Life sucks. Then it goes on. Six-word memoirs

Or alternatively: My constant cheeriness drives people nuts. Two terrible examples of a six-word memoir.

 

 

I don’t know if you know Smith Magazine? I may have mentioned them before. They’re a class act, (published by TED Books, a division of the TED Conference), and they invented the six-word memoir, and to date they’ve published seven volumes of them. It’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a really good six word memoir, but you can see some of the winning ones here.

Now they’ve raised the bar slightly, or maybe quite a bit, depending on how talented you are. For their next book, they’re looking for illustrations to go with the memoir, and they have to be done by the author, and – the author has to be a student – of any age. The book will be entitled: Things Don’t Have to be Complicated: The Art of Six-Word Memoirs by Students of the World.

Here are some of the current entries. Try not to get discouraged…they’re good.

You can read the submission guidelines here, and they’re taking submissions through October 15th.

Surely you can do better than I did here?

Still time to submit an audio story

I had this email from the Missouri Review yesterday. If you’ve been putting off entering – now’s your chance.

We wanted to let you know that The Missouri Review has decided to extend the deadline of our 2012 Audio Competition by an additional week. The new online submission system and our pay-by-donation entry fee caused some confusion early on, and we would like to give all entrants a chance to adjust to those changes. Entries must now be postmarked or emailed to us no later than Thursday, March 22nd.

The Audio Competition offers prizes of $1,000 in each of three categories: poetry, prose, and audio documentary. It’s easy to enter! All you need to record your work is a microphone, a computer, and free recording software, such as Audacity or GarageBand. Entries and payments can be submitted online.

All entrants receive a one-year, digital subscription to The Missouri Review. For full guidelines, please visit our website: http://www.missourireview.com/audiovisual/submissions/

Love Connecticut? Enter a 250 word story

The Connecticut Office of Tourism is running a very egalitarian story contest. It’s egalitarian (I hope) because members of the public vote for their favorite story, rather than a panel of judges. This probably means that a story will be judged more on how it resonates with a reader than how well it’s written. Interesting.

The details of the contest make it simple, and free, to enter. The limit is 250 words, which ensures you can enter two or three pieces without much trouble. They’re asking for a photo or video to accompany the writing, but it needn’t have too much to do with the story, judging by the entries so far.  If you’ve been hesitating to submit your work, this is your chance to do so, and be guaranteed some exposure online. Even if only your family votes for you, you’ll still be on your way. Voting will begin on February 23, 2012 and end on May 25, 2012, so you’ve time to come up with something great.

Here are the basic details:

“What is Your Connecticut Story” Contest

  • Each Story must address the theme “Tell us where your passion lies.” We want to hear about the   Connecticut people, places and experiences you love most
  • Each Story must written in the English language and be 250 words or less.
  • Each entry must include an Essay and a Photo and/or Video.
  • Each entry must include first and last name, Zip code, and email address.

There will be one Grand Prize winner and three First Prize winners. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $1,000 gift card.  There will be three First Prize packages:

1) Connecticut Arts Pack which includes: a) two tickets to the winner’s choice of the Palace Theatre, Waterbury 2012-2013 Season, b) two (2) tickets to the Stamford Center for the Arts, c) two tickets to a performance of Carousel at the Goodspeed Opera House, and d) two passes to the Connecticut Art Trail; worth about $350,

2) Uniquely Connecticut Gourmet Pack includes: a) $100 Stew Leonard’s gift certificate and a Stew’s Choice basket; worth roughly $250

3) Proud Connecticut Home Pack which includes a gift set of Stanley Black & Decker tools, worth $160.

The Grand Prize and First Prize winners will be notified on or about June 1, 2012.

I’ve abridged the rules to make them a bit more digestible, so please check the full rules etc here.

 

Out Loud – Submit your writing as spoken word…

 I lifted this shamelessly from the Missouri Review’s email to me. It sounds like fun, and a different way to reach people with your work. GC
The Missouri Review invites you to submit to our 2012 Audio Competition for a chance to win $1,000 and to have your entry published on The Missouri Review’s website. Send us your recordings of original poetry or prose or your audio documentaries on any subject. All you need is a computer, microphone, software such as GarageBand or Audacity, and a great script.

This year, in an effort to expand the contest, we have opened submissions (previously $20) to a pay-by-donation entry fee. Your contribution of any amount includes a one-year, digital subscription to The Missouri Review, and all of your donation goes to support the production of The Missouri Review and its related programs.

Winners and select runners-up will have their work featured on The Missouri Review’s website and as part of our iTunes podcast series. Entries will be judged by TMR’s editors in collaboration with guest judge Julie Shapiro of the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Deadline: March 15th, 2012

Entries and payments are accepted by mail or online. For details, or to submit, please visit our website: http://www.missourireview.com/audiovisual/submissions/

 

Looking for somewhere to submit?

Poets & Writers, is probably best known for its magazine for, well, poets and writers. In fact it describes itself as the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. They have two offices, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles.

Among the many things they do to support writers is to maintain the best database of contests, literary magazines that I’ve come across. Check out their site to find out what they do. And then link to their database Writing Contests, Grants & Awards, to find out where you should be submitting next.

Quick! I need something to read, and it needs to be short

In an age when a Twitter size concentration span is becoming the norm, publishers are looking for ways to reach new readers by offering them shorter works to read. The British book market is buzzing with new short titles from the major publishers.

Penguin, for example, has just launched Penguin Shorts – a collection of  short e-books from major authors. They’re available across all the digital platforms, but here’s the kicker: they’re only available in Britain. You’d think that with technology being what it is, they could allow a person to buy an e-book in London and download it in the US. They would still get their money and so would the authors, presumably. (I know it’s more complicated than that, but still…)

The Penguin collection includes memoir, fiction and essays and they retail in the UK for about $3.00 per download. Most, but not all, of their titles have been commissioned specifically for this imprint (if that’s the right word), so there’s a new memoir from Colm Tóibín, and short works from Anita Brookner and Helen Dunmore, among others, as well as How To Set Up A Free School – by Toby Young and The Battle of Alamein by Colin Smith and John Bierman.  The idea behind the essays was that instead of waiting six months for a book about some current event, a Penguin Short could be produced from scratch in less than a month. I see some opportunity for new writers here.

Random House is doing the same thing, except that in their case, you can buy some of the stories in the US.  They’re hard to find on Amazon, however. I searched in the Kindle store for Storycuts and found 25 of them, all by Su Tong. I’m pretty sure there are others….They are releasing about 200 short stories, generally culled from their current collections rather than new work.  Ruth Rendell, Alice Munro and A.S. Byatt as well as the famous Su Tong, are among them.  These retail for around $2.00.

And there’s PanMacmillan, who publishes under the ShortReads label. Again, a limited selection of these are available here  in the US, but I daresay there will soon be more of them. Emma Donoghue, Bret Easton Ellis and Andrew Lane are among the authors here. If you want to check for any of these on Amazon (I haven’t checked the other sites) you’ll need to follow the links here, find the titles and then look for them by name. Cumbersome and not exactly quick. In fact, for those of us with a Twitter-type attention span, hunting down these books can be a pain in the neck.

On the brighter side, Tessa McGovern of eChook Digital Publishing has long since had an app available for all e-book platforms, that includes short story and memoir collections designed to be read in about 10 minutes. You can check them out on the eChook website, and maybe submit something for possible publication. Perhaps Penguin and the rest should have consulted her about how to go about this…

Ether Books, based in England, has published digital short stories for an iPhone application for between 50p and £2.39, depending on length, since last summer. The stories are only available on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, so far as I know, but they should be available in the US. They take submissions, too!