Entering writing competitions is a good way to motivate a writer to finish and polish projects, as well as to build up the courage necessary to keep hitting the “Send” button. Contests can also be a way to judge a writer’s progress. But speculative fiction pieces can be lost in the sea of entries in a general fiction category. Here are four contests that specialize in science fiction, fantasy or horror submissions with deadlines between March 31 and May 15, 2014. A few of the contests are free and some offer feedback for an extra charge. Good luck!
Writers of the Future Contest
An opportunity for new and amateur writers of unpublished science fiction or fantasy short stories or novelettes up to 17,000 words. Entrants retain all publication rights. Prizes every three months: $1,000, $750, $500. Quarterly first-place winners are eligible for the Annual Grand Prize of $5,000. No entry fee. Current quarterly deadline: March 31.
The Stringybark Future Times Short Story Award
What will the future bring? How will we respond to climate change? Are robots more than vacuum cleaners? Will death be conquered? Let your mind speculate about our near or distant future. Any story set after 2020 meets the criteria for inclusion. Maximum 1500 words. Feedback (critique) service available. Prizes $350, $150, $75 and other non-cash prizes. International entries welcome. $9.95 (AUS) entry fee. Deadline April 13, 2014.
PARSEC Short Story Contest
The contest is open to non-professional writers (those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent). Unpublished science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories up to 3500 words. Contest theme: “PARCH.” Stories must be original, unpublished, and unsold. Prizes $200, $100, $50. No entry fee. Deadline April 30, 2014.
SouthWest Writers 32nd International Writing Contest
The contest is open to all original, unpublished work by English-language writers. A First, Second, and Third Place winner will be judged in each of 10 categories – category 5 is for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror short stories up to 6,000 words. Prizes: $300, $200, $150. Critique service available. Early entry deadline: May 1, 2014 (SWW members $20, nonmembers $30). Late deadline: May 15, 2014 (extra fee applies).