Brain Mill Press present Ab Terra International SF.
Brain Mill Press are open for new SF manuscript submissions. These are be any novel length (40,000 words or more) story. This is organised by the Malaysian Chinese writer Yen Ooi. Closing date is 1st December 2016 (please check on application).
Did you know National Flash-Fiction Day is 25th June 2016? Get writing!
I wrote my first Flash Fiction in my head while in the dentist’s chair, and wrote it up on my phone the next day. With the costs of dentists and phones, I suppose that is the expensive way to do it.
These are the competitions coming up in the Spring. I will do more later in the year. Some are for ‘chap-books’ which are not for chaps only, and the lengths vary from 100 to 500 words. So check out what suits for you.
There are lots, which is great news for writers. They even have cash prizes!
4 entries per year – 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December.
Winners notified by email within six weeks of closing dates.
This is ‘open-themed’ but winners last year were crime, crash disaster, child abuse – so Crime related.
This is not the usual ‘conflict’ (seen as too long-winded) but ‘after effects’ I suppose. I think 500 words is huge, why focus only on ‘magic moments’?
Newfoundland Prize (US)
Deadline: 15 April 2016 – EXTENDED, 15 March 2016
The Newfoundland Prose Prize for a chapbook-length (chapter-sized only) work of fiction or creative non-fiction.
Long story or essay, collection of short pieces to 60 pages maximum. 15 pages is lowest allowed.
Some aspect of the work must “inform or explore how place shapes identity, imagination, and understanding”.
A writer friend suggested I try flash fiction – very short stories, usually under one page. So around 300 words.
Next day I had to have a root canal on a molar, and to think about something else, I thought about a story. I had a rough idea – actually just a concept – and expanded this into a story. I had in mind 300 characters since I had been doing software descriptions for my new writing app Notes Story Board.
Anyway, once I had got it down to 300 characters – about 50 words – I remembered I was aiming for 300 words (at this point the tooth and one root was out).
Perhaps that is a good discipline – create a summary, a short elevator pitch, as recommended by books like Save The Cat (about script-writing, not cats).
So I expanded this story idea a day later in a café, writing using note software on my phone. Got the story down in around 200 words. Well, any more was just padding. I ended up with an interesting little piece, so I entered it into a competition.
It was great to start and finish a whole story so quickly, as I find long-form writing hard… too easy to lose the motivation and then forget the atmosphere, the germ of the idea in the first place, the feeling of a story that is not written or even known yet. (It seemed to be easier in the past when I would write a novel almost as an end in itself).
But that still leaves the basic question.
Is flash fiction just an internet fad? A short form for a low attention span.
So why bother with it?
The root of all
I have also got kind of stuck with a novel. This has been in the plotting and note-taking stage for years.
A few months ago I changed it (not much, only a few thousand words at the start) to an ‘epic poem’ to speed things up a bit – converting it to short broken up texts, with a ragged right margin, like a ‘proper poem’. This was quite an interesting process, but again was a delaying tactic, substituting craft for creativity.
Now my plan is to rewrite all the plot scenes as flash fiction – each small scene has a beginning, middle and twist, to quote R. L. Stine, as spoken by Jack Black in the film Goosebumps. This might not be suitable for most of the scenes but you get the general idea.
So try that – take a long boring text, and condense it down to a page. If nothing else, it can improve your style.
I’ve been following this interactive Player for a while – it allows a sort of 3D viewing experience of animated stories, using the phone as a camera into the scene.
News is a bit scarce now though so I’ll update current releases.
The idea is you follow the story characters and scenes by exploring a 3D world, around the phone or tablet – so you have to move it about, tilt, etc to get more clues or info. At least this was used in the first version.
October 2013, the Windy Day game debuted with a red hat icon on Moto X phones – prompting mild fury from some users who didn’t want unrequested ‘bloatware’ on their phones.
There is some news of a film release (ie, cinematic rather than animated) but that was 2 years ago.
Now, the main site for it now seems to be YouTube.
It says: Published on 21 Dec 2015
On mobile, must view in YouTube App. On desktop, in Chrome or FireFox.
So basically, now just content… yet more so-called funny cartoons. In a 3D – or panoramic – view. This looks like all those old VRML things, or the Adobe panoramic system beloved of websites circa 90s.
As an ex-art college lecturer, this reminded me of the sort of ideas that students think up in order to use the technology – rather than researching users interests. It is also the same old search or quest concept of looking for things. This only works (and boringly) in games. The stories tend to be committee driven, quirky, childish, harmless nonsense. The current cartoon even has that brassy retro cartoon music. People are supposed to spin the scene around, to see the characters and scenes.
No one asks why.
Spotlight content as originally conceived is the same old multiple path hypertext as seen since before the web. It has never worked or been remotely popular. Lecturers used to set non linear projects as punishment. When I started Story Software, I hoped that some people might use the extendable canvas as a non linear layout for fiction or comics – like a giant poster that can be navigated, zoomed into , etc, using the inf map feature for orientation.
Even I never got around to writing stories for it, and it was my idea 8)
This is why it has ended up as another YouTube cartoon release…
INCREASE YOUR CREATIVITY WITH OUR TOP APP and HOW TO WRITE BOOKS, and MUCH MORE
Notes Story Board v2.2 – this has a canvas for text and images, so you can work on ideas and longer documents. Previous versions are Story Lite and Story Turbo since 2010. See Features
These are password protected PDFs. They are also available as Kindle ebooks at £4.99, see Kindle Amazon section below.
• How To Write Fiction and Narrative (30 pages with Exercises)
• How to Write Scripts for Film and Movies (127 pages with Exercises)
• The Modern Muse – Poetry and Copywriting (extract, 30 pages with exercises)
• Guide to Genres (57 pages)
• Graphic Novels, Pictorial Narrative and Comics (16 pages)
CLIP ART to use in Notes Story Board
To go with the Graphic Novels ebook, we made a collection of comic and graphic related clip art, which is also included.
This has 200 files in many useful categories, see Features for more details. These are for use in Notes Story Board or any other program.
All this for whatever you want to pay, starting at £1.99