Cafe Doom

The Critique Crypt => General writing chat => Topic started by: Ed on September 09, 2009, 02:46:56 PM

Title: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 09, 2009, 02:46:56 PM
This year’s fifth annual, free to enter, Cafedoom Writing Competition is looking like being the best ever, despite the generally gloomy economic outlook. Recession – what recession?

This year we’ve teamed up with James Beach of Dark Discoveries, and Matt Schwartz of Shocklines to offer a very nice prize fund for the best stories. James will be judging three winners from the top ten. He is stumping up the cash to pay the first place author five cents a word and will publish their tale in Dark Discoveries Magazine during the 2010 print run.

In addition, Matt has again, very kindly, split the cost of the runner’s up prizes with me 50/50, so second place gets $100 of Shocklines vouchers, and third place gets $50 of Shocklines vouchers, to spend on anything from signed special editions to horror DVDs.

To sweeten the pot a little more, I’m going to give a year’s subscription of Dark Discoveries Magazine to the authors of my three favourite stories. James needs to sell 75 subscriptions by the end of the year to help fund a pay rise for contributing authors next year, so please follow my example and grab a subscription yourself, maybe buy one for a friend’s, Mom’s, Dads, brother’s, sister’s, son’s, daughter’s, lover’s birthday present, Halloween or even Christmas gift – they’re only twenty-two bucks a pop for a year’s subscription, and well worth every penny. One of those gifts that keeps giving, too.

Stories should be at the very least dark, and may have elements of anything from sci-fi to pulp fiction. It’s wide open, so just send us your best story. Word limit is 3,500 and the closing date is 30th October 09. For a full list of details please read on:


***

We’re sticking with the same format as last year, and the year before, which is a fairly unusual way to run a comp, because all the entrants get to have their say about the stories and pick their favourites.

What happens is each entrant has to join the Cafe Doom forum (if they’re not already a member), then send their entry to blunted (at) cafedoom.com via an e-mail attachment in .rtf or .txt format, single spaced, line breaks instead of indents to denote paragraphs, and use BB Code to format any italics, etc. In the body of the e-mail, they must state their forum name and the title of their story.

On 31st October, the day following the closing date of the competition, all the stories will be posted anonymously on one forum thread by the forum admin. Thereafter, and for the following seven days (may be extended to fourteen if we’re swamped with submissions), the entrants must read the entries, and vote for their top three favourite stories on another forum thread. Failure to vote will result in the entrant being disqualified and their story being stripped of its points. James Beach will choose the winning stories from the top ten entries.

To summarise –

Prizes as follows:

1st place - Pro rate of pay, plus publication in a 2010 edition of Dark Discoveries.

2nd place - $100 Shocklines voucher.

3rd place - $50 Shocklines voucher.

In addition to this I will give a year long Dark Discoveries subscription to the authors of my three favourite stories.

Theme – open, but dark.

Word limit - 3,500

Closing date – 30th October 2009


Be aware that Dark Discoveries may require the author of the winning story to make changes to it in order to meet their editorial standards. As with any other market, the magazine will sometimes ask their authors to make a few edits and additions to keep the editor happy.


***

You can find the story thread here - http://www.cafedoom.com/forum/index.php?topic=2207.0

You can find the voting thread here - http://www.cafedoom.com/forum/index.php?topic=2208.0

Both threads are locked for the time being and are off limits to guests - you must join the forum to view them.

***

Please feel free to ask questions and comment on this thread.

Finally - good luck, everybody :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: elay2433 on September 09, 2009, 05:33:27 PM
Sweet. Thanks for putting this together, Ed.  :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 10, 2009, 01:42:28 AM
Glad you like it. I hope everybody enjoys it as much as last year's - that one was a blast :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delboy on September 10, 2009, 03:31:09 AM
Great stuff, Ed!

Looks like it's going to be a classic. Thanks for all your efforts and unselfishness - it doesn't go unnoticed.

Regards,

Del
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rev. Austin on September 10, 2009, 04:02:24 AM
Nice one, Ed! 
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: SteveJ on September 10, 2009, 08:36:02 AM
Thanks very much - for this contest, and all the 'short story competition/markets' info on the other board. :)
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: rsmccoy on September 10, 2009, 10:05:56 AM
I can participate this year, yeah me! Now what the heck am I going to submit? :scratch:

I also followed your example and got a 1 year subscription.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Angelica_raene on September 10, 2009, 01:54:12 PM
Sounds great, Ed!  Thanks so much for your generosity and unselfishness.  BTW greetings to everyone  :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: LadyBorgia on September 10, 2009, 04:49:12 PM
Hi. I just had a question about the submissions.  Can they have been previously submitted to another contest?
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 10, 2009, 05:30:12 PM
Thanks for all the kind words.

Scott - good on you for taking up a subscription.  :smiley:

Hi. I just had a question about the submissions.  Can they have been previously submitted to another contest?

Hi, and welcome to the forum. I don't see why not, as long as they haven't been previously published, it's your own work, and you still hold all the rights. It doesn't make any difference to me, but I'm thinking James isn't likely to want any reprints for Dark Discoveries. I'll check with him and let you know if it's any different from what I've already said.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: LadyBorgia on September 11, 2009, 10:40:03 AM
Thanks!  I have one that I won't know if it won anything till october 17th so if it doesn't, then I should still have time to submit it here. :-)
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 13, 2009, 05:31:40 AM
We've had a couple of entries already, folks. Don't forget, the sooner you get your story in, the earlier in the story thread it will appear, so the less chance it will have of falling foul of reader fatigue :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delph_ambi on September 13, 2009, 06:43:55 AM
Good grief! I must start scribbling.

Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Caz on September 14, 2009, 12:54:38 PM
I believe I've spotted a missing word.

Forth paragraph down, "to the authors of my three favourite stories." Looks like "of" is missing. Just thought I'd mention it. Hope you don't mind, Ed.

Thanks for running this comp :afro: :cool:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 14, 2009, 02:34:08 PM
Well spotted, Caz - thanks :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Lobolover on September 21, 2009, 03:16:00 AM
Hello there . Got around to registering . I do hope to send something, which is corected (I'm not english) . I hope you like it, though I have to re-read how to send it .
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 21, 2009, 03:33:51 AM
Hi Lobo - I very nearly didn't let you in, actually. We get a lot of spammers from the former Soviet republics, and it's only because I recognised your name that I guessed you weren't one. I had another person try to join from your country the day after you, but their user name looked a bit iffy, so I didn't let them in. If it was somebody you know, tell them to try again and if you can tell me their name I'll let them in. Thanks :smiley:

Good luck in the comp.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: LeeThompson on September 21, 2009, 08:49:29 PM
Hey, Ed. Looks like a great contest! I just started a piece to enter. As soon as it's finished I'll let it set a couple days and then put it through a few more drafts! Good luck to everyone! Yee-Haw!

Lee
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 22, 2009, 01:40:25 AM
Thanks - glad you like the look of it. I think, judging by past comments, most people who enter enjoy the process. It's more fun than conventional comps, because it's so transparent. Most of the time you'll send your entry off and that's the last you hear of it until the results come out - where's the fun in that? :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: ubernox on September 22, 2009, 03:52:07 PM
I think I will give this one a shot:).

I'm new to Cafe Doom, Are there any stories online I can read to get a better feel of the type stories you guys like?
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on September 22, 2009, 04:53:10 PM
Hi Ubernox, and welcome aboard.  :smiley:

It's not so much what we like as what's popular with the reading public and with James at Dark Discoveries. A strong opening with a hook to make us need to keep reading, good characterisation, realistic dialogue, a viable plot, good use of language, a good compelling story. Twists are OK, but must be supported, rather than out of the blue. Just the usual stuff. First prize is publication at a pro rate of pay, so the winning story will have to be of a professional standard.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 06, 2009, 01:40:53 AM
Slightly worrying - only twelve entries so far, with just three weeks left before the deadline :huh:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delph_ambi on October 06, 2009, 01:49:18 AM
You'll get a load of entries at the eleventh hour, I have no doubt. In the meantime, I suggest you keep this thread bumped up to the top. I couldn't find it yesterday. Ended up googling the competition to find the rules.  :scratch:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delboy on October 06, 2009, 03:16:11 AM
This one's haunting me. With eleven entries I think I ought to take a punt - not because there's less stories to compete against, but because there's less stories to read. I'm really nervous about submitting an entry, only to discover I've commited to read twenty, twenty-five stories, in a (relatively) short period of time.

I guess it all really depends on whether or not I get a killer idea between now and the deadline!

Del
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rev. Austin on October 06, 2009, 04:17:48 AM
I really want to write something new for this, but can't think of anything that wouldn't be too obvious as my work to anyone who's read any of my stuff (wanted to do something using the character from my latest published piece  ;) )....I do have other, older stories to choose from  though...I dare say I'll end up leaving it quite late to enter, in case I do come up with an ace idea at the last minute  :azn:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delboy on October 06, 2009, 05:35:49 AM
Quote
I really want to write something new for this, but can't think of anything that wouldn't be too obvious as my work to anyone who's read any of my stuff

Is having a recognisable style not a good thing?

Del
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delph_ambi on October 06, 2009, 06:18:03 AM
Just what I was thinking.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Geoff_N on October 06, 2009, 11:13:08 AM
I'll push it again in the forums, etc, even though I've entered and so commit to lots of reading. But then having read over 200 shorts for the Whitaaker Prize it can't be harder can it? But then if Delph and JonP enter Ive no chance  :cheesy:

Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rev. Austin on October 06, 2009, 12:23:35 PM
Oh no, I meant, it kind of negates the whole 'anonymous entry' angle if a person were to submit something with a character from already published stories, for instance.  Blimey no, I think having a recognisable style is a great thing  :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 06, 2009, 02:22:18 PM
I remember Geoff saying when he was judging the Whittaker that he thought he'd sussed who had written what, but when it came down to it he had them all wrong. Styles aren't always as easy to spot as we think they are. As for oft used characters, a name change would soon take care of them.

Go on, Rev - try your hand :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delboy on October 06, 2009, 02:31:24 PM
I've had a bit of an idea today. Providing I can get it to fly and the first test flight doesn't leave it in a pile of matchwood on the floor, I'll hopefully be submitting something, after all.

Del
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: JonP on October 06, 2009, 03:39:19 PM
But then if Delph and JonP enter Ive no chance  :cheesy:

Can't speak for delph, but as things currently stand, there ain't much competition coming from my corner, Geoff.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delph_ambi on October 06, 2009, 04:16:45 PM
Mine's a piece of semi-regurgitated dross. As such, it might be slightly horrific, I suppose, and therefore appropriate, but I'm afraid it's hardly a delph classic. I've written it in a specific sub-genre in which I have never had ANY success. Oh well...
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delboy on October 06, 2009, 04:20:17 PM
I read that as a piece of semi-regurgitated dress.  :huh: Must be London Fashion Week, I thought.

Derek
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rev. Austin on October 07, 2009, 03:58:47 AM
I remember Geoff saying when he was judging the Whittaker that he thought he'd sussed who had written what, but when it came down to it he had them all wrong. Styles aren't always as easy to spot as we think they are. As for oft used characters, a name change would soon take care of them.

Go on, Rev - try your hand :afro:

Alrighty then, I will!

Or will I?!  :grin:

edit: in other news, I keep forgetting to plug this event on my own blog, so finally remembered to do just that!  I don't know if that'll bring much extra traffic/entries, but you never know  ;)
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 07, 2009, 01:57:24 PM
Thanks for the plug, Rev :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: elay2433 on October 07, 2009, 07:43:08 PM
I saw that James plugged it in the Dark Discoveries newsletter about a week or so ago. I figure at least half the subscribers to the small press horror mags are probably aspiring writers (if not more), so that ought to provide some response.

I'm kicking around a few ideas, hoping for brilliance of course. I feel more pressure to come up with a real good one when it has something to do with the cafe (comp, crit group, etc.) than I typically do. Of course, if I'm not struck with a brilliant idea, I'll still submit something.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Kenwood on October 08, 2009, 03:56:28 PM
Very cool, Ed. I sent you something.

Hello, everyone!  :afro:

Hmmm...why is that smiley called afro? Haha.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 08, 2009, 05:06:20 PM
Hi Kenwood - love the avatar :afro: Afro is a leftover from another set of smilies. The original had more hair.

Welcome to the forum :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: johnpalisano on October 11, 2009, 01:02:22 PM
Hello everybody! Happy Sunday from Los Angeles!
 :cheers:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: elay2433 on October 12, 2009, 11:49:46 AM
Hi John. A not so happy Monday morning from Stockton, CA.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rook on October 20, 2009, 11:33:09 PM
I just finished the first draft of a piece I hope to enter.
Tommorow I start nibbling (hacking?) at it and will see if it will hash out!
Yikes, it's 3, 014 words! Got a bit carried away.......ah well, I like it.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 21, 2009, 01:28:03 AM
The limit is 3,500, so you're well on track, Rook. Another 486 words to play with if you want them. I have trouble keeping anything under 10,000 words these days - that's getting carried away  :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rook on October 21, 2009, 08:23:26 AM
Hey, you're right!

486 words- I can keep my MC alive for another fifteen minutes......of course I think this might constitute as torture.

(Can you hear the manaical laughter?)
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 23, 2009, 01:42:15 PM
Only seven days left to get your entry into the Cafe Doom short story contest.

We've still only had thirty-one entries to date, so with six prizes on offer (if my math is correct) that gives you roughly a one in five chance of winning summat. Better than that, actually, because my tamed pet reader informs me twenty-five of the thirty-one entries are complete stinkers * - honestly - only one step above a cave painting in the literacy stakes. You're practically guaranteed to win something if you decide to enter.




*re the stinkers - if you've already entered, don't worry, yours was one of the good ones :afro: :fugly:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: elay2433 on October 23, 2009, 03:30:07 PM
31 entries sounds pretty good. How many did you get last year? I'm working on something, but it'll likely be one of those eleventh hour entries.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delboy on October 23, 2009, 03:34:06 PM
That's pretty good - potentially over 100 000 words to read. Does this mean you'll invoke the 14 day rather than the 7 day reading period? Please  :smiley:

Derek
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 23, 2009, 04:31:53 PM
31 entries sounds pretty good. How many did you get last year? I'm working on something, but it'll likely be one of those eleventh hour entries.

Thirty-nine last year, if my count is right. Make sure you get that story wrapped up in time :afro:

That's pretty good - potentially over 100 000 words to read. Does this mean you'll invoke the 14 day rather than the 7 day reading period? Please  :smiley:

Derek

I dunno - would you say thirty-one entries counts as 'inundated'? :scratch:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Pharosian on October 24, 2009, 10:55:33 PM
31 entries sounds pretty good. How many did you get last year? I'm working on something, but it'll likely be one of those eleventh hour entries.

Thirty-nine last year, if my count is right. Make sure you get that story wrapped up in time :afro:

That's pretty good - potentially over 100 000 words to read. Does this mean you'll invoke the 14 day rather than the 7 day reading period? Please  :smiley:

Derek

I dunno - would you say thirty-one entries counts as 'inundated'? :scratch:

Actually, it was 40 entries last year, but one entrant withdrew her story from competition after a couple of days.

And at the same point (October 23) last year, there had been 22 stories submitted. Numbers 23 and 24 arrived on the 24th of the month. If the same holds true this year and we get another 16 entries in the final 7 days, that would make a total of 47. But given that there are proportionately more stories in the hopper already, I'd be more inclined to believe that proportionately more entries would arrive in the last week than that people had actually written their stories earlier. But that's the voice of a world-class procrastinator speaking!   ::)

I say strap in and prepare for a 50+ story contest!
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 25, 2009, 03:27:57 AM
You could be right, and I'd say anything over forty would invoke the fourteen day rule. We've had a couple more entries since I posted above, so we're up to thirty-three at the moment.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 27, 2009, 06:55:50 PM
Thirty-four entries, and just three days left to go. Several of the stories are pretty short, though. I guess they're hoping to capitalise on reader fatigue by entering a 800 word story when there's a 3,500 word limit :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: LeeThompson on October 27, 2009, 07:17:17 PM
Sweet. I can't wait to read all the stories. The short stories will be easy to read, but it seems they'd be at a disadvantage to draw the reader in. Oh well, to each their own.  :cool:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: delph_ambi on October 28, 2009, 04:16:32 AM
Quality not quantity. There's nothing worse than a writer who tries to stretch a thousand word story to three thousand words just because of a competition word limit.

The Mona Lisa is a very small painting.

Size isn't everything  ::)
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Kenwood on October 28, 2009, 01:57:44 PM
Looking forward to this.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 29, 2009, 03:04:18 AM
Only one more day to go :shocked:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 29, 2009, 04:19:35 PM
A few more entries have snuck in under the wire. I wonder if there will be an eleventh hour deluge :huh:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: elay2433 on October 29, 2009, 04:31:53 PM
I'm still trying, but I'm not sure I'll make it. What is the exact cutoff hour? I only ask because of the time difference. I want to make sure I'm on the correct timetable. Thanks, Ed.
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 29, 2009, 04:40:02 PM
Well, for me it's currently 9:38pm, so that means there's another 26 hours and 22 minutes left until the deadline. I hope you make it, Elay - don't worry if you're an hour or two adrift. I'm not going to be pedantic about the exact hour of cut off :smiley:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rook on October 29, 2009, 04:40:47 PM
Elay, you're not the only one!

I've been cursing at mine for two days now.



Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 29, 2009, 07:49:58 PM
Twenty-three hours left :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Rook on October 29, 2009, 07:51:44 PM
(sound of head banging on desk, something rattling....)
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 30, 2009, 12:15:30 PM
Six and three quarter hours to go until deadline. Forty-four entries so far :afro:
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Geoff_N on October 30, 2009, 03:48:37 PM
Rolling sleeves up to read those entries when my inbox bulged with Escape Velocity subs. However, just got through 75% of them, and written edit notes even for the rejects. Our submission window is closed but somehow a batch was invisible until Robert spotted them and whizzed them over to me.

For all those entries I hope we have a reading extension, even if some are short shorts.

Geoff
Title: Re: Cafe Doom's Fifth Annual Writing Competition Rules and info
Post by: Ed on October 30, 2009, 03:57:45 PM
Yep - as we've received more than forty entries, the reading period will be fourteen days.