Friday, 28 March 2014
SAGA MAGAZINE - Ghost story writing competition - deadline May 1, 2014
Attention, all short-story writers! Knowing how talented our readers are, Saga Magazine has teamed up with award-winning independent publisher Profile Books to create a book of ghost stories – written exclusively by YOU.
We’re looking for amateur writers to pen a thrilling story of up to 3,000 words to include in a new anthology to be published this autumn – in time for Hallowe’en, if all goes well.
The story judged to be the best by the judges will win £250 and two runners-up £100 each. All those chosen to be in the book will win £100 worth of Profile Books – and everlasting glory, of course.
We’re looking for spine-chillers in any style – humorous, magical, supernatural or just plain terrifying. The choice is yours.
From Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens and Henry James right up to Stephen King and Alice Sebold, the ghost story has a long and celebrated history. Witness the runaway success of Susan Hill’s novella The Woman in Black.
A MORI poll discovered 19% of us claim to have seen a ghost and twice that number believe they exist. Perhaps that’s why ghost stories are so popular in Britain: some 98% of them are written in English. Psychologists suggest that they are a safe, cathartic outlet to purge repressed anxieties. And we Brits are pretty good at repression.
What makes a good ghost story?
In 1929, the great ghost story author Montague ‘MR’ James identified five key features he thought made them work:
• The pretence of truth
• A pleasing terror
• No gratuitous bloodshed
• No explanation of the machinery
• Setting: those of the writer’s (and reader’s) own day.
He had no time for sex, either. ‘Sex is tiresome enough in the novels; in a ghost story, or as the backbone of a ghost story, I have no patience with it. At the same time don’t let us be mild and drab. Malevolence and terror, the glare of evil faces, “the stony grin of unearthly malice”, pursuing forms in darkness, and “long-drawn, distant screams”, are all in place, and so is a modicum of blood, shed with deliberation and carefully husbanded.’
Here’s how to enter our great ghost story competition
Entries can be submitted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by post: Saga Ghost Stories Competition, Profile Books Limited,
3a Exmouth House, Pine Street,
London EC1R 0JH.
Include a covering note giving:
• Postal address and email address (if available)
• Your full name
• Date of birth
• The title of your story,
• Contact telephone no(s).
• Your story should be fiction, your own original work, previously unpublished and not already licensed to another publisher.
• Entries should be typed, not handwritten, with pages numbered in sequence.
• The winners will have their stories published in one anthology by Profile Books, subject to full terms and conditions (see below).
• One or more of the winning stories may be featured in an autumn issue of Saga Magazine.
• The competition is open to anyone currently resident in the UK.
• Maximum length of the story is 3,000 words.
• One winner will receive £250, two runners-up £100, and all chosen to be published £100 worth of Profile books.
Full terms and conditions
For a printed version, send a stamped self-addressed envelope to Saga Ghost Story T&C Request, Saga Magazine, Enbrook Park, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3SE.
Closing date is May 1, 2014
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