Reader’s Digest – new 100 word story competition

Just a quickie, as I’m off to play tennis while the sun’s shining out there!

One of the students in my new Monday class alerted me to the fact that Reader’s Digest are running their 100 word short story competition again (they have to be EXACTLY 100 words – not 99 or 101!).

There’s a £1000 first prize! (And a couple of runners-up prizes). Worth a go, I think, especially as it’s free to enter – and you’ve got until January 2012 to get your entry in. But do note that they retain all copyright in the entries, which I assume means that, even if you don’t win, they have the right to publish your story on their website and/or in the magazine. So if that’s going to nark you (assuming you’re not the first prize winner, in which case I’m sure you wouldn’t mind!), then don’t enter!

All the details – and some examples of 100 word stories – are here. Good luck!

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10 Responses to Reader’s Digest – new 100 word story competition

  1. Stephanie Holliday says:

    Thanks for the info but does this mean that they have the copyright on what may be hundreds/thousands of stories for nothing?

    • Steph – yes, that’s how I read it. Simon Whaley blogged about it last year – here -http://simonwhaleytutor.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-readers-digest-competition-watch-for.html#comments
      when they ran the same competition (but with a £5000 first prize! Times are clearly hard).

  2. Stephanie Holliday says:

    Is this the same for other competitions then? I’ve used the same story to more than one competition sometimes

    • Steph Most competitions don’t request copyright of all entries – this is really unusual (but not unheard of). All comps are different, so you really need to read the rules and regs before you decide to enter. But in general, if one story doesn’t win one competition, you’re quite at liberty to send it to another competition.

      • bigmammafrog says:

        It’s ok to enter an unsuccessful entry into another comp, but most organisers don’t like you submitting the same story to more than one comp at the same time. Most (but not all) require unpublished stories, so if, say, you’ve come runner up in a comp and had your work published, even online, you shouldn’t really use it again. As above very few comps will take total copyright of your entry, but may, for example ask for exclusive use of it for a year for e.g. web promotion or comp advertising.

        I’m always a little unsure what to do when I’ve had a success with a piece of work and then gone on to completely redrafted it (for example turned it into flash fiction). Does it still count as the same piece of work? Can I then reenter it into another comp, even if it has been published as a longer piece of work? I find this with poetry as I’ll often edit something right down, so only the bare bones of the original are recognisable. At what point does it still count as the same poem?

  3. Stephanie Holliday says:

    I wondered if you can rewrite a piece that you’ve entered for a competition and then submit it elsewhere. I have done but usually the basic story is still there even if it’s been totally rehashed.
    I suppose there’s a difference to being placed somewhere and then having your entry published online as against getting nowhere at all (this is me most of the time!) and either resubmitting it somewhere else as it stands or rewriting it. That’s why I was surprised that Readers Digest could stop you using an unplaced story. If they use it and don’t pay you it feels like stealing.

  4. Steph
    If you’ve entered a competition but you haven’t won or had any part of that story published – either on line or in an anthology of winners, then I think you’re quite at liberty to re-use that story and either rehash it or to send it completely unchanged to another competition. Even with the Reader’s Digest one (where they could, potentially, print your story on their website at some point. They are currently printing a story from the competition every day), if you used the same idea but re-wrote it, it would still be a new piece of writing.

  5. Luke W says:

    When will the winner be announced, does anyone know?
    Thanks.

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