AdministratorJune 15, 2020 at 8:34 am
Funnest category on Masterpiece, right? And yeah, “funnest” is totally a word! 🙂
When you post a contest here, please give as many details as possible, and most importantly, give us DEADLINE!!! Looking forward to seeing some great contests posted here. And, of course, watch for more Masterpiece contests, coming soon!
MemberJune 15, 2020 at 5:49 pm
Reedsy has a weekly short story writing contest based on weekly writing prompts.
Check it out here:
I didn’t look at this for a while, so I’m not exactly sure how it works these days. I once started writing a submission but never finished primarily because I couldn’t include lot of depth because it’s not for a Jewish audience.
AdministratorJune 15, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Awesome, HappiWriter! Every time you and other members take the time to post a contest, a job opportunity, or even a reply to a post, you are boosting and bolstering your writing sisters, and what goes around definitely comes around!
MemberJune 15, 2020 at 9:39 pm
I love contests! (I may have mentioned that here before! I love winning even more 🙂
Sometimes I have ideas percolating and don’t get around to pitching them or developing them properly, but a contest with a possible prize energizes me more than a magazine deadline. Not sure why.
Maybe I should ask my editors to turn my deadlines into contests?
MemberJune 16, 2020 at 4:27 pm
Esty, that’s so interesting because I have a hard time working on a contest submission because there’s a big chance I won’t win, and all that time and effort would be wasted.
MemberJune 24, 2020 at 1:52 pm
Can someone post info on the Ami contest that was mentioned on another thread? Thanks!
AdministratorJune 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm
And did Ami advertise who’s going to be moderating the contest, perhaps? 🙂
MemberJune 24, 2020 at 6:36 pm
Some of us don’t subscribe to the Ami. (No way to do really tiny font, is there.)
OK, I’ll have to put on my detective hat. We can’t allow conflict of interest here.
MemberJune 24, 2020 at 8:21 pm
Contest? Ami? Confusion?
I’m on. Can someone share more details, please?
MemberJune 24, 2020 at 11:07 pm
Way to go Riva!
“Ami Living’s Summer Fiction Contest
Hosted by Ami’s popular columnist Riva Pomerantz”
I hope we get ‘protexia’:):):) Good luck to all!
MemberJune 25, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Thanks for the info, Estiwrites! 🙂
AdministratorJune 25, 2020 at 9:08 am
🙂 Masterpiece members don’t need protektzia! They are awesome writers who will win on their own merit, be”H! How fun is this?!!
MemberJune 25, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Hey Riva, I still think we deserve some protektzia!!
I shall be using it right now:
In your opinion, what makes a winning story?
AdministratorJune 30, 2020 at 9:19 pm
HappiWriter, this is a really great question. I’m going to give you the elevator pitch answer to what I’d say are the ingredients that make a winning story:
1. Interesting characters that the reader can immediately relate to in a very easy, natural way.
2. A plotline that includes some kind of true-to-life tension, preferably from the very beginning so the reader is emotionally caught up in the story, hoping to either find out more about how it plays out or hoping to see it resolved properly. Extra points if the reader is tormented to the point that s/he is unsure of whether the story can even be resolved! 😉
3. Proper buildup of all the elements of the story in a way that the reader feels comfortable with–not too fast, not to slow; not too much info, but no annoying lack of info, culminating in an exciting climax that ties most (doesn’t have to be all, but whatever isn’t tied up should be intentionally left to the reader’s imagination, not due to the writer having no clue how those loose ends should have been resolved 🙂 Just saying…!) of the plot together in a satisfying way.
1 and 2 are intimately interconnected. 3 is eternally bound up with 1 and 2. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that 1, 2 and 3 are all critically interdependent :-), but there’s still one thing missing: the secret sauce which is voice. Is the voice poignant, sassy, dramatic, comic, empathetic, all of the above? Whatever it is, make it real and relevant.
Wrap it up in a killer title and you’re good to go!
MemberJuly 1, 2020 at 5:04 pm
Thanks Riva! This is awesomely helpful!
Now, I just gotta get my creativity cranking…
AdministratorJune 29, 2020 at 6:50 pm
Thanks for letting me know!
MemberJune 30, 2020 at 3:16 am
Just thinking maybe we can help and inspire each other with this. Maybe we could put it out for everyone. What do YOU think makes a winning piece of fiction?
MemberJune 30, 2020 at 5:51 am
I just read the Ami Pesach story supplement, and I was very impressed. I think what I loved about it was that the stories made me feel like I got somewhere by the end of it, meaning that my heart had opened up and my emotions were stirred and thereby important messages were engraved upon my heart, without any preaching from the writer.
For example, one story was about a mother with an OTD daughter. And then her daughter gets into a car crash…I was crying at one point thinking how it’s so true that we only value people when their life is in jeopardy, or they are already gone ( Acharei Mos Kedoshim Emor…). The vivid descriptions of the mother thinking back to her daughter as a toddler with rainbow pjamas or how the mother hugged her daughter’s red converse sneaker all depicted clearly a powerful message – that a person’s value is not defendant on their actions, or even their middos or level of avodas Hashem- we value and love our children (and spouses, friends, neighbors etc..) unconditionally, and that in turn serves to strengthen their avodas Hashem. All this I got from the story without the writer preaching one bit.
I also noticed that with a short story, it’s a bit too wishy washy to have a perfect happy ending. A person can’t change so fast, and it really takes a novel to explore a significant change in a person and the happy ending that results.
For example, one story in the Ami supplement which was also rather entertaining and funny, was about a woman who found a note in the Kosel written by an older single writing to Hashem for a Shidduch. This woman was trying hard for many years to set up her nephew without success. Her problem was her focus on externals; she was setting up her nephew with girls that neatly fit all the criteria (looks, yichus, good marks, classic good middos…) without regard for her nephew’s need for someone more ‘real’ with a quirky personality. In desperation, she goes out to search for the girl who wrote the note…she doesn’t find her at the end, but it becomes obvious to the reader that this girl was in fact this woman’s coworker, sitting right under her nose, and it never crossed the woman’s mind to set her up with her nephew since that girl was a little out of the box ( although obviously a true a eved Hashem). And, what made the story satisfying was actually the fact that the woman dismisses the shidduch for her nephew, although she seriously considers it for a few minutes first. This shows that change is starting to occur for the main character, and the incident with the note affected her somewhat, but realistically, she wasn’t all the way there. This made me relate to the main character a lot.
I hope this was helpful and hope to hear more thoughts from others on what makes a good short story!
MemberJune 30, 2020 at 5:47 pm
This is a bit off topic, but in my quest to create the perfect story, I did a bit of research about proper short story structure.
I’ve previously read about novel structure and always wondered how that fit into short stories. A short story isn’t long enough to fit all those plot points.
I did notice that most short stories end with the character still in the middle of their inner journey. (i.e. taking the first step to the truth.) I was wondering if that’s the proper way to do it.
Anyways, turns out, short story structure seems to be far more flexible than novels.
I found an article online that explains that short story structure can be fit into overall story structure, but not every step needs to be shown. Some parts can be implied.
“It is important that the steps “take place” in the context of the story—that’s what makes it a story. But it isn’t necessary to show each step. It is enough simply to mention them. In fact, it can be enough simply to imply them.
Once I understood that, it became possible to match the structure of short stories to the models for story structure.
For example, lots of stories can be thought of as the first few steps on the Hero’s Journey: a challenge, a rejection of the challenge, and then an acceptance of the challenge. The acceptance of the challenge is the climax of the story. The “validation” segment of the story should imply the rest of the Hero’s Journey. The reader should end the story knowing that there will be a road of trials, that evil will be confronted, and so on.
Lots of other stories can be thought of as just the dark night of the soul and the leap of faith. The early steps along the hero’s journey can be filled in with flashbacks or simply implied by the circumstances of the characters as the story begins. However it happens, the reader needs to learn that the hero accepted the challenge, confronted evil, and was defeated. The story ends with the reader knowing that the hero will face evil again and this time be victorious.
I’m not quite sure why this was such a revelation to me. But, once I learned to see things this way, it suddenly became much easier to plot my own stories. It also became easier to explain plotting issues when critiquing other people’s stories.”
Read the full article here
Anyways, just thought this was an interesting point to share…
MemberJune 30, 2020 at 8:23 pm
I am still trying to decide what type of story to write for Ami’s contest. A contemporary light piece or a serious historical piece about a young woman coming to America on her own after the Shoah. Advice would be most appreciated, thanks!
MemberJuly 1, 2020 at 1:56 pm
You’re have to ask the judge what she’s interested in reading. 😉 😉
They both sound good. It’s hard to say without hearing details.
The truth is, I have a similar question… 🙂
AdministratorJuly 2, 2020 at 11:18 pm
Happi, I’m not sure if you’re alluding to my being the judge, but in case you are, I want to clarify: I am HOSTING the contest, but I am not selecting the winners. The magazine is selecting the final pieces and it is my job to show the good points that make the story shine as well as to give constructive feedback to the writer so s/he can better the piece. I’d never be able to be the judge because I’m totally nogeya b’davar; I would for sure choose only the fabulous entries of our magnificent Masterpiece members! 🙂
MemberJuly 1, 2020 at 7:03 pm
I started the contemporary story as I thought readers would prefer something less heavy and historical.
AdministratorJuly 2, 2020 at 11:20 pm
Yay! I’m sure your entry will be great, Menucha! I hope you win! 🙂
MemberJuly 2, 2020 at 11:25 pm
Riva, do you mind explaining how the selection process works? Will Ami choose 8 winners from the get-go to feature 8 stories for the duration of the summer? Does that mean the first winner will have to meet a tighter deadline by doing revisions to incorporate your feedback? When will the first story be featured? Also, I remember last year the readers got to vote for a winner after reading the 8 stories. Will that happen this year, too?
MemberJuly 3, 2020 at 1:59 pm
I also hope I win as I entered last year but didn’t even get close. The story I’m working on now is about a woman who is anxious to win a big prize in a Chinese auction. Due to political correctness these days, I am referring to it simply as an auction!
Wishing a relaxing Shabbos to all you happy writers and editors.
AdministratorJuly 5, 2020 at 8:14 pm
Great question, Fiction Fangirl, and here’s what Rechy Frankfurter responded when I queried her about this:
“Each week readers get to rate the story that we ran in the magazine, on our website http://www.amimagazine.org click on the tab that says FictionContest After all 8 selected stories are published and rated, since this is a monkey survey, it will automatically “spit” out the winner.”
MemberJuly 5, 2020 at 8:48 pm
I have been working on the story on and off since last week. It’s now technically finished but I can’t resist editing it. I know I have to stop but keep thinking I could improve it even more. So I just sent it to my daughter for her honest opinion and hope that will be it!
MemberJuly 5, 2020 at 11:36 pm
Aaah I so want to be a part of this and write a story for the contest but we’re bH making sheva brachos twice in the next few weeks, my kids are all still home, including two daughters who are meant to be going to seminary but haven’t been given a start date yet, but still need all the stuff, and you’re all making me jealous!
But it’s great because it’s making me really really want to write even though I wish that I didn’t!! And I just know that one of these nights somebody’s gonna be up veeeeery late typing on her Ipad all night because of a bunch of incredibly talented women on Masterpiece who wouldn’t stop talking about this contest!
That said, I wish all my fellow writers hatzlocho with their entries and that they (and maybe even I?) should enjoy THE PROCESS because whether or not we win, just by writing and submitting we have honed a skill and brought our writing to a better level.
AdministratorJuly 6, 2020 at 6:02 am
[quote quote=19871]…enjoy THE PROCESS because whether or not we win…[/quote]
Totally! It’s like color war, if we have fun we all come out a winner…
[quote quote=19872]…just by writing and submitting we have honed a skill and brought our writing to a better level.[/quote]
Not to mention conquering our fear of rejection, our fear of what others will think of us, our need for perfectionism, and all the other obstacles stopping us from doing what we dream of…
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 7:02 am
Mazal tov to Pickupapen! Sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now wishing you much hatzlacha.
Esther, I don’t agree that writing is as much fun as color war. The process of writing has its moments of satisfaction but more often it’s hard work and not fun at all.
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 3:37 pm
Yeah, writing is: hard work, a creative battle, mind twisting anguish!! 🙂 and also blissful awesomeness… when you look back and say, “I did that? cool!”
I just submitted my story to the Ami contest!!!
Think I worked a little too hard on it… I really wanna win…. 🙂
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 4:46 pm
Wishing you and all of us who enter much hatzlacha!
AdministratorJuly 6, 2020 at 9:19 pm
For those who misunderstood – the comparison with color war was that you can enjoy the process without winning. I did not mean that writing is as fun as color war, of course writing is much harder work…but honestly, I never even really liked color war, so writing is more fun…
HappiWriter!!! So excited for you, and everyone else that submitted.
I hope all 8 published stories come from our ranks…
MemberJuly 6, 2020 at 9:47 pm
I thought I was finished with my story but yesterday I sent it to my daughter who made a good suggestion. So I’ll rewrite the ending tomorrow and then finally submit it.
Yes, it would be amazing if all eight winning stories were Masterpieces!
MemberJuly 12, 2020 at 5:39 am
What is the email address to send submissions to for the contest? I know I’m cutting it really close, but just heard about it…
Can I send in a story that is basically true but reads like fiction? Or does fictionalizing some details turn it from personal to fiction?
MemberJuly 12, 2020 at 5:57 am
The question is not my own-I was trying to look up the Ami contest and found some questions asked about last years contest. This was one question that I really would be interested in an answer to, so I brought it here. The response given by Ruchama Feurman is below.
“If the story I submitted really happened, can it still be called fiction?
I won’t tell, if you won’t tell. Meaning, it doesn’t matter if a sliver, or the core, or even the entire story happens to true. The main thing is that it reads like fiction. Oftentimes, a story may not be written so well, but the writer’s sincerity and the fact that it actually happened carries the story and renders it publishable. Here, the truth behind the story won’t give it any boost. (This is a long-winded way of saying, it’s harder to write quality fiction than memoir.)”
MemberJuly 12, 2020 at 2:21 pm
I’m in awe of everyone who has stories flittering through her mind, laying (lying?) in wait for such a contest.
I have NO ideas. Actually, I do have an idea. A fictionalized account of something said to happen in my family that I think might make a better children’s story. So that’s where I’m going to go with it, and miss out on this contest.