Writers Rendezvous December update

We tried out our first-ever hybrid Rendezvous this week, with a few brave people turning out in person, and the rest on Zoom. Because I don’t have all the equipment I need to run this perfectly, it was something of an experiment, but those who came in person got the cookies (the delicious chocolate chip ones supplied by our own Libby Waterford – thanks, Libby!) Future meetings will be virtual, because I love having people from out of state attend.

One of our members Kate Becker, has just launched a blog-style magazine called Grande Dame Literary Journal.  It’s for women writers of a ‘certain age’ (self-defined) who write short stories (2-5000 words), short memoir (750-3000 words), and/or are interested in promoting self-published books with an excerpt. Check out their full guidelines here.

George Saunders, writing professor and author of Lincoln in the Bardo – among many other works – is now writing on Substack, a place where writers can post their newsletters, and offer subscriptions. His site is called Story Club and you’ll find it here. His aim is to write about short stories, why some are compelling, others unforgettable, and so on. There’s also an option to take out a paid subscription, for access to deep dives into stories, à la A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, as well as writing exercises and prompts, mini-essays on different aspects of craft, and explorations of some of his early story drafts and revisions. For subscribers, he’ll be taking questions on craft, the writing life, and more.


Check out these current or upcoming Connecticut writing awards you can submit to.

(If you’re one of our out-of-state members, check with your own state to see what writing awards are available to enter.)
The Housatonic Book Awards open for submissions on January 1, 2022, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young adult/middle grade. Full guidelines here. The 2022 Nutmeg Poetry Awards is a contest open to all Connecticut poets. Submission is free for CPS members, $10 for non-members, and winning poems will be posted on the CPS website. submissions close on January 31. Check their guidelines here. The Annual NFPW (National Federation of Press Women – not just journalists, not just women!) Communications Contest is now open for submissions. You must first entire via your local chapter, (in my case, the Connecticut Press Club) and first place winners in those contests are automatically eligible for entry in the national contest. Open to anyone who lives or works in Connecticut. Work must be published from January 1-December 31, 2021. To enter, follow the directions on the contest site. There are over 60 categories, including web design, blogs, fiction, nonfiction, etc. January 19  is the regular contest deadline. After this date, a $25 late fee will be charged for the first entry you submit. The final deadline is noon on February 9. The final book deadline is February 2.

Apropos of book awards, we discussed the question of how to know that an award is legitimate. It used to be said that if an award made you pay an entry fee, then it was a kind of scam, but that’s no longer true. However, it is true that some awards are more prestigious than others. Here’s a great article from the Alliance of Independent Authors, which rates book awards and color codes them so you can see at a glance which are worth entering. They give their criteria for rating them, too.

NYCMidnight’s 16th annual Short Story Challenge, kicking off on January 14, is a competition that challenges writers around the world to create short stories based on genre, subject, and character assignments in as little as 24 hours.  Feedback from the judges is provided for every submission and there are thousands in cash and prizes for the winners.  There are four rounds to the competition, and in each one, you’re assigned to a group, and given a genre, subject, and character around whom to base your story, and a deadline. The top five in each group move on to the next round. Learn more about the competition, register, and read previous winning stories here.  The fee is $49, but the prizes are substantial, and expert feedback is good to have and hard to come by.

There’s more to come on Monday – with places to submit, upcoming classes, website design help, and software for designing your own books.

Until then, Keep writing!



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