Raven Short Story Contest Winners 2017

No need to hold your breath any longer:  the results are in!

The Raven Short Story Contest winner for 2017

is Elaine McDivitt with her story, ‘The Tape’.

‘The Tape’ caught judge Brenda Carre in its powerful stream of consciousness .

“Who does not remember the striking cover of The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer? It provided a visual punch that the story made good on right to the end.  I found the circular theme of tape in Virginia’s haunting narration a gripping read. The unique cadence really supported the sense of horror and realization unlocked at a garage sale.” – Brenda Carre

Coming in as a close runner up, Kerry Craven‘s story, ‘Meggie’.

“This was a very interesting fairy-tale-esque exploration of the dehumanization of Dementia. Through Meggie’s surprising transformation into a new being she is able to move past grief at least for awhile. I loved the Baba Yaga quality of the magical young woman with the sack full of all possibilities. I would love to see the dialect trimmed somewhat. With a bit of editing this has the ‘whiskermarks’ of a fine story.” – Brenda Carre

Both of these stories will appear in Pulp Literature Issue 18, Spring 2018, and the winners take home $300 and $75 respectively as their prizes.

Honorable Mentions go to Alex Reece Abbott for ‘My Brother Paulie: A Domestic Space Odyssey’, and Charity Tahmaseb for ‘The Potato Bug War’.

Congratulations to all of these writers, and special thanks to judge Brenda Carre! Pulp Literature Press is grateful for the abundance of talent and hard work that was poured into all of the submissions for the 2017 Raven Short Story Contest.

Our next contest, the Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest for stories up to 750 words long, opens January 1st, 2017.  We hope to see you there!

Track your submissions at Duotrope

The 2017 Raven Contest Shortlist

The big announcement for the Raven Short Story Contest is just around the corner! For now, we are excited to announce the incredible authors who have made it on the Raven 2017 shortlist, alphabetically by author first name.

The Raven Short Story Contest Shortlist

Alex Reece Abbott, ‘My Brother Paulie: A Domestic Space Odyssey’

Brian Dang, ‘Edgeless’

C.E. Mandybura, ‘Monkey Days’

Charity Tahmaseb, ‘The Potato Bug War’

Daniel Beaumont, ‘Shifting Bodies’

Dustin He, ‘Carrion Feeder’s Pedigree’

Elaine McDivitt, ‘The Tape’

Jessica Oesterle, ‘Respira’

Joni Hobbs, ‘Lavender Rhy and The Moon Room’

Kerry Craven, ‘Meggie’

Judge Brenda Carre’s chosen winners will be announced tomorrow, November 15th! Until then, we would like to thank everyone for their submissions and we wait alongside you with bated breath …

Everything Changes in Publishing. Thank Goodness.

Everything changes in this world of writing and publishing.  The truth remains: there’s never been a better time to write and publish.  We’re told the opposite, of course. However, if you drive your time machine back thirty years or eighty years, you’ll hear the same old discouraging comments.  I’m convinced that could one accompany Louisa May Alcott to her first interviews with publishers, we’d hear them say that it’s all much harder now than it used to be.

Changes Past

Penguin Books have always been my publishing heroes.  Nearly anything they publish is worth reading, and if I ever in my life threw one of their paperbacks across the room, it was only to utter a heartfelt, Damn, I’ll never write that well.  And then pick it up again. (And vow to try until my dying day to write that well).

Changes Bring Opportunity

When Penguin started out, with the idea of getting excellent books out for sale for the same price as ten cigarettes, the naysayers had a lot to say.  “Nobody will stock paperback reprints, for they are useless, grubby, dog-eared calumnies of paper and card,” they sang.  (I paraphrase).  Naysayers predicted rapid failure.  Penguin smiled and sent a young staffer to the Regents Park Zoo, where he drew the first penguin logo.  A decade later this same staffer captained a WW2 submarine and wrote about it (grippingly), and Penguin published that book as their thousandth paperback.

Changes Within Our Control

All times are great times to be a writer, because it’s not about the era.  It’s about the attitude.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure. Coming soon, The Writer’s Friend and Confidante: Thirty Days of Narrative Achievement. Designed with Nanowrimo in mind, but works any thirty days you’ve got.

From Pulp Literature Press

 

The Raven Short Story Contest Longlist

Thank you to all you amazing short fiction writers for entering this year’s Raven Short Story Contest. The preliminary judges read this treasure trove of storytelling with great relish and appreciation. We are pleased to announce, alphabetically by author first name, the longlist for the Raven.

The Raven Short Story Contest Longlist

Note: if a name appears twice, that means two stories by the same author have made the list.  Double congratulations!

Alex Reece Abbot
Alex Reece Abbot
Brian Dang
C.E. Mandybura
Caleb Jackson
Carolyn Drake
CE Mandybura
Charity Tahmaseb
Colin Thornton
Daniel Beaumont
Debra Catanzaro
Dustin He
Elaine McDivitt
Elizabeth Barton
Emily Lonie
Hannah van Didden
Heidi L. Waterman
Jackie Carmichael
Jeanine Manji
Jen Bingham
Jessica Oesterle
Joni Hobbs
Joshua Visser
Kathy Joyce
Kerry Craven
KT Wagner
Larry Ivkovich
Liza Potvin
Mark Cameron
Michael Elliott
Peter Dickinson
Richard Arbib
Rob Greene
S. Ondrack
William Kaufmann

Good luck to all these writers, as we go through the difficult job of paring the list down to ten for judge Brenda Carre.  The winners will be announce November 15th.

 

 

On Storytelling Excellence.

I’m reading some great novel submissions to Pulp Literature Press these days, and reflecting upon excellence in storytelling.

Indicators of Excellence

Great storytellers

  • build upon structural understandings and storytelling gifts, the way GRR Martin sets up his huge cast of characters in triangles.
  • develop central and supporting characters that are true to themselves. Robert Ludlum brings his acting experience to the creation of villains who believe in their own struggles.
  • create settings that ground us in imagined worlds, whether fantastic or mundane. For example, in Emma Donoghue’s novel Room, four walls are a child’s universe.

Further Marks of Excellence

These gifted storytellers also

  • develop worlds through philosophical and insider knowledge, the way Robert Heinlein employs both his background in engineering and work in philosophy and values, good and evil.
  • transform character through hard decisions and sacrifice. LOTR. Say no more.
  • gift us with moments of intense beauty and personal resonance, that remind us what our character is struggling to maintain and create. For, what would Narnia be without its many moments of intense beauty, to remind us why these children raise swords against their enemies?

It seems a lot of excellence to bear in mind. Still, we do exactly that every day in our work. All these skills come to us hot from the furnace of intense interest in our craft, alongside our love of books we’ve read, affection for our own characters, even the baddies, and a desire to be the best storyteller we can be. We do all this for our readers, so that they too will look up from our books, the way we look up from others’, to say I’ll be there in a minute, I just have to finish this chapter.

 I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel


If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure.

From Pulp Literature Press

Happy NaNoWriMo Eve!

Yes, to some, it’s Hallowe’en, to others its All Saints’ Eve, but for many writers it’s the day before we plunge into a month of furious writing, in an effort to churn out a novel in 30 days.

Can it be done?  It certainly can.  Write 2000 words a day for 30 days and you have 60,000 words — the bones of a good novel.  And you can easily write 2000 words in a couple of hours if you know where you’re going and don’t self-edit along the way (save all that editing for December and January).

So here’s the big secret:  spend 5 minutes at the end of the planning.  Jot down key plot points, twists, character growth, and other elements you want to incorporate in tomorrow’s two thousand words.  That way, when you wake up in the morning, the hard part’s done and you can let the words flow right away.

To get you started, we’ve packaged up the first few pages of our writing journal, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume by Mel Anastasiou.  This excerpt contains a Day 1 prompt: try it out tonight and be ready to hit the road rolling tomorrow morning!

Get your free Day 1 excerpt of The Writer’s Boon Companion

If you found that helpful, why not continue on with the wise guidance of Thaddeus and the  Robot Muse?  Boon Companion is 15% off this month, and as an extra bonus, we’ll send a free pdf to everyone who orders off the website.  Order your copy here.

Hallowe’en Special on Spooky 16

The Autumn issue of Pulp Literature is spectacularly spooky this year.  We have no fewer than two ghosts and one ghost town, three very different end-of-life experiences, ghouls in coffee shops, unidentified monsters in the subway, and a scarily low price of $2.99 on Amazon.com until Hallowe’en!

Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017

With authors like kc dyer, Brandon Crilly, Rina Piccolo, Patrick Bollivar, Susan Pieters, Oak Morse, FJ Bergman, Mel Anastasiou, Leah Komar, Greg Brown, JM Landels, and Glenn Pape, this is an issue you don’t want to miss!

That Whooshing Noise: We Love Deadlines

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams

“There is nothing the wise man does reluctantly.” – Seneca

What can you teach me, deadlines? I mean, obviously I shouldn’t procrastinate, but what more can I learn from you?

Deadlines Are Promises

Deadlines force us to leave hyper-perfectionism behind us, by which I mean fear of writing. Hyper-perfectionism is a negative super-emotion, and the world of business books and lifestyle philosophy has plenty of good advice for us here. Success experts’ advice is not to attempt to banish negative thoughts, but rather to think of something positive.  A deadline accepted is a promise made, and promises are positive, particularly if made to someone or something we love, like our families, friends, and careers.

Deadlines Hone Craft

Approaching a tough deadline, like the one I’m late for today (promise delayed, but not broken, I promise) is an excellent crucible for writing craft.  I have 10,000 words due next week.  Okay, that’s 2,000 for the setup, 1,000 for the debate, 3,000 for Act 1 Part 1, 3,000 for Act 2 part 2, and 1,000 for the showdown and dénouement.  One does not have 6 months to noodle around when deadlines loom, before us or behind us.  We take the time to review and tighten each section.  We don’t sacrifice our health, of course (because honestly, we would like to live long enough to profit from the demands upon our writing) but we think while we’re walking:  How can I tighten up the action in this Act?  How can I turn this section on my hero’s tough choice? 

Deadlines Mean Success

When you get right down to it, whether we set our own deadlines or we’re writing to those others set for us, it means we’re finishing.  Finishing is vital, if we want to see our book arrive, boxed up and beautiful, at our door, and, please God, some profits in our accounts.

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”  – Douglas Adams. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

 I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers,
Mel

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.


If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure.

From Pulp Literature Press

 

 

Decisions, Decisions. Saving Mental Energy for Writing.

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits … I’m trying to pare down decisions.  I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing.  Because I have too many other decisions to make.”  Barack Obama, interviewed in Vanity Fair

All the decisions and judgements we make in our daily lives keep said lives rolling nicely along.  However, each large and small decision takes its toll on our writing powers.

Cherry Picking Decisions

Also, I like to make certain decisions.  I want to decide what I’ll be eating.  So, perhaps it’s possible to shift some decisions around, or group them.  A week’s menu put together once a week can lift the worry of what’s for supper, which can be a real judgement sapper for those of us responsible for seeing that everybody in the house stays fed and healthy.  My method is a small notebook, with a week’s rough plan on the left, and shopping lists on the right. Wastage has been greatly reduced as well.

“Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash. How’s that for incentive to be effective and efficient?” ― Timothy FerrissThe 4-Hour Workweek

What decisions or judgements that an author makes daily or weekly, which don’t serve our writing or our family, can be eliminated?

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.  Cheers, Mel.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens. She is Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.


If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure.

From Pulp Literature Press

Raven Contest Deadline Extended

Due to the fact our managing editor is currently gallivanting around France, Spain and England, fiction and flash fiction authors have a few extra days to send us your stories.

Raven Short Story Contest deadline extended to October 20, 2017

We’re looking forward to reading these entries once Jen is back and recovered from sun, sand, and prosecco …

Read more about the Raven  here… 

The Raven Short Story Contest offers a $300 top prize,  print and e-publication. (Want feedback on your story?  Get a professional critique from one of the Pulp Literature editors for only $25 more.)

The Raven Short Story Contest

Show us your most scintillating treasures in the form of short fiction up to 2500 words in length and you could be the one bringing home $300 to line your nest! Enter the contest here.