I am delighted to share details of the first-ever Bouncin’ and Behavin’ writing competition.
We are keeping things simple and running this as a kind of test run to see how much interest is out there and what kind of submissions we receive. In future, we may accept specific entries for Japanese poetry or horror stories, for example.
There are three types of submission. These are snippets, short stories, and poems.
Snippets (600 words max.)
You will have to be sharp, snappy and engaging if you want to produce a winning snippet. Think of this as a trailer. You have 600 words (and not a single word more) to impress our judges and leave them hungry for more.
Snippets do not have to contain a beginning, middle, and end. They don’t have to be complete stories. They don’t even have to be complete scenes. If you want to throw the reader into the action from the first sentence, go right ahead.
Like, for example:
“Coffee spurted out of Bill’s mouth like a crazy cloud of dark brown sneeze gunk. What the hell had he just heard? ‘You did what?’ he managed to splutter, oblivious to the mess he’d made of his friend’s white shirt…’”
You don’t have to let the reader know what Bill’s friend said. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to throw other random ideas in there to keep your audience guessing or finish with a bombshell. You have one job – leave the judges wanting more.
Of course, it goes without saying that our judges will expect your writing to shine. You might decide to write in the vernacular, throw all conventions out of the window and share a spectacular 600-word train of thought. Be as ambitious as you want, but make sure you know what you’re doing.
No preamble or explanation is permitted. You have 600 words, not 600 words PLUS a sales pitch. Let your work do the talking.
Short stories (1500 words max.)
This is your chance to shine as a short-story writer. Pick any genre you like from science fiction to erotic fantasy, from thriller to gory horror, and from romantic comedy to someone’s journey of self-discovery.
Unlike the snippets, your short story must be a complete piece of work with a start, middle, end, and a clear plotline. Does that mean all loose ends must be tied up by the end? There’s no straightforward answer to that question.
Think of the movies you have seen and the novels you have read. You may choose to leave it to the reader to decide how it ended, but that strategy could backfire if you leave them frustrated.
Again, do not send any other supporting text with your submission. Your short story must tell the judges everything they need to know.
Poems (300 words max.)
This is a completely open category. You can send any kind of poetry you want, but a three-line haiku poem is going to be more stringently judged than a three-minute read. That is, you have less room for error with a 17-syllable poem – you must make the most of every single syllable.
You must not send any other text with your poem. It will not be read, and there is a limit of 300 words.
We have selected two primary judges. Suzy Jacobson Cherry and Brandon Ellrich are regular writers for Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Blogs and Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Poems.
The founder of Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Blogs, Jason Provencio, and I will also act as judges to ensure extra objectivity. With four judges in total, winners can be assured they’ve earned their prize!
Collectively, judges will be deciding on a set of criteria for scoring submissions. They will be considering elements such as structure, imagery, vocabulary, and grammar. More than anything, you will be judged for your creativity.
Some people like to purposely break the rules but if you are going to stray away from the norm, you will need to win the judges over with your unique style, charisma, and skill with words.
The fee is $25 per entry, and that gives you three bites of the cherry:
- One snippet
- One short story
- One poem
You don’t have to submit a piece of work for each category, but you cannot send more than one per category. That is, you might send one snippet on its own or one short story, but you can’t submit two poems or three snippets.
We are looking for original work.
- Your submission must be your work
- You must not have published your submission elsewhere
- In entering it into the competition, you give us the right to publish it in Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Blogs, Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Poems, AND any other publications we launch in print or online
There are six prizes up for grabs.
Fiction writing (short story or snippet)
First prize: $150
Second prize: $100
Third prize: $50
Poetry (any type)
First prize: $150
Second prize: $100
Third prize: $50
The closing date for entries is midday, Wednesday, 31 May 2023 (or May 31 as my American friends would say). We will announce the winners by the end of June 2023.
We have planned for at least 50 entries, and we are confident that we will exceed this target. In the unlikely event that we receive fewer than 50 entries by the closing date, we will either
- (a) extend the closing date, or
- (b) reduce the size of the prizes proportionally
Failing that, we would have to cancel the competition and issue refunds.
As well as the cash prizes, we have another surprise for competition winners.
Jason and I are publishing a book later in the year. The book will feature work from the writers and poets who make our publications so glorious.
All competition winners will be guaranteed inclusion in the publication.
First-prize winners will be invited to submit up to five pieces of work plus their winning pieces.
Second-prize winners will be invited to submit up to three pieces of work plus their winning pieces.
Third-prize winners will be invited to submit one piece of work plus their winning pieces.