Two fiction contests, fast and slow
In the traditional mode is the Texas Observer short story prize. The magazine is looking for previously unpublished stories of up to 2,500 words, with a winner to be selected by Heidi W. Durrow, the L.A.-based author of "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky." The winning story will be published in print and online, and the winner will receive $1,000. There is a $25 submission fee; the deadline for submission is April 29.
That's how these contests often work: a longish deadline, a longish length, a submission fee, a lot of time and effort spent polishing a story to perfection, a financial reward for the winner.
You won't find any of those things at the Pulp Hero Micro-Fiction contest at HiLoBrow, however.
The Pulp Hero contest wants you to write a heady pulp-style blurb for a classic work of fiction. Inspired by comic book panels that provide a thumbnail setup and back story in a single frame, the site asks you to limit your submission to 65 words. Here's its example: "One autumn night, Jay Gatz beheld a ladder above the trees that revealed to him the secret of all desire. Thus was born The Great Gatsby!" Submitting is free -- submissions should be left in the site's comments section -- and winners will walk away with a trio of pulp-fiction paperbacks. The deadline is March 14.
What do the contests share? Publication in their respective outlets. At HiLoBrow, it will be illustrated by Rick Pinchera; at Texas Monthly, there's that nice $1,000 check.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Writing the old-fashioned way. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times