WRITING CONTEST GUIDELINES

Entry deadline extended to February 28, 2018

Earn prizes, compete against other writers 65 and older; Entry deadline extended to February 28

SMills

Ginnie Bivona (left) congratulates Dallas writer Sherry Mills for her winning poem in the 2016 Ageless Authors Writing Contest.

Storytelling is key for this year’s AGELESS AUTHORS WRITING CONTEST, the ONLY national writing competition exclusively for authors age 65+. This year we have given you three topics — military memories, frequent foul-ups and the parent-child relationship. Let your imagination take you away, and don’t let the fact that we’ve given you topics restrict you. Write fiction, nonfiction or poetry, but tell a story. Due to popular demand, we have extended the entry deadline to February 28, 2018,

AGELESS AUTHORS is your community of talented older people. Last year, we asked you to submit short stories, essays and poetry on any subject that interested you. We received a flood of submissions so great that we were overwhelmed. So this year we have more judges and a unique approach to your work.

From now thru February 28, submit short stories, essays and poetry on any of the categories or prompts listed below. The question is not who is the best fiction writer, essayist or poet. It’s who can best tell a story. The emphasis is on your storytelling ability, and several entrants have told us how much they appreciate our unique approach.

We are looking for humorous, moving or compassionate submissions, not just a set of facts. Stories can come from your life or your imagination.


Categories

Below are the topics we are writing about this year. To submit your work, click on the blue box that corresponds to the category or topic of your writing effort — Submit for #1, Submit for #2, Submit for #3. These topics are not meant to restrict you. They are designed to encourage great storytelling.

Category #1:

“Military Memories”

We all have tales of war and peace, in the field and on the home front, in real life or in our imaginations. Focus on humor, compassion and unusual deeds. Any connection to the military is worthwhile for this topic. Write about heroes or everymen and women. Relive an experience and make it turn out a completely different way. Entries in this category so far include a poem about World War I, a fictional tale of love in post-war Japan, and an essay examining how one young man’s flight to Canada during Vietnam affects his family today. You can go almost anywhere with this topic, which is made for creating and telling stories.

Category #2:

“Dang, I Wish I Hadn’t Done That”

Stories of foul-ups and miscalculations, with a focus on humor and compassion. Have fun with this category, either fiction or nonfiction. Tell us about a regret you have or that someone else endured, and how it was resolved or lingers today. Some of our most interesting experiences, ones where we really learn something, are our regrets and failures. They can be painful or humorous, and we want to know about any that have had a great effect on you or yours. The humor can be self deprecating or focus the attention on someone else. So far, we have the misadventures of a young man who set out to marry a young woman but she wound up wed to another. There is a thrilling adventure of a family stranded after their small plane crash landed. It reads like nonfiction, but who knows. There’s also the chronicle of a woman who went to prison for a most unusual offense. The world is open to you in this category. Your only limitation is the ability to tell your tale.

Category #3:

“Parents, For Better or Worse”

Some of the finest and most prolific storytelling involves family relationships. Lessons learned or left behind on life’s journey from childhood until now. Tell us a story of something your parents taught you or failed to teach or that transpired between you and your kids or grandkids. What are the details? What are the lessons to learn? Do they mean something for you today? These stories can be inspiring, profound or humorous, but should always be entertaining. Give it your best shot in 3,500 words or less.


Prizes

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners in each category!

1st place wins $100, a certificate and one copy of the anthology of the best work.

2nd place wins $75, a certificate and one copy.

3rd place wins $50, a certificate and one copy.

The best entries will be published in the 2018 Ageless Authors Anthology.

Winners who have other books in print or e-books will have their books made available through the Ageless Authors Bookstore.


Guidelines

Length:

Poetry should be no more than 50 lines.

Short stories (fiction) and essays (nonfiction) can be a maximum of 3,500 words.

Format:

Submit all entries in Microsoft Word, double spaced in 12pt type and saved on a PC or MAC as a .docx file. If you are using a different word processing program, please identify the program and give us your entry as close to this size as possible. Entries can also be saved as doc., .rtf or txt files.

Do not use a cover page. First page of entry should include only the following:

  • Title in 18 pt type
  • Word count of the entry
  • Submission in 12pt. type

We just want your creative writing, not sources or explanations of your writing. Please do not provide page numbers, footers, headers, endnotes and especially no footnotes.

Before you submit your entry, check your spelling. All word processing programs, including every version of Word, contains a spell checking application. Check your grammar. Most programs have this built in.

Dialogue is very important. Reread your dialogue to make sure it’s how people actually talk.

Attention to detail is essential. Details are easily misplaced. In one story submitted to our first contest, five people were in a room. One by one, three of them left the room. What happened to the other two? We’ll never know. This was otherwise a very fine story that failed the test of detail.


Submission:

No submissions will be accepted by email or by regular mail directly to Ageless Authors. All submissions for this contest should be made on the Submittable.com website.

Every short story, essay or poem represents a separate entry that must be entered and paid for separately.

The submission page for each entry provides space for your contact and bio information. Bio should be no more than 100 words and written in third person for publication.

By submitting an entry, the author permits us to reprint and publish entry to promote the author and/or the work of Ageless Authors in anthologies, news stories or critical reviews.

All contact information supplied with submissions can be used to inform entrants about future contests, anthologies or any other activity of Ageless Authors. We will never sell your contact info to a third party.

Submissions are open now;

Deadline extended to February 28, 2018

Winners will be announced by April 15, 2018

Entry fee $20 per submission. A submission is one piece of work. If you have a short story and an essay, that is two entries. If you have three poems, that is three entries.

If you have difficulty with Submittable.com, they offer support. If that fails, get your kids or grandkids to help. After all, you taught them to use a spoon.

You can also contact Larry Upshaw at larry@agelessauthors.com or 214 405-5093. If we are not available, make your submissions and include any questions on the cover page.