Winners will be announced August 1, 2014.
The theme for this contest has several lofty terms: self-reflection, introspection, epiphany. We’ve chosen a simpler way to describe it: “You Are Here.”
Good stories give us characters we can connect to and make us care what happens to them–maybe not like them, but at least make us care what happens. The best stories go further and show some progression, development, or change in the main character. Sometimes the reader sees the change but the character does not. Other times, the character is actually aware of their personal development and understands that they have a new perspective.
For this contest, present a story where the main character or characters not only go through growth and development, as is appropriate for a good story arc, but are aware by the end of the piece that they’ve changed.
Two pieces from Spark which can be used as examples are “Perspective” by Michelle Soudier, a winning entry in a past contest and later published in Spark, Volume II, and “The Clock has Ceased its Ticking” by Alexis Hunter, published in Volume V.
The artwork for this contest, and subsequently for the cover of Volume VII, will be created by Tatiana Marlee and is based on her painting “You Are Here” from her recent (successful) application to the California State Summer School for the Arts as the “self-reflection” assignment. The painting this artwork will be based on can be seen on her Tumblr blog.
Guest judges have not yet been announced.
No fee is required for this contest. You will have an opportunity to make an optional donation once your entry is submitted. Your tax-deductible contribution helps keep our contests free.
Spark’s production costs are covered and contributing writers are paid in part through sales of the anthology and in part by generous donations from people like you. Funds for all remaining expenses are donated by Brian & Amy Lewis.
Publication in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume VII, as the first (poem) or second (prose) piece in the collection
Lifetime Premium Membership atScribophile, the online writing group for serious writers
One-year subscription to Duotrope
One-year print subscription to American Poetry Review or Poets & Writers magazine or The Writer magazine
Complimentary print & digital copiesof Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volumes I through IV
Lifetime Premium Membership at Scribophile
One-year digital subscription to American Poetry Review
Complimentary digital copies of Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volumes I through IV
Complimentary print copy of Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume I
One-year Premium Membership at Scribophile
Complimentary digital copy of Spark: A Creative Anthology Volumes I through IV
One-year digital subscription to American Poetry Review
Contest entries will be accepted from June 15, 2014 until the stroke of midnight, U.S. Pacific Time, on July 2, 2014. (In other words, make sure your entries are in before 11:59 pm on July 1).
There are no genre restrictions for this contest, and content guidelines are similar to our standard submission guidelines, including what we are not accepting.
Contest Five awards prizes for poetry and prose according to our contest judging criteria.
Prose includes both fiction and creative nonfiction, but we have not divided the category further because we believe that well-written creative nonfiction should tell a story so well that the result is indistinguishable from fiction. Prose must be less than 12,000 words.
Poetry includes all styles, meters, and rhyme schemes, or may be free-form. Poetry must be less than 150 lines.
Rules & Restrictions
Publication Rights remain with the author or poet. Grand Prize winners are not obligated to publish their winning entry in Spark, but if our publication offer is accepted, the cash portion of the prize serves to purchase First Publication rights as outlined on our Rights & Rates page. All other entrants retain full rights to submit and publish their entries as they wish.
Prose limits: We are looking for excellent writing and storytelling, not length. A compelling and well-written “flash fiction” piece has equal chance against a novelette. Prose must be less than 12,000 words.
Poetry limits: We are looking for evocative imagery that paints a small story in a poem. A haiku or tanka has equal chance against a sonnet or epic. Poetry must be less than 150 lines.
Only previously unpublished works will be considered.
You may enter a previously-written piece if you feel that it satisfies the prompt for this contest, so long as it has not been published.
There are no age restrictions for this contest other than legal restrictions imposed by your local jurisdiction.
In the event that a winner is ineligible for the Scribophile prize because of age or chooses to decline the membership, a three-year print and eBook subscription to Spark: A Creative Anthology will be substituted.
Spark: A Creative Anthology contest judges and their immediate families are not eligible.
Because entries are blindly judged, authors and poets who have previously had work accepted for any volume ofSpark: A Creative Anthology may enter this contest. In the event that a Grand Prize winner is an author or poet whose work has been accepted for Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume V, we may choose to postpone or decline publication of either the previously-accepted work or the winning contest entry.
You may enter multiple pieces in this contest, and you may enter both poetry and prose, but each entrant can win at most one prize, no matter how many entries are made.
Spark: A Creative Anthology reserves the right to post “No Award” for either category in the event that fewer than 30 total entries are received or fewer than three qualified entries can be selected for the final round of judging.
Because this contest is judged blindly—that is, the author’s name is withheld from the judges—please omit personal information (such as author name or contact details) from the manuscript.
Judges will be unable to provide feedback on specific pieces.
About the Awards
Scribophile is the largest online writing workshop and discussion group, boasting over 202,000 peer critiques written by community members ranging from amateur writers to professional authors and editors. Learn more at Scribophile.com.
Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, submissions trackers, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points they’ve gathered on the publishers they list, including Spark.
Cash Prizes are made possible by generous supporters like you. Sign up as a sponsor today and join these contest patrons:
Brian & Amy Lewis
Richard S. Rose
Notes & Disclosures
The Lifetime and one-year Scribophile Premium Memberships were donated by Scribophile, the online writing group for serious writers. Learn more at Scribophile.com.
The one-year Duotrope subscriptions were purchased at a discount by Brian Lewis.
Spark: A Creative Anthology is administered and published by the Empire & Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.