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Another writers' contest

I've learned a lot from entering writers' contests. Most importantly, when faced with a rigid rule on how many pages I could enter, I've learned to cut, cut cut! Do you really need that adjective? What, if anything, does that sentence add to the reader's knowledge of the character? Does it advance the plot? If it doesn't help, then it goes.

But there are writers' contests and then there are money-making scams. I recently stumbled over a contest that I'm pretty sure isn't a scam because for one thing, there's no entry fee. The rules are written in such forbidding language that they put me off at first, but on reading them carefully, I don't think there's a reason not to recommend it. Everyone should read them carefully, though, to know what they're getting into.

It's the Heinlein Society contest. The rules say the story must never have been published before (no surprise there) although it doesn't matter if the writer has published or not. The winning stories (those awarded cash prizes) will be those that "reflect the spirit, ideas, and philosophies" of Robert A. Heinlein. First prize is $5,000, second is $2,000, and third is $1,000. The deadline is next June 1, and the length limit is 15,000 words, quite long for a short story contest.

If you're interested, read up on it. Be aware that you can't submit the story anywhere else. "Simultaneous submissions to commercial publishers or other contests are not allowed. Rights of first publication for entered stories and the right to use contestant's name and image for publicity purposes shall be granted to The Heinlein Society for duration of one year following the contest, i.e., until July 7, 2009."

Apparently, they may decide to publish an anthology of stories, including not only the three winners but some non-winners as well. If you enter, you are in effect submitting for the anthology, too, and you have to sign a publishing contract "at standard SFWA professional rates."

Still, if it's a story that fits their criteria it could be a good idea. For one thing, if your story fits Heinlein's philosophy, it's probably not in style with today's market, so it's fine if it takes a year for it to free up if it doesn't win.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 7th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
Heinlein Society Looks Good -- and boy is that good money!
I am amazed at that prize money, but it seems legit. I met some people from the Heinlein Society at MileHiCon.

I'm thinking they may have certain goals in mind: for one, they may want to revive the old-fashioned SF that thrived in Heinlein's day, and to that I say, darned good.

They are also probably recruiting for Heinlein Society membership, and that's good, too.

I especially like the fact that they'll look at long stories. In SF, it's hard to develop characters, setting, and concept in less than about 5000 words, and if the plot has any complexity, there goes another 2000 or 3000.

So, wow, thanks for this lead. How can you lose? I'm had stories stagnate at smallpress zines that paid a quarter cent a word.
Dec. 7th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Heinlein Society Looks Good -- and boy is that good money!
Go for it! You've got time, too.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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