checking —
- The rules — there are always a number of writers who submit stories way over the word limit of 2200 words. Or put their names on stories. Don’t risk getting disqualified for those reasons.
- Give our readers a pleasant reading experience by writing in a clear font. Bold fonts are not easy. Or any fancy italics or Comic Sans. Times New Roman is a safe bet.
- If you are entering online, please be sure to send your stories and paypal receipts to the correct email address which is on the entry page.
- Put the correct postage on your hard copy stories.
Finally give your story a final once over for typos etc. We’re not too strict here, but a beautifully presented story, is a bonus. Zap a few adjectives and adverbs maybe,. Check the beginning paragraph. Does it hook the reader in? Check the final paragraph. Does it feel satisfying, not too cosy, not too obscure? What about the title? Does it add something to the story
Good luck! Our readers are already on the case and results will be out in mid or late July.
BSSA team April 28th.
How do you create a good title? So much has been written about this. Good ones stay with you for ever. I love Raymond Carver’s famous short story title, which is also the title of one of his collections, “What we talk about when we talk about love.” Gordon Lish, his editor, retitled it “I Am Going to Sit Down.” but thankfully, it was never published in that version.
There’s a fun thing I saw recently somewhere online, which suggested writing bad versions of famous titles of novels and short stories. For example, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ could be ‘The Fruits of Anger’. Worse, another Steinbeck novel. ‘Of Mice and Men’ could be translated into ‘Of Rodents and Males.”What about ‘Offspring and Their Romantic Partners’? Or ‘Fondness in the Season of the Plague’. Silly, but useful to study the originals and see how they work. Is it the weight of the words, or what they encompass about the book. Is it the rhythm or the length of the title?
Some of the most used titles for short stories are ‘The Gift’, ‘Dust’, ‘Flight’.”Lost and Found’, ‘Memories’, ‘Skin.’ We have had several entries with these titles at Bath Short Story Award. One year we had two stories on the short list titled ‘Flight’. They were good stories, but different titles could have reflected something else in the piece and may have made them even stronger.
Maybe the words in the picture on this post could inspire a short story. Or a title?
So before you send in your entry, check your title. Does it enhance your story? Could you extend or contract it? Is it a cliche or overused? Have fun making title revisions. And remember, we close in two weeks on 1st May.
BSSA team member, Jude, April 2017.