Writer’s Digest is running a short story competition with a $3,000 prize. Deadline is Dec. 3, so polish up that story and get it out, along with your $12. Twenty-five winners in all. It’s interesting to note that the First Prize winner also gets a FREE “Best Seller Publishing Package” from Trafford Publishing. It’s an on-demand publishing deal, good for the writer who can’t invest the $3,000 for 500 copies of a book.

By short stories they do mean very short. No more than 1,500 words. If you do the math, that’s probably less than 10 pages. But if you’ve been in one of my Writer’s Workshop evening sessions, you might have a good start on a story that’s the right length.

Contests like this are a good spark to get your writing out there. Even chapters of a book, if they’re written a la short story, make good entries.

Glimmer Train, a top-notch Cadillac of a literary journal, runs lots of contests. The Short Story for New Writers contest wraps up on Nov. 30. It’s $15 an entry, which the founders remind us help to support the journal. (Really, if you haven’t seen one of these, just check out the newsstand at Borders or Barnes & Noble.) Not easy to get in, but the New Writers contests give you an edge.

Glimmer Train will take up to 64,000 characters, something Word can report, for a Short Story. I like the journal a lot; it has a wide range of stories, and few that are as experimental as the ones in Zoetrope. The journal is run by the two sisters, Linda Swanson-Davies and Susan Burmeister-Davies. They’ve been at it for 17 years, a long time in the lit journal world. Submissions are online-only, too, because as they say, “we had to consider the strain on our backs after lifting postal bins full of stories all those years.”

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